Dental Scholarships

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How Do You Get Dental School Scholarships?

Aspiring dentists with a solid grade point average or financial need may qualify for a dental school scholarship. Dentistry scholarships are one way to pay for pre dental, dental and dental hygienist programs. 

Take our Scholarship Match Quiz to find ones that match with your goals and interests. Local communities, government, national associations, ROTC and colleges. If you meet their eligibility requirements, there are directions on how to apply.

As a rule, it take four years to earn one of two professional degrees in dentistry. A Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) either must be from a CODA accredited dental program. 

About 20% of practicing dentists limit their niche to one of nine recognized specialties. 

  1. Dental Public Health
  2. Endodontics
  3. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology/Radiology
  4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  5. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  6. Pediatric Dentistry
  7. Periodontics 
  8. Prosthodontics

All of these fields take an extra two to four years for a post doctoral certificate or master’s degree. It’s more like four to six years for oral and maxillofacial surgery programs which lead to a joint MD degree.  

Tuition and fees for a graduate degree was an average of $18,416 per year. If you multiply it by 4, that’s roughly $73,600 plus fees, dental equipment and required health insurance. 

Since many students enter these graduate programs, you may have to apply for student loans. In fact, graduating dentists left with an average debt of $287,331 in 2017-18, says the ADEA.

On the flip side, once licensed, job prospects for dentists especially in under served areas are good and salaries are above the norm too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dentists was $159,200 with some earning more than $208,000 in 2019. 

10 Dental School Scholarships You Should Apply for

Check out these scholarship funds to make dental studies more affordable. Most awards are for U.S. citizens and come with distinct eligibility requirements and deadlines. 

  1. Barry Goldwater Scholarship
  2. F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)
  3. Colgate Palmolive Company Dental Residency or Specialty Program
  4. ADEA/Crest Oral B Laboratories Dental Hygiene Scholarship 
  5. Proctor and Gamble Professional Oral Health Scholarship
  6. A-Dec/HDA Foundation Scholarship
  7. Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) Scholarship 
  8. Michael Krochak Pre Dental Scholarship 
  9. Dr. Kyle Hornby Annual Scholarship
  10. Dr. Juan D. Villarreal / HDA Foundation Scholarship

Scholarships from National Dental Associations

There are many associations that represent the interests of different kinds of dentists. As a member, you may have access to various resources including dental school scholarships. 

America’s Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) 

AAPD’s mission is to advance optimal oral health for all children. They research and advocate for standards of care, policy and dental education. Their website is also a tool for the public to find an AAPD certified dentist. 

Master Clinician Scholarship is for dentists looking to make a switch into an academic career. It recognizes that dentists who teach may also innovate and pave the way for new national policies. Selected recipients receive full tuition to Academy for Advancing Leadership’s Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) in Atlanta, GA. 

American Dental Association (ADA)

The ADA is an organization with over 163,000 members. They exist to further the profession of dentistry in a variety of ways. One of these is to develop and put into use board licensure and testing programs. The organization also offers services like Find a Dentist, contract review and credentialing tools. Scholarships and grants are available to members through the ADA Foundation.

Dental Student Scholarship

In 2020, the Foundation will award up to three dental school scholarships worth at least $11,000 each to dental students. Applicants must show a high level of academic achievement (GPA of 3.4 or higher). Also preferred are community service and financial need. The program is open to all students in accredited U.S. dental schools who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. To qualify, one must be a full time student, enrolled and in the second or third year of study.

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)

The ADEA is the only organization in the United States to represent academic dentistry. About 18,000 members span all 78 U.S. and Canadian dental schools with allied health and advanced dental education programs. Together, members set the ‘best practices’ for school curricula of all kinds and have access to dental school scholarships and other useful resources.

ADEA/Crest Oral B Scholarships 

There are two programs made available through a partnership with Proctor and Gamble. One is for predoctoral dental hygiene students. There are two recipients of $3,000 each that support students who want to become dental hygiene educators. Another two scholarships of $5,500 each go to predoctoral students going for an academic career. Both programs require you to submit an online application and ask for transcripts, a personal essay, letters of nomination and recommendation. 

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Preventive Dentistry Scholarship 

This award supports 12 predoctoral dental students with $2,500 each. Applicants must show academic excellence and a strong interest in the field through research, service and other activities. The program is also open to those going for their degree on a full time basis at a Canadian or U.S. school of dentistry. 

ADEA/Sigma Phi Alpha Linda DeVore Scholarship

This program honors Professor Linda Rubenstein DeVore. A $1,500 scholarship goes to a student pursuing a degree in allied dental education or public health. It is open to all levels of study – bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate. To be eligible, you must lead in education or health care and be in good academic standing. You also need  a letter of nomination from a faculty.

