ADA Asks Department of Education for Student Loan Reforms

Dentistry Today


The ADA has written a letter to US Department of Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona asking him to prioritize specific policies in administering federal student loan programs authorized under the Higher Education Act to ease the burdens of education debt, including:

  • Protecting access to federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (Direct Loans) and Grad PLUS loans for graduate and professional degree students
  • Reinstating eligibility for graduate and professional degree students to take advantage of federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Removing annual and cumulative borrowing limits on federal student loans
  • Lowering the interest rates and fees on federal student loans
  • Capping total amount of interest that can accrue on federal student loans
  • Halting the accrual of federal student loan interest while a dentist is completing a medical/dental internship or residency
  • Extending the period of federal student loan deferment until after a new dentist has completed his or her medical/dental internship or residency
  • Permitting federal graduate student loans to be refinanced more than once
  • Simplifying and adding more transparency to the federal graduate student loan application process
  • Encouraging institutions of higher education and lenders to offer training to help students make informed decisions about how to finance their graduate education
  • Encouraging collaborative approaches to handling borrows who fail or who are at risk of failing to fully repay their federal student loan or loans in the required time period
  • Enabling those with private loans to take advantage of the same benefits and protections offered to federal student loan borrowers

“We also urge you to simplify the application process, and clarify the eligibility and qualification criteria, for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” said ADA president Daniel J. Klemmedson, DDS, MD, and executive director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, DMD, MPH, who signed the letter.

“This program forgives any remaining federal educational debt after 10 years of qualifying public service. It has the potential to alleviate the oral health needs of the vulnerable and underserved by encouraging dentists to practice where they live,” Klemmedson and O’Loughlin said.

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