According to the American Dental Education Association, the average dental student graduates with upwards of $221,000 of student loan debt—an increase of over 66% in the last decade and an amount vastly exceeding the national average. This debt can jeopardize a new dentist’s ability to choose their preferred career path while rising educational costs might also discourage potential students from pursuing dental school altogether.
The rising cost of dental education poses a significant threat to ASDA members. With dental school tuition nearly doubling since 2000, new dentists are faced with varying amounts of debt after graduation, which can jeopardize their ability to choose their preferred career path. Rising educational costs might also discourage potential students from pursuing dental school altogether.
ASDA considers the growing student debt crisis a top priority and advocates for financially sustainable, long-term solutions. Strategies to protect ASDA members include:
- Collaboration with other organizations to promote public awareness of the threat that rising student debt poses on health care
- An increase in access to need-based student aid, as well as improved access to Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plans
- Strengthening regulations for the protection of private student loan borrowers
What has ASDA done?
As a top priority, ASDA leadership and staff have conveyed our strategies to protect members from rising debt to policymakers during National Dental Student Lobby Day. Additionally, ASDA has coordinated advocacy efforts with fellow student/educational/dental associations and supported increased scholarship funding at the national level.
On April 16, fifty-two ASDA chapters scheduled more than 200 appointments with lawmakers and staff, where students specifically lobbied on behalf of Congressman Tom Petri's (R-WI) forthcoming student debt reduction bill: the Earnings Contingent Education Loans (ExCEL) Act. During these meetings, participants also discussed their concerns and possible solutions to issues such as medical device taxes and higher education-related tax extenders.
Resources to Help Manage Your Debt
- ASDA’s Paying for Dental School page includes details about student loans, a glossary of financial terms, and how to finance and budget for your dental education
- ASDA’s Scholarships & Grants page
- The summer 2012 issue of Mouth features strategies for financing your dental education