The average debt burden a person coming out of dental school will carry is close to $300,000 according to a 2016 study. That massive cost represents a tremendous question to the thousands of people who study to be dentists every year…
“How will I pay off my debt?”
While a career as a dentist offers promising opportunity in the way of making more than enough money to manage your college debt, taking care of your debt efficiently takes more than simply finding a job and getting to work.
To help you take the best multi-faceted approach to paying your dental school debt quickly, our team has put together this article.
In it we will go over multiple ways to reduce your debt burden and quicken the pace in which you make payments on that debt to reduce interest owed!
1. Consolidate Your Debt
Many people going through dental school have multiple loans they’re paying off via multiple providers. These different loan packages will have different terms as far as payments are concerned and will carry a variety of interest rates.
To simplify your life and save money, it’s important to try your best to consolidate all of your debt under a single loan provider. There are a lot of companies out there who will work with people with good credit and bad credit (read more here about bad credit loans).
Our recommendation is to find a provider who offers the best interest rates and the most favorable payment terms. Once you do, have them buy out all of your debt. That way you’re only dealing with a single, low-cost loan provider.
2. Make a Plan
Understanding how much you make versus how much you owe in debt is critical to coming up with a plan that will outline how much you can afford to spend each month. Remember, in addition to paying down your debt you’ll want to fund other savings goals. These goals might include retirement, a home down payment, future children funds, and more.
To make sense of the madness, take what you make each month and deduct necessary expenses (housing, food, transit). Then, with what you have left over, allocate a percentage to your dental school debt and to all of your other savings goals.
With that done, you can now figure out how many months/years it’s going to take you to pay off your debt.
If you’re finding that with your current income and savings goals your debt will take too long to pay off, consider cutting back in certain areas. Saving $100.00 here on cable and $50.00 there on a coffee can have a massive impact over the course of a few years when it comes to tackling your dental school debt.
3. Avoid More Debt
While it can be tempting to buy a home, get married, and purchase a practice immediately after dental school, we recommend holding off on things that are not necessary.
Remember, loans carry interest. The second you take one out, you’re going to be paying a monthly premium every month that the loan sits under your name. To reduce your interest burden and give yourself room for unplanned set-backs, live modestly until you’re 100% confident that your dental school debt is under control.
4. Continue Applying for Scholarships
Whether you did or didn’t apply for scholarships while you were in dental school, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be applying post graduating. That’s because many scholarships extend their eligibility to recent graduates in addition to dental students still in school.
So, if you’re looking for free money to help negate some of your dental school debt, consider going on websites like Fastweb or Googling “dental school scholarships post-graduate” to see what you might qualify for.
Organizations like Fastweb have connected students to millions of dollars worth of college debt help. There’s no reason why you can’t be the next person who benefits from an award.
5. Loan Forgiveness Programs
If you’re looking at your dental school debt and are thinking to yourself that you’ll be paying it down for the next 30 years, take a deep breath. There are programs out there that will assist you in substantially reducing your debt burden.
Programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program offers students the opportunity to work in approved high-need areas. In exchange for doing that, this program will forgive all student debt after 10 years of service and timely loan payments up to that point.
There are also other programs that offer favorable loan forgiveness outcomes. These include the Army Dental Corps Program, The National Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, and many others.
Run a search online for dental loan forgiveness programs. You’re bound to find a handful that have requirements which suit your lifestyle and may save you thousands of dollars!
Wrapping Up Ways to Pay off Your Dental School Debt
If you’re looking to pay off your dental school debt as you start out in your career there are plenty of ways to get that done.
We recommend going through our list above and seeing which options work best for you.
To summarize our list, as a new graduate you should do everything you can to prioritize paying down your debt over purchasing unneeded luxuries and taking on new loans. Also, explore the plethora of programs designed to help dentists reduce or completely absolve their debt burden. Finally, be sure that whoever you owe money to is offering you the absolute best terms on the market.
If you’re looking for more of the best information and advice for dentists available online, check out more of our expertly created content on the ADA marketplace today!