The main reason why I'm asking this question is seeing the trend of more student loans going into default, not just talking about dental school, but regular undergrad as well: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/default-rates-rise-federal-student-loans. I don't live in a state that has a state school, so when it comes to getting into a dental school, I'm probably looking at owing somewhere between 200-300k in loans. From a lot of what I've read, newly graduated associates can make on average about 100k net, so after taxes that is somewhere between 60-80k depending on additional state taxes. So do you know of any new graduates or even dentists with their own practices that have trouble paying back their loans, especially since there are other bills and expenses to take into account in everyday adult life? This segues into my next related question. If I would have a lot of trouble paying back my loans in this down economy, I've been looking into perhaps applying for the HPSP military scholarship, since it just seems that I would be ahead financially after the 4 years of payback. Do you guys have any input on whether or not this would be a good idea? Granted, I don't know much about loans and how to calculate how much I would actually owe every month after interest is calculated and whatnot, but the bare bones of what my train of thought is as follows, not considering other expenses and bills as well: Civilian side: Student loans: -200-300k Associate pay for 4 years: 400k Net: 100k after 4 years HPSP military route: Student loans: 0 Military pay for 4 years: ~240k Net: 240k after 4 years I'm not that good at crunching the numbers, but if anyone has already done this, can someone please post the link to the information? I know there's a lot more to sacrifice when going the military route, but I am simply just looking at the numbers. And if it's not that feasible to pay back my student loans in a timely or reasonable manner when combined with other things, such as starting up my own practice or starting a family, then the military HPSP might be the way I should go. Thank you in advance for any advice or suggestions.