Find A Different Model For Dental School

Jason is graduating from college with no debt. He's about to enter dental school and expects to have $150,000 in debt to finish. He doesn't know which loans to take, though. What's Dave's recommendation?

QUESTION: Jason in Texas is about to graduate from college with no debt. However, he’s about to enter dental school and thinks he’ll have to go $150,000 in debt to finish. He doesn’t know which loans to take, though. What’s Dave’s recommendation?

ANSWER: I don’t know because I don’t believe in student loans. I haven’t looked at them enough to know which ones are “good” and which ones are bad.

In your situation, what would I do? I think I’d be looking for scholarships or M.D./Ph.D. programs. Maybe be looking at some of the dental suppliers or even some of the dental practices that are out there and see if you can get some sponsors and some scholarship dollars to alleviate or at least greatly reduce your cost. I don’t like this model for medical students, and here’s why. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are almost-dentists and almost-M.D.s. You know what an almost-M.D. is? Deeply in debt and no freaking income. They didn’t graduate from med school. They didn’t make it from law school. But they got all the debt. See, this plan only works if it works. If it doesn’t work, you’ve got another problem. It’s a big problem. If you get out and you have trouble getting a practice started and those kinds of things, then you could really get yourself in a pinch here.

I’m not up for this model of, oh, it’s medical school, it’s law school, it’s dental school, so automatically, it’s worth it. It should be worth it if you make it through and go into the market. You should be able to make plenty of money, and you should be able to pay it back easily—that is if the President doesn’t take away your ability to earn an income, which he would like to do in the medical field. Medical people are all quaking in their boots with Obamacare. They should be. It’s a pretty volatile market you’re entering into. I think if I were in your shoes, I’d be looking for some other ways to get this same goal accomplished. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to dental school; I’m saying I wouldn’t go with the traditional model and do the traditional things.