According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average debt per graduating senior is $287,331 (according to a 2017 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 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?
- Signed on to a coalition letter supporting H.R. 5734, the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (REDI). This bill is similar to the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act, but focuses on interest accrual for physicians/dentists in residency.
- 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. They urged lawmakers to consider measures that would alleviate the excessive burden of educational debt, allow for refinancing when interest rates change and remove barriers for dental students wanting to pursue careers in public service.
- Signed on to a coalition letter supporting the Student Loan Refinancing Act.
- Signed on to a coalition letter outlining principles to include in the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
- Sent more than 1,000 letters to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor the Student Loan Refinancing Act.
- Signed on to a coalition letter supporting the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act.
- Sent a letter to Congress urging the House of Representatives to extend funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Community Health Centers and the Childhood Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Sent a letter to Congress urging the House of Representatives urging them to reconsider eliminating the student loan interest deduction proposed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
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:
- “The million-dollar questions: Is dental school worth it?” Contour, May 2018
- Should you pay off your debt or save money Mouthing Off, March, 2018
- “How debt impacts specialization” Contour, November/December 2017
- Making cents of student debt Contour, January 2017
- The informed voter: Becoming a student of science and politics Mouth, Fall 2016
- Voting: Why bother? Mouth, Fall 2016
- Pleasing the overtly political patient Mouth, Fall 2016
- Members voice concerns over student debt at Lobby Day 2016 ASDA News, May 2016
- ADA announces new approach to lowering student debt ASDA News, March 2016
Resources to Help Manage Debt