Dental students and new dentists in particular are facing alarming levels of student loan debt. New dentists are now starting their careers on average nearly $305,000 in debt ($270,125 for graduates from public dental schools and $349,730 for graduates from private dental schools).
Compounding this debt are the high federal student loan interest rates that can reach 9.5 or 10.5 percent. And the interest begins accruing immediately. Even if a dental student is able to defer payments during their residency programs the interest on federal loans continue to accrue. For some residents this adds tens of thousands of dollars to their debt. This debt is a particular challenge for the 37 percent of dental school graduates with debt who pursue—or are required to complete—years of a low- or non-paying dental residency program such as those for pediatric dentistry or oral surgery.
At a time when health care providers have just experienced a catastrophic health crisis, it is important now more than ever, for our representatives in Congress to do whatever they can to mitigate the financial burden that these new medical and dental graduates face upon graduation.