Educational debt

The most recently reported educational debt for indebted dental school graduates in the Class of 2022 is $293,900

Good news

  • Dental school graduates have a great reputation for timely repayment.
  • The average educational debt for graduating dental students with debt has declined the past two years.
  • You can currently fund your entire COA (Cost of Attendance) with federal loans with a combination of federal direct unsubsidized and federal direct PLUS (formerly known as Grad PLUS), negating the need for private loans.
  • Dental school graduates typically enter the income stream after graduation faster than other health professions colleagues, which may allow for aggressive repayment.
  • It is easier than ever to track your federal student loans at .
  • You may graduate with multiple federal loans, but they are likely going to be serviced by just one loan servicer, which negates for many the need to consolidate after graduation.
  • Refinancing at a lower rate with a private lender after graduation is now an option for many dental school graduates.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act has set interest rates on all federally owned loans (which includes all Direct Loans) at 0% from March 13, 2020 until 60 days after either the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement its student loan debt relief program or the litigation involving the program is resolved. Should neither be the case by June 30, 2023, the CARES Act will expire 60 days after that date (probably Sept 1, 2023). While the CARES Act is in effect, there is no interest accrual on any of your federally owned loans. For information on the Student Debt Relief Program, please visit

Not so good news

  • Your entire student loan portfolio may be unsubsidized, with interest accruing from time of disbursement—interest that will eventually be capitalized (added back to the principal).
  • Interest rates on new direct unsubsidized and new direct PLUS loans are fixed and change each year, and the maximum rates are high at 9.5% and 10.5% respectively. The interest rates on new loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 are 7.05% fixed for direct unsubsidized and 8.05% fixed for direct PLUS (Grad PLUS), all the more reason to never borrow more than you really need.