According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), in 2018, indebted students left dental school with an average amount of $285,000 owed. As the cost to attend dental school continues to rise, many prospective students are looking for opportunities to avoid taking on debt, while still gaining valuable experience. One way is through the Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP).
Most dental students know what it’s like to live on a budget. After graduation, money will stay tight when student loans come due. Before long, a new dentist will want to buy a practice, buy a house or start a family. As your dental career begins, your financial planning skills will be just as critical as your treatment planning skills.
With the rising costs of dental school and education, getting student loans are a common reality for many dental students. It is important to understand the terminology that will allow for better communication between you and your lender, especially before signing the promissory note. Additionally, this knowledge will help you effectively advocate for initiatives at the local, state and national levels that alleviate the student debt burden.
What is a personal budget? It is a plan that allocates future income or cash (whether from working, loans, gifts, etc.) toward personal expenses, saving and loan repayment. To create a personal budget as a student, we focus on expenses, both fixed and variable.
As a dental student, you may already be carrying significant student loan debt. Paying down that debt requires income — cash flow that may best be generated by opening or buying into your own practice upon graduation. New dentists and those about to graduate often feel caught in a vicious circle when they perceive that debt may deny them a practice loan and prevent them from moving forward in their career.
If you’re just starting out, chances are high there’s a substantial amount of debt in your financial picture. According to the American Dental Association, the average debt for all dental school graduates who owed money was $247,227. Over 30 percent of dental school graduates with student loans reported debt in excess of $300,000.
After hearing my podcast about student loans with Howard Farran, a student emailed me and asked if I had tips for predental students. The following outlines my advice for those ready to pursue dentistry as their career.