yihaej12

5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2014
203
245
Honolulu, Hawaii
Status
Dental Student
Hey guys,

Its only dawning on me now the immensity of the financial burden of dental school. Especially because i come from an economically disadvantaged situation (mother has cancer so hospital/treatment expenses and I'm from single parent family where my mom can't and hasn't been working because of her cancer). So yeah, basically a bad situation. Also I have no savings because starting from when i was young I had to work to help pay for family expenses and more recently I've had to use most of my funds for my mom. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining because i would do it over again in a heartbeat for my family. But, i just feel overwhelmed about the costs of dental school.

I think i have a good chance of getting into a school this cycle (4.0 gpa, 21 DAT, good LORs, and lots of ECs)...but the costs are scaring me off honestly..

I will basically have to take out a loan for all four years and for all of my living expenses (i don't think its possible to work while in dental school and no one in my family will be able to contribute anything for me financially). Most of the schools I'm applying to aren't exactly "cheap" either. (UoP, UCSF, UCLA, Western, UW, Colorado, Creighton, OHSU). On top of it all, I will be an OOS to all these schools and i have no option of a state school because I'm from Hawaii (no dental school **** my life)...And the living expenses in Cali/seattle aren't very affordable either if i do get accepted there. overall, I feel like I will be looking at a debt of 400k+ before interests...and this scares me a lot...to the point idk if i should even be pursuing dentistry in my situation right now.

If anyone has any input or advice about loans/costs/etc etc....it would be greatly appreciated.
 
Last edited:
Nov 22, 2014
1,574
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There are some schools that will offer in-state tuition after a year so maybe add those to your list, Ohio, UConn, Maryland. Bad part with those, a lot farther away for you. Some schools do give some financial aid and scholarships so you might luck out there. Mainly you have to keep telling yourself that over your lifetime, your debt will be minimal compared to how much money you will be making. Besides, you are in a WICHE state so some of the schools on your list won't be at full out of state costs http://wiche.edu/psep/dent
 

hellofuturedentists

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2015
2,215
3,542
Status
Dental Student
Definitely look into Army/Navy HPSP or NHSC program! They both pay for your stuff during dental school in return for you serving for a certain amount of time (and you'll also get a salary; might not be amazing, but you won't have loans to repay ;) ). I believe both are competitive but your scores are great! You seem like a good person, too, and I honestly don't know much at all about the programs, but I think you should 100% research them!
 
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AVB2104

7+ Year Member
May 17, 2013
1,471
755
Status
Dentist
Definitely look into Army/Navy HPSP or NHSC program! They both pay for your stuff during dental school in return for you serving for a certain amount of time (and you'll also get a salary; might not be amazing, but you won't have loans to repay ;) ). I believe both are competitive but your scores are great! You seem like a good person, too, and I honestly don't know much at all about the programs, but I think you should 100% research them!
I second this.
 
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yihaej12

5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2014
203
245
Honolulu, Hawaii
Status
Dental Student
Definitely look into Army/Navy HPSP or NHSC program! They both pay for your stuff during dental school in return for you serving for a certain amount of time (and you'll also get a salary; might not be amazing, but you won't have loans to repay ;) ). I believe both are competitive but your scores are great! You seem like a good person, too, and I honestly don't know much at all about the programs, but I think you should 100% research them!
I did look into it. I actually did jrotc in high school if that means anything and I did enjoy it...But idk if I would be able to deal with being relocated to random places without my control because of my moms condition and all. I would want to preferably be able to remain near my mother because she doesn't really have anyone else to take care of her if things don't get better for her. It's just her, my younger brother, and I...idk.
 

hellofuturedentists

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2015
2,215
3,542
Status
Dental Student
I did look into it. I actually did jrotc in high school if that means anything and I did enjoy it...But idk if I would be able to deal with being relocated to random places without my control because of my moms condition and all. I would want to preferably be able to remain near my mother because she doesn't really have anyone else to take care of her if things don't get better for her. It's just her, my younger brother, and I...idk.
I think the NHSC lets you pick where you go. It has to be an "medically underserved" population, but a lot of times that can just mean in a free-clinic in a city, or somewhere that's a short commute away. Not sure where you're from in Hawaii, but a quick search of possible locations shows that you could stay in that state.
http://nhscjobs.hrsa.gov/external/search/index.seam
 

darknightzzz

Membership Revoked
Removed
Account on Hold
Aug 4, 2014
1,297
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Orange, CA
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Pre-Dental
I did look into it. I actually did jrotc in high school if that means anything and I did enjoy it...But idk if I would be able to deal with being relocated to random places without my control because of my moms condition and all. I would want to preferably be able to remain near my mother because she doesn't really have anyone else to take care of her if things don't get better for her. It's just her, my younger brother, and I...idk.
how old is your younger brother? may be after 4 years, he will grow up and take care of your mom for you?

well HPSP is not free because it is not actually a scholarship, the military owns you for 4 year but you have no debt or you can have debt and not be owned by the military (which your thread's primary question asks). You should really get started on HPSP and get everything in, and then spend the time to think. You can always back out at any moment but if you are late applying, you will not have the power of a choice with you.

however, the military provides a lot of means for your dependent to go with you, basically your mom can move with you around the US and live with you, unless you are deployed to a foreign country, which is only around 7 months. I am applying now so let me know if you have any question.

I know disadvantaged socio economic background is tough. I am in your shoe too.
 

Typical Average Student

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2014
1,532
1,777
Houston, TX
Status
Dental Student
I'm in the same circumstances as you, my family is extremely poor (I'm even borrowing money from friends and family for flights to interviews). I was considering the military scholarships but my stats aren't super competitive (3.68 gpa 21 dat) so I don't like to put all my chips on getting the scholarship. I'm just going to take EVERYTHING on a loan for the next 4 years including rent and tuition, I'll be applying for financial aid but even so, the thought of having to take out such a loan is daunting. I just tell myself that it'll be okay when I graduate.
 
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yihaej12

5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2014
203
245
Honolulu, Hawaii
Status
Dental Student
I think the NHSC lets you pick where you go. It has to be an "medically underserved" population, but a lot of times that can just mean in a free-clinic in a city, or somewhere that's a short commute away. Not sure where you're from in Hawaii, but a quick search of possible locations shows that you could stay in that state.
http://nhscjobs.hrsa.gov/external/search/index.seam
Thank you everyone for your responses...I will take a look into each of your suggestions.
I am currently in the process of applying for WICHE status so...we'll see how that goes. I know its pretty competitive.

Also for NHSC, when am I supposed to apply? If anyone knows..


And lastly, I still have to consider the worst case scenario: that I don't get wiche or any sort of extra funding and am forced to take out a loan for everything...as the title of this post suggests.

Would a debt that high (~400k) be manageable as a general dentist? I am willing to live frugally for the first few years out and I am not expecting some luxurious lifestyle...anyone have any comments?...With the rise in tuition/living expense I feel like 400k debt is becoming more and more common?..
 

yihaej12

5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2014
203
245
Honolulu, Hawaii
Status
Dental Student
I'm in the same circumstances as you, my family is extremely poor (I'm even borrowing money from friends and family for flights to interviews). I was considering the military scholarships but my stats aren't super competitive (3.68 gpa 21 dat) so I don't like to put all my chips on getting the scholarship. I'm just going to take EVERYTHING on a loan for the next 4 years including rent and tuition, I'll be applying for financial aid but even so, the thought of having to take out such a loan is daunting. I just tell myself that it'll be okay when I graduate.
Im in the exact same boat as you...its extremely daunting. My family is extremely poor as well...sigh. All I can keep telling myself is that it will be okay in the end...
 
Nov 22, 2014
1,574
805
Status
Non-Student
Thank you everyone for your responses...I will take a look into each of your suggestions.
I am currently in the process of applying for WICHE status so...we'll see how that goes. I know its pretty competitive.

Also for NHSC, when am I supposed to apply? If anyone knows..


And lastly, I still have to consider the worst case scenario: that I don't get wiche or any sort of extra funding and am forced to take out a loan for everything...as the title of this post suggests.

Would a debt that high (~400k) be manageable as a general dentist? I am willing to live frugally for the first few years out and I am not expecting some luxurious lifestyle...anyone have any comments?...With the rise in tuition/living expense I feel like 400k debt is becoming more and more common?..
While not ideal, yes, that debt is manageable. There was a post here by a recent grad and how he was paying off his debt. He is working for a corporate dental clinic, putting in a lot of hours, but also because of how they are paid, is pulling in about $200,000/year. He is planning on doing that until his debt is paid off but is also putting money aside to buy a practice--and he is actively looking. He also said that because of the practice model, he is getting good experience and really improving his skills. I think what happens to a lot of new grads is that they want the high life right away because, hey, they earned it..well, not really. Live frugally, put in a lot of hours early on before you have a family or when your family is young, get your debt paid down (although financially, depending on your interest rates, it might not make sense to pay it down early--find a good financial planner from day one!!), then, as your family grows, kids start having programs at school you want to attend, sports games, whatever, your practice will be established enough that you can work a more flexible schedule. Even with $400,000 of debt, if you are smart about it, you should be able to get that paid off in well under 10 years, and if you really work at it, paid off in 5 years or less.
 
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hellofuturedentists

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2015
2,215
3,542
Status
Dental Student
Thank you everyone for your responses...I will take a look into each of your suggestions.
I am currently in the process of applying for WICHE status so...we'll see how that goes. I know its pretty competitive.

Also for NHSC, when am I supposed to apply? If anyone knows..


And lastly, I still have to consider the worst case scenario: that I don't get wiche or any sort of extra funding and am forced to take out a loan for everything...as the title of this post suggests.

Would a debt that high (~400k) be manageable as a general dentist? I am willing to live frugally for the first few years out and I am not expecting some luxurious lifestyle...anyone have any comments?...With the rise in tuition/living expense I feel like 400k debt is becoming more and more common?..
I think so. Almost everyone will have that debt after graduating. As long as you don't go into even more debt by trying to open your own fancy new practice, you can probably get it paid off in a reasonable amount of time.
 
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