Student Loan Programs

It's important to realize that, although student loans must be repaid by the borrower, they are considered financial aid. Financial aid cannot exceed a student's cost of education as determined by the school. Student loans differ from other types of consumer loans because most defer repayment of both the loan's principal and interest while you are enrolled. Also, most have grace periods or you can opt to postpone repayment for a short time so that you will have a period of time after graduation (or withdrawal) to prepare financially for repayment. Interest rates on student loans are usually lower than most other types of consumer credit and come with additional benefits such as deferment of repayment of the loan if you continue your education after graduation.

Stafford, Perkins, Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS), and GradPLUS are all "federal" loan programs, and open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The government pays the interest on the Subsidized Stafford loan while you're in school and during grace or other deferment periods. Since the Perkins, HPSL, LDS and most institutional loans do not assess interest while you are in school or during grace or deferment periods, they are sometimes also called "subsidized loans."

Unsubsidized loans, on the other hand, accrue interest during school, grace, and deferment periods. Although you can usually postpone payment during these periods, it is your responsibility to repay both the principal and accrued interest. You should keep in mind that all accrued unpaid interest will eventually be capitalized before you begin "active repayment." You can contact your lender to find out when the first capitalization will occur and how frequently thereafter. Examples of unsubsidized loans are Unsubsidized Stafford and GradPLUS loans. U.S. citizens and permanent residents studying at dental schools in Canada are eligible to apply for Stafford and GradPLUS. If you need additional monies you may have to rely on private/alternative loans. International students generally have fewer options available for financing.

Recap-Types of Financial Aid:

  • Federal Stafford Loan Program
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program
  • Health Professions Student Loan Program (HPSL)
  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students Program (LDS)
  • Graduate Plus (GradPLUS)
  • Institutional loans
  • Private/Alternative Loans

Other Aid:

  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Privately Funded Scholarships (those not awarded by a dental school)
  • Financial Aid information for Canadian and International Students

(Back to Financing a Dental Education)