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When it comes to loan repayment for dentists after dental school, there are many federal and state options available to help alleviate a large portion of accrued debt. Many of these public service programs require employment within Health Profession Shortage Areas (HPSA) or a Medically Underserved Area or Population defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Several of these programs require employer matching in order to receive the full amount of available funds.

The programs below have been broken down by state and provide a brief description of the state or federal program. Many of these programs commence immediately after dental school. For more information, please click on the program title to learn more and how to apply.

Updated: 01/12/2015

State Program Description
Federal The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)

Program provides full-time and part-time commitment options for primary care providers to serve within a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA) at a NHSC approved site. Depending up the HPSA score, recipients can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment in exchange for at least a two-year service commitment. Additional repayment can be extended for a third year and the program usually requires a minimum 32-hour weeks commitment. Part time workers can receive up to $25,000 depending on the service site.

Federal Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Eligible candidates must be employed by a public service organization defined by the PSLF conditions and be a full-time employee (30+ hours per week). Loans under the Direct Loan Program are eligible for forgiveness under the PSLF program after ten years of repayment. The repayment timeline began in 2007 so only payments made after this date will contribute towards the 120 payments needed to ensure forgiveness.

Federal Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program

Program offers health professionals the opportunity to pay off qualified student loans while assisting in meeting the staffing needs of Indian health programs. The repayment is awarded to health professionals practicing in specific health profession disciplines in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment working in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Recipients will be awarded up to $20,000 per year, plus 20% in federal tax support, in exchange for two-year service commitment. A one-year extension request is available.

Federal Army – Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

Recipients can receive up to $120,000 to pay down your dental school debt. The program provides $40,000 a year for up to three years. This program may be combined with the Health Professions Bonus also offered through Army service.

Federal Army – Healthcare Professions Loan Repayment Program

As a general dentist, comprehensive dentist, prosthodontist or oral surgeon, you can receive up to $50,000 to repay your dental school loans. The program payments are made over three years, in installments of $20,000, $20,000 and $10,000. Participants may be eligible to participate in other incentive programs as well.

Federal Air Force – Active Duty Health Professions Repayment Program

Purpose of the program is to recruit and maintain an adequate number of commissioned officers of the armed forces on active duty who are qualified in various health specialties. Participants may receive repayment amounts up to $40,000 per year for a minimum of two years, or one year of repayment for each year of service.

Federal Navy – HealthProfessions Loan Repayment Program

Offered to current active duty medical personnel as well as to those interested in repayment through military service. The maximum yearly loan repayment is $40,000, mine ~25% federal income taxes, which are taken out prior to lender repayment. Applicants must be current health professionals or student in their final year at an approved institution. Must serve on active duty for a minimum of two years for one year of loan repayment.

Alabama Alabama State Loan Repayment Program

Program requires primary dentists to commit to employment in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Qualified candidates can be awarded up to $50,000 per year for a two-year term. Awards are paid by the Alabama Department of Public Heath and the employing public or nonprofit agency (50:50) and repayment amounts will depend on site HPSA score.

Alaska Supporting Healthcare Access through Loan Repayment

Offers loan repayment assistance in exchange for a minimum of two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Alaska for dentists. Up to $47,000 per year is awarded and the recipient can be licensed in any state. New guidelines require a 25% employer match to participate.

Arizona The Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program

The aim of the program is to promote work by healthcare professionals in underserved areas. The program qualifies a service site that is public or private, non-profit located in a federally designated HPSA region. Depending on the sites priority rank, different loan amounts will be awarded (between $40,000 – $32,000) for the initial two-year award.

Arizona Rural Private Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program

The program is designed to promote healthcare professionals working in underserved areas. The program requires service at a private practice service site located in a rural area as defined within an Arizona Medically Underserved Area (AzMUA). Depending on the sites priority rank, different loan amounts will be awarded (between $40,000 – $32,000) for the initial two-year award.

California California Dental Association Foundation Student Loan Repayment Grant

The CDA Foundation awards selected dental school/specialty graduates in exchange for providing care to underserved communities. The grant will provide up to $35,000 a year for a three-year max of $105,000 to selected recipients. The recipient must provide a minimum of 30 hours per week of service and be eligible to practice within California for the three-year contract.

California California State Loan Repayment Program

Provides repayment to health professionals who commit to practice in approved medically underserved areas, within public or non-profit sectors for a minimum commitment of two years. The maximum award is $60,000 and can be renewed for a third and forth year with forgiveness amounts of $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.

Colorado Colorado Health Service Corps

Doctors of osteopathic or allopathic medicine may be eligible to receive repayment of qualified student loans if practicing in a Health Professional Shortage Area or delivering primary health cares services in a public or nonprofit clinic. The program awards recipient up to $90,000 for a three-year term at an approved site.

