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Loan Repayment Programs for Dentists and Dental Hygienists

General and pediatric dentists and 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) and Ohio Dental Hygienist Loan Repayment Program (ODHLRP)

In July 2003, the Ohio General Assembly enacted a law creating the ODLRP (Sections 3702.85-3702.95 of the Ohio Revised Code).  For the ODLRP rules, click here. Additionally, in December 2014 the Ohio General Assembly enacted a new law that created a loan repayment program for dental hygienists (Section 3702.96-3702.967 of the Ohio Revised Code). The intent of the legislation is to encourage dentists and dental hygienists to practice in underserved areas of Ohio by providing loan repayment for dental practitioners who agree to provide care in those areas (as defined in the program rules.)  Eligible candidates include:

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

To qualify for loan repayment, clinicians must provide dental services in dental practice sites located in underserved areas, practicing either full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time (20-39 hours per week).  Limited teaching activities may be permitted.  Services must be provided for Medicaid-eligible persons and others without regard to a patient's inability to pay. Dental health professionals 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 Programs, 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 will be accepted in early 2016.

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.

For more information about any of the loan repayment programs, please contact the Oral Health Section at (614) 466-4180 or via email at

Last Updated:  4/28/2015


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