Loans for dental school have a significant impact on the financial lives of new dentists after graduation. Recent statistics by the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) indicate that the expensive nature of dental school fees has resulted in massive debt loads in both private and public schools, with each dental school student graduating with an average of $287,331 in school debt in 2017. The ongoing trend regarding huge loan debts is likely to result in significant debt loads growth in dental schools in the coming years. However, there are some loan repayment options currently available for loan borrowers from dental schools. This article discusses dentist loans with a particular focus on the tips of paying off dental education loans.
Ways to Manage Dental Student Loans Effectively
The average amount of debt for dental student borrowers significantly varies depending on whether they attend public or private schools. Public schools currently have cheaper tuition rates as compared to their private counterparts. The more affordable tuition is mainly attributed to the fact that public dental schools usually receive both state and federal funding. Ultimately, this lowers the average tuition costs in the public schools.
In contrast, private dental schools often charge higher tuition fees coupled with other additional expenses such as books, lab fees, dental kits, preclinical supplies as well as exam costs. As a result, dental students from private schools usually graduate with massive loan debts. However, the financial differences usually vary from school to school. Although public dental schools currently provide a cheaper option, graduates from both public and private dental schools still graduate with significantly large amounts of student loans.
Effective Debt Management: How Long to Pay Off Dental School Loans?
The amount of dental school student loans is currently on the rise and has increased by up to 44% over the last 10 years. Consequently, many measures have been undertaken to reduce the growing debt. Some of the contemporary measures include making legislation to reduce the interest rates of the federal student loan, encouraging dental students to enroll for loan forgiveness programs, creating additional tax deductions as well as rebates for practicing dentists, particularly those working in poor working environments as well as establishing new ways of protecting student loan borrowers from private dental schools. Nevertheless, paying off dentist’s loans is still a significant challenge for many graduates from dental schools as it takes a long time to clear off student debt.
Tips to Manage Loans for Dentists
As seen from the above, paying off any academic debts is a challenging task, especially if one does not know how to do it. Below are the useful tips for graduate dentists to repay their student loans:
Opting for an Income-Driven Repayment Plan
Federal loan borrowers from dental schools have a wide range of income-driven repayment plans to choose from. For one, each program one enrolls to have their own criteria, benefits, and potential limitations. Some of the common income-driven repayment plans available for dental school loan borrowers include:
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
- Pay as You Earn Repayment (PAYE) Plan
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
Generally, income-driven repayment plans provide a number of benefits for dental students who would like to make low monthly payments than the monthly payments they would make in a standard 10-year repayment plan. In addition, these plans are also beneficial for dental students who are seeking to have their loans forgiven after a period of 20 to 25 years. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that forgiven loan amounts are normally considered to be taxable income within the year in which they have been forgiven. In essence, it can take a long time to pay off a dental school student loan fully.
Enrolling to a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program
This is another way in which, as a practicing dentist serving in the public service, you can pay off your dental school debt. The current Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can allow dental students to have their huge amounts of loans forgiven after 10 years. However, for your loan to be forgiven, you ought to meet a condition that you have to be working in an approved public service position during the period of application for loan forgiveness. As soon as a student loan borrower is employed in the public sector, they can apply to have their loans forgiven after consistent and timely loan repayments for a period of 10 years or 120 months. Although this program is immensely advantageous for paying off dental loans for low income students, it is prone to be affected by changes. For one, the ongoing budget cuts are likely to result in considerable changes to its benefits.
Army Dental Corps Program
Another way of paying off student loans would be to enlist in the Army Dental Corps Program. The program currently provides up to 100% tuition assistance for students who are serving in the United States Army while undertaking their degree. The gist points about this option are the following:
- The Army normally pays for the student’s tuition, books, and other academic fees while giving them a monthly stipend going up to $2000.
- Army Dental Corps Program may be considered beneficial and most appropriate for the dental students who are serving in the United States Army.
- Home loans for dentists serving under the army and between the ages of 21 and 42 years and have met the required medical standards can immensely benefit from such a program.
In summary, student loans are often accompanied by hefty interest rates to be repaid. However, you can enroll in programs as Income-Driven Repayment Plans, Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Army Dental Corps Program to manage your debt better.