American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA)

The ADHA, founded in 1923 is the largest national organization of dental hygienists. With over 185,000 registered members, they work to advance the profession, promote licensure, research and education. As a member, you also may receive dental school scholarships, grants and special events. 

Institute for Oral Health Scholarship Program

U.S. students enrolled in a bachelor’s dental hygiene program are eligible for this award. Students must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and be student or professional members of ADHA. Two receipients each receive a one time award of $1,000.

Which Dental Schools Offer Scholarship Programs?

A wide range of accredited schools of dentistry offer dental school scholarships. The cost of attendance may vary between public and private schools. Private schools could be more expensive and 4 years may cost over $106,204 using the last data from the NCES. More selective and Ivy League schools tend to come with a higher annual tuition. 

University of Pennsylvania 

UPenn is an Ivy League school. Through Penn Dental Medicine, students work towards DMD degree with options of other graduate programs as well. The dental program offers nine dental specialties that lead to post graduate certificates. Areas such as endodontics, oral medicine, orthodontics and prosthodontics. There is also a Master of Science in Oral Biology and a Doctor of Science in Dentistry. Each program comes with a different cost. To help students afford their education, the school offers dental scholarships.

Penn Dental Medicine Dean’s Scholarship

All DMD applicants are eligible to receive a merit based Dean’s Scholarship. These awards pay up to $40,000 per year to incoming four year DMD students. There is no separate application. Among the criteria are academic performance, leadership and interests beyond school. If one keeps up good standing, the awards renew for up to 4 years. 

New York University 

NYU’s school of dentistry is the third oldest of its kind in the nation. It offers clinical training in oral health care as well as graduate programs including a predoctoral DDS curriculum. Students may also pair the DDS with a certificate in public health, MPH or MBA degree. They may also choose a seven year BA/DDS joint degree program. Each program’s tuition and fees may vary. To make these programs more affordable there are several merit and need based dental school scholarships for admitted students. NYU also provides the Post Graduate Scholarships. You may be considered for an award based on your FAFSA information. 

University of Washington

Located in Seattle, University of Washington’s School of Dental Medicine offers dental and oral health education, research, and dental care clinics. DDS, and pediatric dentistry are a few other options. Also, the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program trains dentists to meet the needs of rural and under served populations in the state and region.

Spiekerman Scholarships

These awards honor a past teacher of biostatistics, Dr. Chuck Spiekerman. The scholarships provide tuition awards to help students from low and middle income countries to attend the Summer Institute. The number of awards may vary depending on donations. 

Dental Scholarships for Minorities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 79.0% of the dental health workforce are white males. Females are in the minority (35.7%) as are Black or African Americans (1.6%), Asians (17.6%) and Hispanics (4.3%). Apart from a lack of racial and ethnic diversity, the ADA reports that dental care is the most unmet health need for minority groups. Some providers create dental school scholarships to encourage more minority students to enter dentistry school.

Chinese American Medical Society (CAMS) Scholarship

CAMS is a nonprofit charitable, educational, and scientific organization. Their commitment is towards education and community service. Each year, CAMS members with financial need may receive scholarships. There are 3 to 5 selectees and each one receives a $5,000 stipend per year. The award is open to all first, second year and third year medical or dental students. 

Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) Scholarships

The HDA, through support from Colgate Palmolive offers members access to scholarships. Eligible applicants must show a commitment to improve and serve the oral health of the Hispanic community. One of their awards is the Dental Residency or Specialty Program. The maximum award is $5,000 but the number of scholarships may vary.

To qualify, you must be an HDA or HSDA member, accepted or enrolled full time in an accredited residency or specialty program. Eligible applicants must have an undergraduate or graduate degree in a related oral health field from an accredited school. The maximum award is $5,000 but the number of scholarships may vary.

UNCF STEM Scholars Program

The United Negro College Fund offers a STEM Scholars Program to help African American high school students earn a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. There are 100 scholarships available ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens with a 3.0 GPA who pursued a rigorous course of study in high school that included pre calculus. To qualify, you must prove unmet financial need. 

Indian Health Services Scholarship

The IHS scholarship is only open to qualified American Indian and Alaska Native health professions students. In return for financial support, selectees must sign a two year service commitment within an Indian health program in their chosen field of study. The financial package includes tuition, required fees, educational and living expenses.

Military Dental Programs

Several U.S. military branches may offer dental programs while serving and protecting the nation. A dental assistant in the U.S. Army receives a salary of $35,476 per year and dentists may earn $122,279 per year.

U.S. Air Force Dental Health Profession scholarship helps pay full tuition and all required fees. Textbooks, small equipment items and supplies needed for study could also be covered. You also receive a monthly allowance for living expenses. To qualify you must be a U.S. citizen enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an ADA accredited dental school. In return, you agree to a minimum commitment of three years which begins after you complete dental school.

