Borrowing student loans to finance your TUSDM education can feel overwhelming. Although some TUSDM students borrow very little, the majority of students will face the challenge of having to repay sizable student loan debt. Most likely, the years immediately following your graduation may be your most financially challenging as you seek balance between monthly student loan payments and other competing needs and wants. Borrowers who have incurred high student loan debt should plan to maximize their financial effort to pay down their student loan debt as quickly as possible. Despite your best intentions, repaying sizable student loan debt within the confines of a standard, 10-year repayment schedule (which all borrowers are given initially) may not be realistic.
Depending on the types of student loans borrowed and other qualifications, some student loan repayment plans offer longer repayment periods of up to 25 years which helps to lower the expected monthly payments. Some of these plans offer loan forgiveness if an outstanding balance remains at the end of the prescribed repayment period. You can learn more about all of the federal student loan repayment options at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans#repayment-plans.
It should be noted that, although some of the federal loan repayment plans will provide for extremely low monthly payments, there are some drawbacks to these plans. The longer the repayment period, the longer it will take for you to pay off the principal amount of the loan and the more interest you will pay. Although plans such Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) offer loan forgiveness on any remaining balance at the end of the full repayment term, the amount of loan forgiven is considered taxable income based on current federal tax rules. This “taxable event” could lead to a fairly sizable tax bill the borrower will be required to pay the year in which the loan forgiveness occurred. Because both IBR and PAYE repayment plans are gaining popularity because they provide affordable payments for those with considerable student loan debt, borrowers will need to develop a savings plan that will provide them the ability to pay the additional taxes on the loan amount forgiven should they utilize either IBR or PAYE loan repayment plans.
Needless to say, when selecting repayment plans, borrowers need to carefully understand the terms of their repayment plan including what might happen if you change your repayment plan option, when interest may capitalize and what your options are should you no longer qualify for the original repayment plan you’ve selected.
Dental Loan Organizer and Calculator (DLOC)
Borrowers are encouraged to use the Dental Loan Organizer and Calculator (DLOC) to track their student loan debt and estimate their monthly payments. DLOC is available at www.AAMC.org/GoDental and is available through the partnership between the American Association of Medical Colleges and the American Dental Education Association. In order to use DLOC you must be an enrolled dental student and you must create an account) with the AAMC. Students who have borrowed federal student loans can import them from NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System – NSLDS.ed.gov) which is a federal website that tracks a borrower’s federal student loans. Students that have private loans or loans from family can also enter the terms of those loans in DLOC. Once all loans have been entered and the borrower has entered their immediate post-dental school plans, DLOC will calculate monthly payments under each of the 5 possible federal repayment plans, total cost of the loans and estimated loan forgiven.
Loan Forgiveness/Loan Repayment Programs
Aside from the loan forgiveness offered by IBR and PAYE repayment plans, there are a number of loan forgiveness or loan repayment programs offered at both the federal and state levels. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) provides federal loan forgiveness to qualified borrowers who work in the public/non-profit sector which can include many hospitals or community health centers. Qualified borrowers’ loans are forgiven after 10 years of employment in the public/non-profit sector and the amount forgiven IS NOT a taxable event like it is under IBR or PAYE. For more information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program go to http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service.
The National Health Service Corps (https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/) has a loan repayment program and some states have private-, state- or federally-funded loan repayment programs usually in return for service in under-served areas. A comprehensive list of these programs can be found at www.ExploreHEALTHCareers.org (navigate to “Dentistry”, then “Dentist”, then click on “Resources” tab, then select “Funding Opportunities”).
Upon graduation, withdrawal or when the student drops below half time status, education loan borrowers are required complete student loan exit counseling. Although exit counseling is accomplished online, graduating students are required to attend an information session that reviews the student’s rights and responsibilities towards their student loan indebtedness. Students who have withdrawn or drop below half time status are encouraged to meet with a member of the Financial Aid Office staff to review the terms of their student loans and their repayment options. The student loan exit counseling process plays an integral role in understanding student loan repayment and aims at helping the student/borrower develop a repayment strategy.
Prior to completing the online exit counseling borrowers are encouraged to read TUSDM’s advice in preparation for student loan repayment.
Click on the appropriate link below to complete online student loan exit counseling.
- Online Exit Counseling for Federal Stafford/Direct Loan and Grad PLUS/Direct Grad PLUS Loans
- Online Exit Counseling for Tufts Loan, HPSL, LDS or Perkins Loan
For more information pertaining to student loan terms and your rights and responsibilities concerning repayment of your student loan debt, refer to the most recent copy of the Student Loan Repayment Manual:
For lender/loan servicer contact information of most commonly used lenders at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, refer to the Student Loan Directory below: