Anyone applying to dental school knows it is going to be an expensive four years of school. Once someone is accepted to dental school and they realize that tuition is going to be $250,000+ the natural thing to do is to start looking for scholarships. When it comes to dental school there are not a lot of ways to get a scholarship. If you have done well in school and you are lucky the school you were accepted to may be willing to offer you a part tuition scholarship. However, this is few and far between. In addition, your school may offer small scholarships ($100 – $5,000) through local scholarship donors. This may cover some books for a semester but will not put much of a dent in your tuition.
If you want your entire schooling tuition paid for you are probably going to need to look towards a government scholarship through the Army, Navy, Air-force, or another program. Below I listed as many scholarship opportunities as I could find. If you are a pre-dental student it is best to be looking into these programs now as some of the applications require a lot of work and early submission.
1. Army HPSP Scholarship: The Army offers a 3 or 4-year full tuition scholarship for dental students. Along with a $20,000 signing bonus they also give you a $2,000 monthly stipend to live off of while attending school. If you receive the 4 year scholarship you will be required to pay the Army back by working for them for a minimum of 4 years. This is a great opportunity if you are attending one of the more expensive dental schools or if you are just interested in joining the Army.
2. Navy HPSP Scholarship: The scholarship for the Navy is going to be very similar to that of the Army. Each of these are great opportunities and it is going to come down to which branch you would prefer joining.
3. Air-Force HPSP Scholarship: Once again the Air Force scholarship is similar to the scholarships offered by the Army and the Navy. In general the Air Force scholarship is more competitive than that of the Army and Navy. This is probably due to the fact that they have less scholarships to offer and still have a large amount of applicants. In addition, to a monthly stipend and the year of year payback the Air Force offers an opportunity for an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) to each of the new dentists.
4. National Health Service Corps: Not interested in going into the armed forces in order to get a scholarship? The NHSC offers a very enticing scholarship program. Like the armed forces NHSC offers a year for year payback system. This means that if you receive a 2-year full tuition scholarship you will pay back the scholarship by working at an NHSC approved site for 2 years. The benefit to this program is that you get to apply to a variety of jobs that are approved by NHSC and choose the location you want to work at. In general, these sites are in low income areas helping people with a lack of access to care.
5. Indian Health Service: Like all of the previous scholarships you have a one year for one year payback system. The IHS requires a minimum of a 2 year commitment from the students. The catch with this scholarship is that it is only “For qualified American Indian and Alaska Native students…”. If you are either of these two then you are in luck and have an additional scholarship opportunity.
These are the five main scholarships offered for dental students. I will continue to add more as I come across them. If you have any that you know of please post them in the comments section. Good luck in landing that big money scholarship that you are looking for!