Financial Planning and Your Dental Education: Part 1

Dental education is expensive. Very expensive. Depending on which school you choose to attend, your residency status and how you choose to live while in school, you could be looking at more money than you could find in the trunk of Tony Soprano’s Cadillac.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) more than 91% of dental students are going to graduate with debt accrued during their time in school. Nationally the average debt that these students will accumulate is around $141,000.00 That’s a lot of beans.

But here’s a real number: $248,716.52. That’s the debt that my roommate, a 4th year dental student, has racked up during those 4 delightful years. Did he do this by living it up? No. In fact, he lives pretty reasonably, and he’s only paying half the rent! How did he get so much debt? It’s expensive! He pays out of state tuition, so he pays close to $44,000.00 per year to the school. That’s compared to my tuition which is around $24K. Add in a modest apartment for 4 years, groceries, utilities, gasoline, car insurance, clothing, a handful of dinners out on the town and a case of aspirin for headaches and you’re over $200K! Plus he has the added expense this year of interviewing for specialty programs. Let’s see, 8-10 interviews means 8-10 plane tickets, 16-20 nights in a hotel, 20-30 cab rides, another case of aspirin…there’s another few thousand. All this time with no income!

In the coming installments of this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the issues facing dental students and how they can plan for their future.

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