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Best dental school loans

Top lenders to fund your DDS degree.

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With the average cost of dental school topping $151,00 for in-state tuition and $268,000 for out-of-state tuition, you’ll likely need help paying for your DDS degree. On top of federal loans, several private lenders offer student loans with high amounts and flexible repayment options specifically designed for dental students.

How we picked these dental school loans

When choosing the best private student loans for dental school, we searched for reputable lenders that offer low rates, large amounts and deferment options both during school and throughout your residency.

4 best private student loans for dental school

Whether your priorities are low rates or flexible repayment options, here are four top contenders when it comes to dental school loans.

Discover Health Professions Loan: Best for students with high GPAs

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • Fixed APRs: 4.99% to 10.49% with discounts
  • Variable APRs: 3.74% to 9.62% with discounts
  • Terms: 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Graduate student in a healthcare-focused program, enrolled at least half time
    • Making satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school
    • US citizen, permanent resident or international student with creditworthy cosigner
    • Aged 16+
    • Passes a credit check or have creditworthy cosigner

Although you may think of credit cards when you hear Discover, it’s one of the top private student loan providers. Their application process has zero fees and even offers a one-time cash reward for students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Sallie Mae Dental School Loan: Best for flexible repayment options

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • Fixed APRs: 5.5% to 9.99% with autopay discount
  • Variable APRs: 4.12% to 9.49% with autopay discount
  • Terms: 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Graduate student enrolled in a DDS or DMD program
    • Attending a participating, degree-granting school located in the US
    • US citizen, permanent resident or international student with a cosigner who is
    • Meets credit and other eligibility criteria

Sallie Mae offers private student loans specifically tailored to dental students. The 12-month grace period and 48-month deferment during residency make them a great option for students concerned about having to make repayments immediately after graduating.

Wells Fargo MedCAP Medical School Loans: Best for covering your full program

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance — with a $250,000 lifetime maximum
  • Fixed APRs: 5.29% to 10.82% with discounts
  • Variable APRs: 4.36% to 9.97% with discounts
  • Terms: 15 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled as a graduate student in an approved medical school pursuing dentistry
    • Making satisfactory academic progress in an eligible program
    • Established, positive credit history
    • US citizen, national or permanent resident, or international student with a cosigner who is

You may think of Wells Fargo for your banking needs, but they also offer a variety of private student loans. Their goal is to help borrowers cover the growing cost of graduate programs. With high lifetime limits, the funds can assist you in covering the full cost of your program.

Commonbond DDS Loans: Best for low maximum rates

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • Fixed APRs: 5.33% to 6.98% with autopay discount
  • Variable APRs: 5.17% to 6.81% with autopay discount
  • Terms: 10,15 or 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled at least half time at a school in its network
    • US citizen or permanent resident
    • Meets credit and other eligibility criteria — or have a cosigner who does

A private student loan provider with a strong social mission, Commonbond offers low maximum APRs and deferred repayments for the entire length of your residency program. You can also get up to 12 months of forbearance if you need to pause repayments due to a financial rough patch.

Compare other private student loans for dental school

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
700
$500,000
3.31% to 9.74%
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
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Federal loans for dental school

Annual limit Lifetime limit Interest rate Fees Terms
Direct Unsubsidized Loans $20,500 $138,500 4.3% 1.059%
  • Deferred repayments while you’re in school and six months after you graduate
  • Standard repayment term of 10 years, with options for income-based and extended repayment plans up to 25 years
Graduate Direct PLUS Loans Up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance None 7.08% 4.236%
  • Deferred repayments while you’re in school and six months after you graduate
  • Standard repayment term of 10 years, with options for income-based and extended repayment plans up to 25 years

Many students don’t realize that federal loans can be used past undergraduate degrees, even funding doctoral degrees. Because these come with relatively low fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options, you might want to consider these before turning to private lenders.

You can apply by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you haven’t met your lifetime limit of unsubsidized loans, you might want to exhaust this option first since they come with lower rates. You can then turn to Graduate Direct PLUS Loans. Just keep in mind that these require good credit or a creditworthy cosigner.

You can read our guide to federal student loans for graduate school to learn more about how they work.

Alternative ways to pay for dental school

Even the best loans still have to be repaid, so don’t forget to look into alternative ways to pay for dental school.

  • Scholarships. Since scholarships don’t have to be repaid, they’re an ideal form of funding. You can find options you might qualify for by reaching out to your school’s financial aid office or national dentistry organizations.
  • Grants. Along with federal and state options, your dental school might offer grants to qualifying students who demonstrate financial need.
  • Crowdsourcing. Have family and friends who want to support your dream of becoming a dentist? Setting up a crowdfunding page on a site like GoFundMe can give them an easy way to contribute.

Bottom line

Funding a dental degree isn’t easy, but you have options. Federal loans are a great place to start before turning to private lenders. You can check out our guide to graduate student loans to learn more about how borrowing for grad school works.

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