Plan to pay for school

Spending time determining how to pay for dental school is just as important as applying.  Encourage your students to explore the Money Matters section of the ADEA GoDental website for information and advice on making dental school an affordable investment. 

Additionally, the following financial aid insights can help you more effectively advise your students on the many options available to them:

  1. The financial aid office (FAO) remains the number one point of contact for all questions regarding student financial aid, especially regarding recent changes to aid programs.

  2. Since gift aid does not have to be repaid, students should always look for grants and scholarships before taking out student loans. Students may also want to consider scholarships that are tied to a service commitment with organizations such as the armed forces, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their FAO can provide contact information.

  3. Students can now complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to January 1 of the year in which they are applying for financial aid. Students should contact their FAO about this change.

  4. Graduate and professional students are no longer eligible for new subsidized federal loans. In general, all federal loans for these students will accrue (build up) interest during school and during any grace and deferment periods following graduation.

  5. All federal loans are made directly by the government through the direct loan program.

  6. Graduate students may borrow up to their entire cost of attendance each year (minus other aid) with federal loans through a combination of direct unsubsidized and direct PLUS (Grad PLUS) loans without ever taking out private student loans. The current aggregate borrowing limit for federal Stafford, direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans combined is $224,000 for dental students, which includes borrowing for college and post-baccalaureate programs. However, this rarely impacts dental students, even in their fourth year of dental school, and there is no aggregate limit on direct PLUS.  

  7. Borrowers can track their federal loans (including those prior to dental school) on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website at

  8. Federal direct loans have multiple repayment and postponement options, and are eligible for forgiveness provisions. Such is not the case with private student loans.

  9. Students interested in public service careers may want to consider help through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. You can find information at PSLF is available to all borrowers who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their degrees or disciplines.

  10. There are many resources available to help students borrow responsibly and prepare them for responsible repayment. Their FAO can help ensure they have access to these resources.