Big Discount for Dentists with Student Loan Debt

By Julissa Treviño Updated on May 14, 2019

If you're a recent dental school graduate, you probably don't need us to tell you that dentists' student loan debt rivals that of doctors and lawyers.

According to American Dental Education Association (ADA), dental school graduates with student loan debt have an average of $287,331 to repay, and more than 30% of indebted graduates' loans amount to more than $300,000.


Thankfully, there's an option that can help make paying off your debt a little easier. Laurel Road, one of the leading student loan refinancing companies, offers a special discount to dental school graduates and members of the ADA, the nation's largest dental association.

What is the program?

Laurel Road is the official student loan refinance lender of the American Dental Association and, as such, offers dental residents, as well as members of the ADA, a special deal on refinancing

Here's what this deal offers:

  • While completing a dental residency, you pay only $100 per month, regardless of how much you owe.
  • You may also qualify for up to a year of forbearance, depending on your circumstances. 
  • ADA members also get a 0.25% interest rate deduction for the life of their loans.

The program is free to apply, and there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. 

Who qualifies?

To be eligible for this discount, you must:

  • Be a dental school graduate
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Meet Laurel Road's lending criteria, and
  • Have a paid residency position. 

Both federal and private student loans from undergraduate studies and dental school are eligible for refinancing. And it's up to you whether you want to refinance all or just some of these loans. 

Note: You must be a member of the ADA to qualify for the 0.25% interest rate deduction.

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How does it work? 

You become eligible for Laurel Road's special program as soon as you are matched to a residency program, and you'll pay only $100 per month for the duration of your residency. Then, a standard repayment term begins once you begin practicing as a dentist, but you have the option to extend payments of $100 for an additional six months. 

Your interest rate will depend on various factors, including your credit and income projections, but dental school graduates are eligible for variable rates as low as 2.55% and fixed rates as low as 3.12%, as well as loan terms between 5 and 20 years

While interest does accrue on your loan during the duration of this program, interest does not capitalize while you're completing your residency program. Capitalization occurs when accrued interest is added to your principal loan, increasing the total amount owed. 

How much can you save?

As an example, here's what this plan would like like. Let's say you have $300,000 in student loans, and your monthly payment on a standard repayment plan is $3,000. You'll still pay only $100 each month while completing your residency. 

If you have excellent credit, you may be able to qualify for a 3.5% interest rate on a 15-year fixed loan term, and as a member of the ADA, your interest rate will actually be 3.25%. That means that your new monthly payment would be $2,108, saving you $892 per month or $10,704 in the first year after you begin making full payments.

While that seems like a lot, many graduates choose to enter in this agreement because it allows flexibility while on a limited budget during their residency program. Often, it saves money, too. Dental school graduates who refinance through Laurel Road save an average of $33,000 over the life of their loans. 

To apply for this offer, head over to

See also: Is Student Loan Refinancing Right for You? Take This 7-Question Quiz to Find Out

Published in: Refinance, Student Loan Debt

About the Author
Julissa Treviño

Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in BBC Future, CityLab, Columbia Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, Teen Vogue and other publications. She enjoys traveling, playing with makeup, biking and trying new food. Follow her @JulissaTrevino. Read more by Julissa Treviño