Financial Aid Advice

Things to Consider as a Prospective D.D.S./D.M.D. Applicant

Posted by Marco A. Castellanos on March 17, 2021

If you’re thinking about going to dental school, there are some key things to consider and important questions to ask yourself. This includes knowing how to borrow responsibly if you must take out student loans and having access to resources that help prepare you to repay your loans responsibly after you graduate. The below list of areas is a good place to start. 

Are You Clear on How Much It Costs?

Determining what your dental education will cost and how much funding you will need is the first step of the process. Carefully evaluate your current financial situation to ensure that you borrow the minimum amount needed each year and never more than you really need, even if you’re eligible to borrow more. You do not want more debt that you can manage after graduation.

Have You Evaluated Your Own Financial Situation?

Knowing that most dental students borrow using federal student loans to finance their dental education, you want to make sure you can manage your regular expenses while in dental school. Understand and list your current debts. Include car loans, credit card payments, existing student loan debt and any other outstanding loans you may have. Try to pay off consumer debts before you start dental school, because you can’t get financial aid to cover those expenses. Don’t forget that your loans for dental school accrue interest while you are in school, so your balance will grow throughout dental school.


Have You Taken an Inventory of all Your Available Financial Resources?

Do you have any money saved up from employment, and if married, is your spouse willing to help by using these funds? Do you have any savings or other investments that might help offset the cost? Don’t forget to account for all family gifts or other resources you will be able to use toward your dental education. Some schools have limited resources in terms of need-based scholarships and grants, so be sure to check with your Financial Aid Office about available support.


Lastly, Be Sure to Plan Ahead!

Applying for admission to dental school can start to add up depending on how many schools you plan to apply to, so apply for fee waivers if they are available and if you’re eligible. The ADEA AADSAS Fee Assistance Program is great place to start. Afterward, check with each school to which you are planning to apply to see what else is out there. Find out the amounts of required deposits at each school and plan for that. Consider narrowing down your search to manage deadlines for admissions and financial aid.


About Marco A. Castellanos :

Marco Castellanos_ headshot

Marco A. Castellanos 
Director of Financial Aid 
University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Marco A. Castellanos has over 30 years of experience working in financial aid. For the last 20 years he has served as the Director of Financial Aid at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Mr. Castellanos graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Literature.