Type of Loans

You may have to borrow to help pay for dental school, but the good news is that with smart budgeting and responsible borrowing, you should find repayment of your student loan portfolio manageable.  

SPECIAL NOTE: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act has set interest rates on all federally owned loans (which includes all direct loans) at 0% from March 13, 2020 until 60 days after either the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement its student loan debt relief program or the litigation involving the program is resolved. Should neither be the case by June 30, 2023, the CARES Act will expire 60 days after that date (late August 2023). While the CARES Act is in effect, there is no interest accrual on any of your federally owned loans. 

For information on the Student Debt Relief Program, please visit StudentAid.gov.


These are federal loans from the Department of Health and Human Services (called Title VII) awarded by the health professions school or dental school. The loans are based on exceptional financial need (Contact your health professions school or dental school financial aid Office [FAO] regarding availability and application).

  • Interest rate: There is a 5% fixed rate for the life of the loan.  
  • Terms: These are subsidized/interest free during school and during a 12-month grace period. Repayment is generally over 10 years with level payments. HPSLs are not eligible for repayment with income-driven repayment options plans and are not eligible for forgiveness.
  • Consolidation: These loans are eligible to be consolidated into the federal direct consolidation loan program, which would then make their balance eligible for repayment with income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness.


These are similar to a Health Professions Student Loan but awarded specifically to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. (Contact your FAO regarding availability and application.)


Private loans have limited repayment and postponement options when compared with federal loans. Always speak with your FAO before applying for a private loan.

  • Interest rate:   Rates may be variable or fixed, depending on the lender, with lower rates usually reserved for borrowers who secure a creditworthy cosigner.
  • Terms: In most cases, these are unsubsidized with annual and cumulative caps on borrowing amounts. These loans are based, in part, on borrower being “creditworthy,” with a borrower's credit score considered in both approval and pricing. Private loans are not eligible to be repaid with income-driven repayment plans and are not eligible for forgiveness, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
  • Consolidation: Private student loans are not eligible for consolidation into the federal direct consolidation loan program.