If you want to serve as an Officer and a dentist, the Army Dental Corps program may appeal to you. It is an opportunity to study oral surgery, prosthodontics, and other specialty areas. Along with a benefits package, you decide if you want to commit to serve full time as an Officer on active duty or keep a community practice and serve as needed in the Army Reserve.

What Other Financial Aid May Help Pay for Dental School? 

Aside from scholarships, there are a few other ways to help pay for a degree in dentistry. Federal financial aid, military benefits,  private students loans may help pay for dental school. The ADA has Financial Planning Issues that may be worth a look. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

Federal Financial Aid

If you are entering a bachelor’s program first, you may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. This requires you to file the FAFSA. But, the Pell Grant is only for undergraduate students. The amount you receive may depend on your Expected Family Contribution, cost of attendance, enrollment status, and plans to attend a full academic year. 

The U.S. Department of Education also offers Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. The loan programs are available at schools that participate in offering these and come with their own terms. 

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. It is the school that figures out how much you can borrow based on the cost of attendance and how much other aid you receive. 

Direct PLUS Loans are for graduate or professional students. They help pay for education expenses not covered by other aid. However, the government does run a credit check. If you do not have a good credit history, you must meet additional requirements. 

Private Student Loans

Private student loan may help you borrow more money than just the cost of attendance. Our Student Loan Finder tool takes less than 30 seconds and matches you to lenders you may contact about borrowing. 

National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

The NHSC is a government agency that serves two roles. It awards dental school scholarships to students training to become health care workers. They also help to pay school loans for current primary health care workers. In return, students commit to working in high need areas. 

NHSC Scholarship Program

To be eligible for this program, you must be a U.S. citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or U.S. national. Eligible applicants also need to pursue a degree as a full time student in the U.S. Dentistry is one of the approved programs (DDS or DMD degree) as long as the school is ADA accredited. If you’re selected, you must agree to a service contract once you graduate. 

Loan Repayment Program 

The NHSC LRP program has recipients commit to serving at least two years. You must be full time or half time clinical practice at an NHSC approved site. Approved disciplines are dentists with a DDS or DMD in general or pediatric dentistry.

The Michael Krochak Pre-Dental Scholarship

The Michael Krochak Pre-Dental Scholarship is available for college junior enrolled in a U.S. accredited college or university.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31, 2021

Karla Girts Memorial Community Outreach Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. students who are enrolled in an associate’s, baccalaureate, or degree completion dental hygiene program, with a commitment to improving oral health in the geriatric population. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and be student or professional members of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).

Total: $4000

Awards: 2

Deadline: February 01, 2021

Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center Mimi Reardon Scholarship

This scholarship is open to Vermont students pursuing postsecondary education or training related to health or allied health care who reside in Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, or Washington counties. Students must demonstrate an interest in providing health care in one of Vermont’s rural communities and must also demonstrate financial need.

Total: $5000

Awards: 5

Deadline: February 11, 2021

Hartford Dental Society Scholarship

Dental students who reside in Connecticut, are in their third or fourth year at a New England dental school, and who are in academic good standing are eligible to apply for Hartford Dental Society Scholarships. Award amounts depend on donations.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: March 01, 2021

CAMS Scholarships

The Chinese American Medical Society (CAMS) is a nonprofit. Each year they award 3 to 5 scholarships of $5,000 each to first, second and third year medical or dental students in good standing who need financial aid to pay for dental education at an accredited U.S. dental school.

Total: $25000

Awards: 5

Deadline: March 31, 2021

ADA Foundation Scholarships

The American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation will award up to three scholarships worth at least $11,000 each to dental students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.4 based on a 4.0 scale and proven financial need.

Total: $33000

Awards: 3

Deadline: April 03, 2021

Dr. Clifton & Lois Dummett Scholarship

The NDAF/Dr. Clifton & Lois Dummett Scholarship honors its namesake who among other accomplishments was the youngest dean in the United States at 28. This scholarship is for a qualified post doctoral dentistry student and awards $10,000.

Total: $10000

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 15, 2021

NDAF / Dr. Bessie Delaney Scholarship

The NDAF / Dr. Bessie Delaney Scholarship of $10,000 is named in honor of Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delaney, who among other accomplishments, was the only Black female in her DDS graduating class in 1923 Columbia University. Only open to female applicants.

Total: $10000

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Dr. Kyle Hornby Annual Scholarship

The Dr. Kyle Hornby Annual Scholarship is available for Undergraduate with 3.5 GPA or greater interested in pursuing a career in dentistry enrolled at US College or University.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01

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