Student Loan Reform

Student Loan Options

In 2020, the average educational debt per graduating dental school senior was $305,000 in educational debt.

In 2020, over three quarters (77 percent) of graduating dental school seniors reported using federal Direct Loans to pay for dental school and, to a lesser extent, Grad PLUS loans (73 percent). The interest rates and repayment terms for these loans are generally more favorable than private sector loans, but the borrowing terms are still daunting.

Any legislative proposals that would cut or eliminate federal loan programs would simply narrow the options that are available to dental students to finance their education. The American Dental Association (ADA) supports many pieces of legislation that would help to alleviate student loan debt for dental students and dentists.

Professior helping a dental student

Student Loan Repayment Options

Reducing the burden of higher interest rates and providing better repayment options for educational debt will allow new dentists to better access start-up funds to open or take over an existing dental practice. It may also remove barriers for those wanting to pursue careers in public service, teaching, research and administration. The ADA and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) currently support legislation that would provide better interest rates, deferment and repayment options.


In addition to numerous other pieces of student loan reform legislation, the ADA and ASDA support the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (H.R. 4221/S. 3658), and the Student Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 2160)


The ADA also supports numerous federal loan forgiveness and repayment options including, but not limited to, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, the National Health Service Corps’ Students to Service Program, the Faculty Loan Repayment Program and the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program. The ADA will continue to advocate to fully fund these programs.

What Can You Do About it?

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) are advocating that any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act include: lowering interest rates, allowing dental students to use federally subsidized loans, greater flexibility for refinancing loans, protecting loan forgiveness or repayment programs, and extending the period of deferments. Now is the time to make your voice heard. Use the form provided below to reach out to your legislators now–write, call, tweet your elected officials so they know where you stand on the issues.

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