District of Columbia DC Health Professional Loan Repayment Program

Applicants must commit to full-time practice at a certified Service Obligation Site (SOS) in exchange for loan repayment. The District will provide benefits up to $140,800 over four years. Rates for repayment are as follows: 18% of the total eligible debt in year one, 26% in year two, and 28% each in years three and four. A minimum commitment of two years is required and applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis. Awards are based on program requirements and the availability of funds.

Delaware Delaware State Loan Repayment Program

Program is designed to increase the availability of dentists in underserved areas. Dentists must commit to full-time (40 hours per week) employment at an eligible site over a two-year term. Mid-level practitioners are eligible to receive up to $70,000 for the two years and advanced practitioners up to $100,000. A limited number of loan repayment contracts will be awarded each year.

Georgia Oral Health Workforce Advancement Loan Repayment Program

The purpose of the program is to attract new graduates or young practitioners to work in Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSA), within the state of Georgia. Open to licensed dental providers who are employed or seeking employment at approved sites. The program provides up to $25,000 per year with an initial one-year commitment for up to three years depending on the availability of funds.

Hawaii Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program

Program awards health professionals including dentists who agree to a commitment of service at an eligible site defined as having shortages of primary care medicine. The two-year agreement will be exchanged with a maximum of $30,000 a year in total loan repayment support for eligible dentists.

Illinois Illinois National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program

Goal is to provide assistance to health profession shortage areas across a range of medical professions. Full-time and half time commitments are available with a minimum commitment hours of 20 hours per week with 16 of those hours in outpatient clinical services. The program will provide up to $12,500/year in loan repayment for the first two years and recipients are eligible to complete an additional two years with up to $20,000 in forgiveness.

Iowa The Iowa Loan Repayment Program

Offers two-year grants to dentists for use in repayment of educational loans provided by The Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor (PRIMECARRE). Requires a two-year practice commitment in a public or non-profit site located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). The program will provide up to $50,000 per year for full-time and $25,000 per year for part-time dentists. Approximately 5-8 applicants will receive the funds.

Iowa FIND program

The FIND (Fulfilling Iowa’s Need for Dentists) program is an extension of the Iowa Loan Repayment Program, providing up to $100,000 in loan repayments over five years to dentists who agree to set up a private practice in one of Iowa’s designated dental shortage areas and allocate 35 percent of patient services to underserved populations.

Kansas The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program

Federally supported program that provides loan repayment assistance to health care providers with qualifying educational loans. Repayment assistance is awarded in exchange for a minimum two-year commitment to provide primary care services at an eligible practice site in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Program awards dentists up to $25,000 per year in repayment support.

Kansas Kansas Initiative for New Dentists (KIND)

The state-based program provides practitioners working in federally designated HPSAs that are part of a non-profit or government entity repayment assistance. Repayment is provided in a 1:1 matching with the practitioner’s employer with awards between $20,000 and $25,000 per year for a two-year commitment. Funds will depend on practice discipline and employer match.

Kentucky Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program

Federally backed program that provides 1:1 matching (federal and state) for qualified educational loans for dentists. As repayment service, recipient must agree to a two-year commitment to practice full-time at an eligible sponsoring organization in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Repayment maximum can be up to $35,000 a year for two years for a total of $70,000 (this includes the federal and health organization’s matching amounts).

Louisiana Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program

Program’s mission is to encourage primary care practitioners/dentists to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas to overcome the disproportionate distribution of primary care health professionals in rural and inner city areas. Dentists can be awarded up to $30,000 annually for a three-year initial commitment to aid in loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must be licensed in the state of Louisiana, work full-time, and have no other health service obligation. Commitment may be extended for an additional two-years with a repayment benefit of $24,000.

Maine Maine Dental Education Loan Program

The Maine Dental Education Loan is a forgivable loan program for Maine residents pursuing postgraduate dental education who are willing to dedicate practice to the underserved. Applicant must attend an accredited dental school to be eligible for the $20,000 per year forgivable loan. The maximum loan amount is $80,000 for a full four-year commitment.

Maine Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program

The program provides loan repayment assistance for dentists practicing general dentistry in eligible dental care facilities in underserved areas in the state of Maine. Applicant must have qualifying dental education and do not have to have Maine residency. The initial commitment is two-years at $20,000 per year and may be renewed for an additional two-year term. Funds are disbursed directly to you for payment toward your outstanding dental education loans.

Maryland Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program

The program aids in the repayment of student loans for dentists who treat Maryland’s most vulnerable populations. The purpose of the program is to recruit dentists to these areas by offering awarded recipients up to $23,740 per year over a three-year period. Participating dentists must treat a minimum of 30% of Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMAP) recipients as a portion of their serving population.

