According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average debt per graduating senior is $285,184 (according to a 2018 survey). 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 F-4 policy states:
The American Student Dental Association supports initiatives to reduce the burden of debt for dental students. The association urges Congress, state legislatures and state dental associations to pass measures that include, but are not limited to:
- Reducing student loan interest rates;
- Providing refinancing opportunities to borrowers;
- Providing opportunities for loan forgiveness, scholarships, grants and tax deductibility.
What Has ASDA Done?
- Signed on to a letter with thirty-one other organizations thanking U.S. House of Representatives members for introducing the Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act. This bill is similar to the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act, but focuses on interest accrual for physicians/dentists in residency.
- ASDA and members of the dental community signed on to a letter thanking leaders in the House and Senate for reintroducing legislation that would exclude certain federal loan repayments made to dental faculty from being included as gross income. This legislation will help recruit and retain qualified dental faculty.
- Beginning in March, students sent more than 200 letters to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor the REDI Act.
- On April 16, nearly 500 ASDA members participated in ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. Attendees from 59 chapters lobbied for student loan reform. Students and dentists attended more than 300 congressional appointments to urge lawmakers to consider measures that would alleviate the excessive burden of educational debt, allow for refinancing and remove barriers for dental students wanting to pursue careers in public service.
- Signed on to a coalition letter supporting H.R. 5734, the Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act.
- Beginning in April, ASDA urged students to send letters to their representatives to co-sponsor the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act.
- On April 10, more than 500 ASDA members participated in ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. Attendees lobbied to include certain principles in the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Read what ASDA members are writing about student debt and financial literacy:
Resources to Help Manage Debt