Dental school graduates in the United States face an average student loan debt of $301,583 in 2021. This is an increase of over $40,000 from the average debt of dental school graduates in 2020.
The increasing cost of dental school loans and the high amount of student debt that graduates must take on is a cause for concern among dental professionals but student loan forgiveness for dentists can help.
There are various federal- and state-based dental student loan forgiveness and repayment programs available to dental school graduates.
However, these programs are often complex and difficult to navigate and only apply to federal student loans.
In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the different types of student loan forgiveness and repayment programs available to dentists.
If you want a general overview of dental student loans be sure to check out our other blog.
We hope this will help other dentists understand the options available to them and make the best decision for their situation.
If you need assistance with a plan and/or a strategy you're not alone. Thousands of dentists are struggling with student loan debt from dental school.
You deserve to have a qualified professional help you navigate the complex world of student loans. Let us develop an individualized plan for you so that you can focus on what's important – your future.
President Biden's Forgiveness
Let's first address the elephant in the room. How do I get $10-20k off of my dental student loans?
If you're single and your adjusted gross income for 2020 or 2021 was $125,000 or less, you'll receive $10,000 in debt cancellation.
If you're married and filed taxes jointly with an adjusted gross income of $250,000 or less for 2020 or 2021, you'll also receive $10,000 in debt cancellation.
The Biden administration released an easy online application for the $10-20 thousand loan forgiveness.
To apply, you’ll need to provide your:
Social Security Number
Date of birth
Valid email address
People who apply by November should have their accounts credited by Christmas. The deadline to submit the form has been extended.
The fortunate thing is this applies to dental school loans as well. As we know health professionals usually do not qualify for government benefits in other situations.
Apply here but don't procrastinate since we don't know how long this site will be up.
Dental Student Loans Forgiveness
There are a few programs that apply directly to dental school loans but they depend on the state. The best resource is the ADEA. Search for your practicing state and see if you may qualify for one of the health loan repayment programs.
In most cases, these health loan repayment programs do not qualify for private student loans so before you look into refinancing federal student loans make sure you have a long-term plan.
Federal Student Loans Forgiveness and Loan Repayment Programs
The Department of Education offers two forgiveness options for dentists with federal student loans: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Income-Driven Repayment (IDR).
Now unfortunately you will still have to continue your student loan repayment by making monthly payments. But these loan repayment programs can reduce your overall loan repayment amount.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Is a program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Qualifying employers include government organizations, non-profit organizations, and other public service employers.
To qualify for PSLF, you must work for a qualifying employer, which includes:
• A government organization at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
• A nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
• Other types of nonprofit organizations that are not 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, such as certain nonprofit child care organizations, public service organizations, and AmeriCorps or Peace Corps positions
You also must make 120 qualifying monthly payments on your Direct Loans while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Qualifying payments are made after October 1, 2007, under a qualifying repayment plan while
Income-Driven Repayment (IDR)
Is a program that sets your monthly student loan payment at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size. There are four IDR plans: Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR).
To qualify for IDR, you must have a partial financial hardship. This means that the monthly amount you would be required to pay on your eligible federal student loans under a standard 10-year repayment plan is more than the monthly amount you would be required to pay under an IDR plan.
If you work in public service, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness after making payments for 10 years under an IDR plan.
For more information on these programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website.
National Service-Based Dental Loan Repayment Programs
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers loan repayment assistance to eligible dental professionals who serve in communities that are designated as Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSAs).
To be eligible for NHSC loan repayment assistance, applicants must agree to serve full-time for a minimum of two years at an approved Health Professional Shortage Area site. Participants can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance throughout their service commitment.
The Indian Health Service (IHS)
also offers loan repayment assistance to eligible dental professionals. To be eligible, applicants must agree to serve for a minimum of two years at an IHS, Tribal, or Urban Indian Health Program site. Participants can receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance throughout their service commitment.
State-Based Dental Loan Repayment Programs
In addition to the federal programs, there are also state-based dental loan repayment programs. These programs typically have a wider range of eligibility requirements and award amounts. Some states have multiple programs with different eligibility requirements.
Visit your state’s dental association website to learn more about state-based dental loan repayment programs.
Military Loan Repayment Programs
The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers scholarships to students who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry or oral surgery within the military. Scholarships cover tuition, fees, books, equipment, supplies, required uniforms, and a stipend for living expenses.
In return for the scholarship, participants must serve in the military for a minimum of two years.
Dental students who are enrolled in an accredited dental school may also be eligible for the Army's Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP).
Army's Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
Under this Student Loan Repayment Program, participants can receive up to $40,000 towards repaying their student loans. To be eligible for SLRP, applicants must agree to serve four years on active duty or six years in the Army Reserve following graduation from dental school.
The Navy's Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)
also offers scholarships to students who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry within the military. Scholarships cover tuition, fees, books, equipment, supplies, required uniforms, and a stipend for living expenses. In return for the scholarship, participants must serve in the military for a minimum of two years.
State-Based Student Loan Repayment Programs
Most states offer some type of student loan repayment assistance program for dentists who agree to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area or underserved area within the state. Eligibility requirements and award amounts vary by state. Some states also offer tax incentives for dentists who participate in these programs.
There are various government-sponsored programs available to help graduates repay their loans, but navigating these programs can be complex.
You're probably not alone if you feel overwhelmed by your student loan debt.
InDent can provide you with the professional help you need to get your dental student loan debt under control. We'll work with you to develop an annual plan that is tailored specifically for you so that you can save money in the long term.
We know how important it is for you to have options when it comes to your student loan debt.
That's why we offer student loan attorney's to help so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your future.
We hope that this blog post has provided some clarity on the different types of programs available and helped our readers understand their options.
Designed by dentist, InDent provides top professionals of contract attorneys, student loan attorneys, independent insurance agents, and CPA’s, who specialize in dentistry. InDent is designed to follow your career as a dentist. Wherever you are in your career, we have streamlined, flat-rate, services to support you.
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