Massachusetts The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program

Repayment program provides educational loan repayment as an incentive for health professionals to practice in communities where significant shortages of health care providers and barriers to access have been identified. Applicants must be licensed to practice in Massachusetts and commit to practice two years full-time or the equivalent extended commitment part time (e.g. a 20-hour practice per week will mean a four-year contract) providing services in an eligible facility or setting. Dentists are eligible for a total award of $50,000 over the two years.

Michigan Michigan State Loan Repayment Program

Requires a two-year service obligation, which will begin October 1st following each application period at an approved underserved area site. Applicants must have eligible debt sufficient to warrant an initial two-year, $25,000 per year loan repayment agreement to participate. Award amount is dependent on the level of education debt with a maximum of $50,000 over the two-year agreement for dentists. The program can be extended at the same repayment rate to help pay off additional qualifying debt.

Minnesota Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program

Program aids to improve access to primary care by assisting underserved communities with the state. Loan repayment of qualifying educational loans will be made up to $20,000 annually for full-time primary care providers and up to $10,000 for half-time providers. Applicants are required to commit to service a HPSA for at least two years.

Minnesota Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program

The purpose of the program is to recruit and retain health care professionals to needed areas and facilities in Minnesota. To be eligible, licensed dentists must have remaining education debt and plan to practice for at least 30 hours per week, for at least 45 weeks per year. Participants are eligible to participate for up to four years in the program during which they serve at least 25 percent of their annual patient encounters to state public program enrollees or patients receiving a sliding-fee schedule. Recipients will be awarded up to $25,000 per year for a four-year max of $100,000 in benefits.

Missouri Missouri Health Professional State Loan Repayment Program

Eligible to dentists who service a health profession shortage area in exchange for qualifying loan repayment. Licensed health professionals may apply for up to $50,000 in financial assistance to reduce educational debt in exchange for a two-year commitment.

Missouri The Primary Care Resource Initiative for Missouri

This competitive state program awards forgivable loans to students pursing heath care training leading to Missouri licensure. The amount of funding depends on medical discipline and education status. Forgiveness is based on the number of loans received. One loan will equate on year of qualifying employment service. The program caps at five years even if recipient has more than five loans.

Montana State Loan Repayment Program

Provides repayment funds in exchange for work within a health profession shortage area. Dentists who commit to a two-year service agreement can receive up to $15,000 per year for full-time employment.

Nebraska The Nebraska Loan Repayment Program

Program is a local-state matching fund program to assist local entities serving shortage areas to recruit and retain health professionals. Requires a three-year service agreement including service to Medicaid patients for a maximum benefit of $40,000 per year of loan repayment. Dentists agree to practice one year in a state-designated shortage area for each year a loan is received.

The Nevada Health Service Corps

Open to dentists who engage in clinical practice in an assigned community by the NHSC. Typical length of commitment is two years of full service and candidates must agree to provide services to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Funding is based on what is available during that application cycle and all funds apportioned must be used to pay back educational loans.

New Hampshire The New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program

Provides funds to health care professionals working in areas of the State designated as being medically underserved defined as HPSAs. Recipient must agree to a three-year service obligation or a minimum obligation at two years part-time. Program will grant up to $75,000 over the three-year term or up to $27,500 for part-time work. Program may be extended for an additional two years of loan repayment.

New Jersey Primary Care Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey

Designed to increase and improve the provision of primary care services by encouraging providers to serve in state-designated underserved areas and HPSA throughout New Jersey. Dentists with a designated accredited residency are required to work a minimum of two years (maximum of four years) on a full-time basis (40 hours per week), providing primary care in an eligible underserved area. A percentage of qualifying loans will be forgiven (between 18-28% of participant’s student debt annually) over the course of service for a maximum allowable amount of $120,000.

New Mexico New Mexico Loan Repayment Assistance Program

The program requires the recipient to make a two-year service commitment to practice full-time in a designated medical shortage area in New Mexico. The maximum allowable award is $25,000 per year or up to $35,000 per year for an HPSA area. Award amounts are determined by outstanding student loan debt on an individual basis. Applicant must be licensed within the state and be employed full-time.

North Carolina North Carolina State Loan Repayment

The North Carolina State Loan repayment program awards dentists who commit to four years of service $100,000 in loan repayment. Recipients must practice in underserved communities within the state.

North Dakota North Dakota Dental Loan Repayment Program

The Dental Loan Repayment program is a state/federal program designed to attract new dentists to North Dakota to practice in areas of need. New dentists are selected based on the likelihood that they will practice in a rural community or safety net clinic and will see low-income patients. Each dentist selected may receive up to $80,000 to repay educational loans. There are several programs with varying requirements and conditions.

