Financial Aid Advice

Financial Aid and the FAFSA

Posted by Karen Gilliam on February 24, 2021

If you’re thinking about enrolling in dental school and you’re considering federal loans to pay for your dental education, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a Renewal FAFSA yearly to be considered for financial aid. Even if you aren’t sure that you are going to use federal loans to pay for dental school, it is wise to go ahead and complete the FAFSA, because you never know when it may come in handy.

So, what is a FAFSA and why do you need to complete it? The FAFSA is a form students complete to be considered for federal financial aid. By completing the FAFSA, you will be considered a graduate and professional student in dental school, which means you should be eligible for federal direct unsubsidized and direct PLUS (grad PLUS) loans. 

The FAFSA becomes available each year on Oct. 1, but check with your dental school or the school you are interested in attending for deadline dates for the year you plan to enroll. You will need your Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) to complete the FAFSA. If you don’t have an FSA ID yet, or if you forgot or lost your FSA ID, you can get one or request a replacement at the FSA ID website.

You can list up to 10 schools on the FAFSA form when applying for financial aid, but you only get financial aid information and offers from schools that accept you. Afterward, financial aid funds are only disbursed at the school where you matriculate.  

FSA provides an interactive budget worksheet to assist you with the process of applying for financial aid. In addition, always check with the dental schools to which you are applying for scholarships and grant availability. Most scholarships can be found online, so be vigilant with your online scholarship searches.

Good luck on your dental school journey! 

About Karen Gilliam:

Karen Gilliam_headshot

Karen Gilliam

Director of Financial Aid 

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry


Ms. Gilliam is the Associate Director of Financial Aid at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. She has more than 25 years of progressive experience in the financial aid field and has worked extensively with undergraduate, graduate and professional students along with various banks, lenders and the secondary lending markets. Ms. Gilliam also has comprehensive knowledge of government funding programs at the local, state and federal levels.