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Student Dental School Loans: The Basics

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

So you want to be a dentist? You do well in undergrad, take the DAT, submit all of your applications to various schools and then you get in! Very exciting times.

Then in your acceptance packet, you read a one-page document about tuition costs. The amount of money is almost laughable but then you realize you will one day be a rich dentist and be able to pay back your student debt in a month when you are practicing.

Well pump your brakes 'steady hands', you are going to be a DDS (or DMD) not in the NBA!

Paying back some of the highest student debt in the country is pretty difficult even as a dentist. Paying back a health professions student loan debt turns out to take a very long time and can be a burden on your family if not planned properly.

In this article, we'll explore how to finance dental school, reduce your payments, and how to get your student debt forgiven altogether. We'll also take a look at the different types of loans available specifically for dentists and healthcare workers. So whether you're just starting in dental school, or you're already working as a dentist with student debt and want to reduce your monthly payments, read on for all the information you need about student loan debt. You can't put a price on your education, right?

Topics Covered:

1. What are student loans and how do they work

2. The different types of student loans available

3. How to choose the right student loan for you

4. How to reduce your student loan payments

5. How student loans can be forgiven

6. Tips for managing your student loans wisely

What is the average debt of a dental student?

Dental school graduates owe, on average, $292,169 in student loans. Public school graduates' debt averaged $261,305 while private school graduates' debt was around $321,184.

What are student loans and how do they work

Student loans are a type of loan that is typically given to students to help them pay for school. These loans come in a few different varieties and can be used to pay for tuition, room and board, and other school-related expenses. These loans work similarly to other types of loans, in that they need to be repaid with interest. The main difference is the repayment terms are often more flexible. This means that you can usually extend the repayment period if you need to, or even postpone your payments if you're struggling financially.

Loans can be a great way to finance your education, but it's important to understand how they work before you take out any loans. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully, and consult with a financial aid advisor if you have any questions before the application process. It is also important to start setting money aside for your student loan payments as soon as you can, so you don't fall behind once you graduate. With a little planning and foresight, student loans can be a manageable way to pay for school.

Can you get a student loan for dental school?

The majority of dental students use student loans to help pay for their education. Federal direct unsubsidized and PLUS (formerly Grad PLUS) loans are some of the most common types used by these students.

What is the interest rate on dental student loans?

Federal Direct Plus (Grad PLUS) Loans

The fixed rate for new loans given out as of July 1, 2022 is currently 7.54%. The maximum amount possible to loan is 10.5%, and the rate on direct PLUS (Grad PLUS) loans are always one percentage point higher than direct unsubsidized loans.

The different types of student loans available

There are a few different types of student loans available, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Let's take a closer look at the different types of student loans available:

1. Federal loans

2. Private loans

3. Loan consolidation

4. Loan refinancing

5. Parent PLUS loans

6. Loan forgiveness programs

1. Federal loans:

Federal Aid is offered by the government, and they come with a few different benefits. For one, they have a fixed interest rate, which means your payments won't increase over time.

They also offer flexible repayment terms (income-driven repayment plans), which can be helpful if you're struggling to make your payments. And finally, federal student loans offer student loan forgiveness programs, which can be helpful if you decide to go into public service or another eligible field.

All of these can help in the long term if you have federal student loan debt. Your financial aid department in your dental school can walk you through the application process for federal aid but here is the breakdown of different types.

  • Health Professions Student Loan. If you're a student in the health professions with financial need, you may be eligible for a loan at participating dental schools to assist with your student debt. Funding is limited and interest rates are fixed at 5%, but interest is subsidized while you're enrolled in school.

  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students. Although LDS and HPSL have many comparable terms, they come from different sources. The Health Resources and Services Administration manages both of these types of loans. Because neither LDS nor HPSL are Department of Education loans, you can't utilize programs like PSLF or income-driven repayment for manage them. Nevertheless, you may be able to qualify for consolidation managed through the HRSA website.

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Dental students may receive up to $20,500 yearly from federal unsubsidized loans.

  • Graduate PLUS loans. After you have used up all other options, you can apply for graduate PLUS loans. These types of loans come with the highest interest rates and fees among federal student loans.

2. Private student loan:

Private loans are offered by banks and other private lenders. They typically have a higher interest rate than federal student loans.

However, a private student loan often comes with no origination fees or prepayment penalties, which can be helpful if you want to pay them off early. Additionally, a private loan often has a longer repayment period than federal loans, so they can be a good option if you need more time to repay them. Private loans are often utilized by international students enrolled in a US dental school because they are not able to receive federal loans.

