According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average debt per graduating senior is $261,149 (according to a survey of the class of 2016). This high level of debt can jeopardize a new dentist’s ability to choose their preferred career path.
ASDA considers the growing student debt crisis a top priority and advocates for financially sustainable, long-term solutions. ASDA's policy states:
The American Student Dental Association encourages Congress and state legislatures to introduce and pass measures that include:
- Expansion of the tax deductibility of interest on educational debt, student scholarships and loan repayments;
- The reduction of student loan interest rates;
- Improved access to public service loan forgiveness programs;
- Loan forgiveness of tuition for dental students and residents practicing in underserved areas after graduation;
- Scholarship opportunities for dental students and residents practicing in underserved areas after graduation;
- Tax deductibility and rebates for dentists practicing in underserved areas;
- Prohibiting the compounding of interest during loan repayment and the capping of interest rates upon graduation;
- Strengthening regulations for the protection of private student loan borrowers
ASDA supports legislation providing tax exemptions for scholarships awarded to dental students under federal programs.
ASDA encourages state dental societies to make increasing state funding to dental schools a legislative priority.
ASDA encourages state dental societies to dedicate funding to scholarships for dental students.
What Has ASDA Done?
ASDA closely monitors legislation that affects student debt. ASDA worked with other dental organizations to send the following coalition letters supporting student debt reform:
- Coalition letter outlining principles to reauthorize the Higher Education Act
- Coalition letter supporting the Student Loan Interest Deduction Act
- Coalition letter supporting the Student Loan Refinancing Act
On April 11-12, 2016, more than 380 ASDA members participated in National Dental Student Lobby Day, meeting with national legislators and lobbying to reduce the burden of student debt. ASDA attendees advocated for H.R. 649, the Student Loan Refinancing Act and H.R. 4223, Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act (POST GRAD Act).
ASDA members sent 2,346 letters to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor H.R. 649 and forty co-sponsors signed on to this bill while ASDA was advocating for it.
ASDA members sent 1,871 letters to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor H.R. 4223 and twenty-seven co-sponsors signed on to this bill while ASDA was advocating for it.
ASDA keeps members informed on legislation that affects student debt through Engage, ASDA’s advocacy alert system, and the Advocacy Brief, ASDA’s monthly newsletter devoted to legislative updates.
Read what ASDA members are writing about student debt:
Resources to Help Manage Debt