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Loan Repayment Programs for Dentists/Dental Hygienists

General and pediatric dentists (and in some cases, dental hygienists) working in underserved areas are eligible to apply for repayment of school loans related to their professional training.  There are several sources of funds available for loan repayment.  The key components of the programs are outlined in the Comparison of Loan Repayment Programs table.

Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program (ODLRP)

In July 2003, the Ohio General Assembly enacted a law creating the ODLRP (Sections 3702.850-3702.95 of the Ohio Revised Code).  For the program rules, click here. The intent of this legislation is to encourage new dentists to practice in underserved areas of Ohio by providing loan repayment for dentists who agree to provide care in those areas (as defined in the program rules.)  Eligible candidates include:

  • Dental students enrolled in the final year of dental school;
  • Dental residents in the final year of pediatric or general practice residency or in advanced education in general dentistry programs; and 
  • General and pediatric dentists.

To qualify for loan repayment, dentists must provide services in underserved areas for a minimum of 40 hours per week.  Also, services must be provided for Medicaid-eligible persons and others without regard to a patient's inability to pay.  Dentists are paid a salary in addition to the loan repayment they receive.

Applicants who currently have an obligation for service with the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholar or Loan Repayment Program, the ODLRP, or other entity are not eligible to participate unless that service obligation will be completely satisfied prior to signing the ODLRP contract.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) can assist interested individuals to identify practice sites that qualify for the loan repayment program.  For more information about the program, see the ODLRP Fact Sheet.  Applications are not currently being accepted.

National Health Service Corp Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP)

The purpose of the NHSC LRP is to ensure an adequate supply of health professionals to provide primary health services to populations located in selected Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).  The NHSC LRP recruits fully trained dentists and dental hygienists who agree to provide care in qualifying practices which accept Medicaid and use a sliding fee scale for those with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  The NHSC seeks dentists and dental hygienists who demonstrate interest in serving the nation's dentally underserved populations and remaining in HPSAs beyond their service commitment.

Eligible dental professionals may receive up to $50,000 for an initial full-time, two-year commitment; a part-time option is also available.  Additional support for extended service may also be available for clinicians eligible to apply upon completion of the service commitment.  The NHSC is not currently accepting applications for loan repayment.  Dental clinicians should visit the NHSC Web site for more information about the program and to sign up to be notified when the 2015 application cycle is open.

For more information about any of the loan repayment programs, please contact the Bureau of Community Health Services and Patient-Centered Primary Care at BCHS@odh.ohio.gov.

Last Updated: 10/20/14

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