Can money from FAFSA® help pay for dental school?

The short answer is yes, money from FAFSA® can help pay for dental school. You’ll just need to file your FAFSA® and work with your school’s financial aid office to find out what you can qualify for – like grants and scholarships. 

In addition to scholarships and grants, there are three major loans that can help students pay for dental school. By filing your FAFSA®, you are eligible to apply for them.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Dental School

These loans are for students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree level classes. These loans do differ slightly for dental school students compared to other students:

  • Dental students pay a higher interest rate of 6.6% for graduate and professional degrees. This is higher than the 5.5% interest undergrad students pay for the same loans.
  • Dental students can borrow more on these loans. Undergrads can borrow up to $12,500 per year, whereas dental students can borrow up to $20,500 per year pursuing their advanced degree in dentistry.

Federal Grad PLUS Loans for Dental School

While these loans come at a higher fee (4.236% vs. 1.062% for unsubsidized loans), they are a good 2nd option for dental students to consider when it comes to paying for school.

  • The interest rate is 7.08%, just under a half percentage point of the 6.6% charged by the unsubsidized loans.
  • Grad PLUS loans allow dental students to borrow up to the full cost of their school but are capped at a maximum when using unsubsidized loans.

Make sure to compare before taking on a grad plus loan. Some advisors suggest looking into private student loans for lower interest rates for students with excellent credit scores.

Health Resources and Services Administration Loans for Dental School

These loans are administered to students attending programs covered under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are two common loans issued by dental schools:

  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) Program, which are low-interest loans given to dental students with disadvantages. Find out if your school participates in the LDS Program to determine if you would be eligible.
  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) are given based on financial need. You will have to inquire with your school to find out if they participate in this program.

Both loans only have a 5% interest rate and incur no origination fees. Funds are limited for these, so make sure you contact your school’s financial aid office for more information on how to apply.

The first and most crucial step in getting money to pay for dental school is filing FAFSA®. After your FAFSA® has been filed, remember to check in with your school’s financial aid office to be sure you’re applying for all of the financial aid you may be eligible for.