3. Student loan consolidation:

Allows you to combine multiple loans into one larger loan, which can make it easier to manage your payments. It also has the potential to lower your interest rate, but it's important to note that this may not always be the case.

Consolidating your student loans may also extend the length of your repayment period, so it's important to consider all the pros and cons before you decide whether or not to consolidate them.

4. Loan refinancing:

Is similar to consolidation, but it's offered by private lenders instead of the government. Like consolidation, refinancing can lower your interest rate and extend your repayment period. It can also be helpful in terms of reducing your monthly payments.

However, it's important to remember that refinancing will result in new loan terms and conditions, so make sure you understand what you're signing up for before you refinance your student loans.

5 . Parent PLUS Loans:

Are taken out by parents to help their children pay for school. These loans come with a higher interest rate than other types of student loans, but they also offer more flexible repayment terms.

How to choose the right student loan for you

When it comes to student loans, it's important to choose the right loan for your needs. Here are a few tips for choosing the right student loan:

1. Consider your interest rate

When you take out a student loan, you'll be charged an interest rate. This rate will vary depending on the type of loan you choose, so it's important to consider what your interest rate will be before you commit to a loan. If you have a choice, go with a student loan with a lower interest rate so your payments won't be as high.

2. Think about your repayment period

The repayment period is the amount of time you have to repay your student loan. This varies from loan to loan, so it's important to consider how long you'll need to pay back your loan. If you know you won't be able to afford large monthly payments, go for a student loan with a longer repayment period.

3. Look into student loan forgiveness programs

If you're thinking about going into public service or another eligible field, look into student loan forgiveness programs. These programs can help reduce or eliminate your student loan payments, so they're worth checking out.

How to reduce your student loan payments

Jump to our other blog with more details about reducing your loan payments.

If you're struggling to make your student loan payments, here are a few tips for reducing them:

1. Adjust your repayment plan

If you can't afford your current monthly payment, consider adjusting your repayment plan with an income-driven repayment plan. You may be able to switch to a plan that has a lower monthly payment but will take longer to repay.

2. Make extra payments

If you can afford it, make extra payments on your student loan to reduce the amount of interest you'll have to pay.

3. Consolidate or refinance your student loans

Consolidating or refinancing your student loans can help you reduce your monthly payments and make them more affordable.

4. Utilize a Student Loan Attorney

A student loan attorney is a highly specialized field that knows the ins and outs of student loans, the laws, and how to make them as beneficial to you as possible.

We offer this service through InDent and have also negotiated a lower flat rate so you won't be surprised by any future fees. Thousands of clients have gotten a well-ironed plan, reduced payments, our had loans forgiven using this service.

How student loans can be forgiven

Jump to our other blog with more details about Loan Forgiveness.

Student loan forgiveness programs can be extremely helpful in terms of reducing or eliminating student loan payments. There are a variety of different programs available, so it's important to research which ones are available to you and see if you qualify. Some of the most common student loan forgiveness programs include the following:

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program:

This program helps dental student loan borrowers who work in public service jobs ie. VA hospital, government etc. It offers student loan forgiveness after 10 years of repayment.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program:

This program helps student loan borrowers who become teachers. It offers student loan forgiveness after five years of repayment. This one is pretty difficult to do as a dentist or would not be beneficial financially.

3. Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge:

This program helps student loan borrowers who have Perkins Loans. It offers student loan cancellation for a variety of different jobs, mostly military service for dentists.

4. Repayment Programs:

Some dental service organizations offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit to their employees. These programs can help reduce your monthly payments or even eliminate them but they are rare.

The best way to find out if you're eligible for student loan forgiveness is to speak with the lender or servicer that's handling your student loans. They can tell you about the different programs that are available to you and help you determine if you qualify for any of them.


Student loans are a great way to finance your high education costs to become a dentist. There are a variety of different loan options available, so it's important to choose the one that's right for you.

It's also important to make sure you understand how student loans work and what you need to do to repay them.

Since student loans can be confusing and complicated it is important that you seek the necessary assistance before applying and also while paying back your loans.

InDent was created by dentists who were in your same shoes and we used a student loan attorney to review our loans, create a plan, and give us the best options to save money while paying them back.

About InDent:

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.

Are you a dental student, resident, or new graduate?

You can make some extra income by becoming an affiliate.

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