Ohio Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program

New dentists are encouraged to practice in underserved areas of Ohio. Loan repayment assistance will be granted to those who serve these communities on a full-time basis. Repayment totals are up to $50,000 for the first two years and up to $35,000 for years three and four. A part-time option is also available for a two-year initial contract with one-year renewals.

Oklahoma Oklahoma Dental Loan Repayment Program

In exchange for providing dental care to underserved metropolitan and rural areas, loan repayment assistance will be made available to up to twenty-five qualifying dentists for a two to five year period per dentist. Dentists must either practice in health shortage areas or teach at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. The award amount is at least $25,000 per year and eligible for up to five years.

Oregon Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment

Program requires a two-year service obligation in a HPSA designated service site. Sites decide how much they’ll contribute, from $5,000 up to $35,000, and then program funds match the service site’s funds.

Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program

Program provides grant funding for educational loan repayment to primary care practitioners serving medically underserved populations. Provides dentists up to $100,000 of educational loan repayment for a full-time service commitment or up to $50,000 for a partial commitment. Applicants must be licensed within the state and commit to the two-year program that requires employment in a primary care employment site serving the underserved.

Rhode Island Rhode Island Dental Education Loan Repayment Program

Program to improve access to care, retain providers who provide healthcare services in underserved communities, and to address health professional shortages that cause disparities in health. Two-year commitment to practice in medically underserved communities as identified as Health Professional Shortage Areas is required. Funds have been allocated to the State of Rhode Island for 8 – 10 awards across several health professions including dentists.

South Carolina South Carolina Rural Dentist Incentive Program

The Rural Dentist Program provides loan repayment assistance to dentists who agree to practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) of South Carolina or serve as full-time faculty at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine. Dentists are expected to treat at least 100 unduplicated Medicaid patients. Priority is given to those experiencing need or those who desire to remain within critical need areas. Loan reimbursement payments are made quarterly and cover the amount of all canceled loan repayment checks.

South Dakota Recruitment Assistance Program

The Recruitment Assistance Program binds the recipient to enter into a contract with the South Dakota Department of Health to provide medical support in designated areas within the state. To be eligible, applicant must be a licensed dentist in South Dakota with completion of an accredited residency program. Dentists agree to a three-year service commitment at an eligible rural community. The current repayment amount is $172,172 for dentists.

Tennessee Tennessee State Loan Repayment Program

TSLRP provides educational loan repayment to qualified dentists in exchange for practice at an ambulatory public, non-profit or private non-profit primary care site located in a HPSA. The initial two-year service obligation can be for full-time or part-time practice. Recipients are eligible for up to $20,000 per year and can continue the educational support for repayment of the remainder of loans.

Vermont Vermont Educational Loan Repayment Program For Dentists

In order to provide better aid to Vermont’s most underserved and undersupplied areas, qualifying dentists will be awarded loan repayment assistance in exchange for service to these areas. The award amounts up to $20,000 per year in state/federal funds with a $10,000 minimum. Dentists must practice a minimum average of 20 clinical hours per week during the year of service and at least 45 weeks per year.

Virginia Federal Virginia State Loan Repayment Program

Loans are repaid in return for a minimum of two years of full-time practice of the recipient’s specialty in a federally designated HPSA of Virginia. The repayment program pays up to $25,000 a year toward the qualified educational loans of program participants. The minimum service obligation is two years and has a maximum payment of $50,000. Subsequent extensions of the loan repayment contract are entitled to annual loan repayments of up to $35,000. A 40-hour per week service obligation is required.

Washington Health Professional Loan Repayment Program

Program encourages licensed primary care health professionals to serve in critical shortage areas within the state. Applicants agree to provide primary care health care in rural or underserved urban areas with designated shortages. Awards provide up to $35,000 per year in repayment for a minimum two-year ($70,000), full-time service obligation. Each additional one-year extension request amount is based on funds available.

Wisconsin Wisconsin Dental Health Professions Loan Assistance Program

Program requires three years of service in a federally designated HPSA site or within a rural community. A dentist could qualify for either (rural but not HPSA, or HPSA but not rural) for a maximum $50,000 award. If, however the dentist qualifies for both programs (practicing in a rural HPSA), their total maximum award is $100,000. Dentists must have completed an approved program and must work full- time (40-hour weeks) to complete the commitment.

Wyoming Health Professions Loan Assistance Program

The intent of the program is to enhance the ability of medically underserved Wyoming communities to recruit and retain healthcare professionals. The program repays qualifying applicants for costs of eligible educational loans in return for a commitment to practice in an underserved area in Wyoming for a minimum of three years. Provides dentists up to $30,000 per year for up to $90,000 in repayment forgiveness. Applicant must treat Medicare, Medicaid and Kid Care eligible patients.

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