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Dental degree could leave students with huge debt

Dental students who started their degree in 2013-14 face the prospect of staggering levels of debt, in the region of £60,000, a new study suggests.

The research into study-related debt, carried out by the British Dental Association (BDA), also found students who sat their final-year exams in 2012-13 had an average debt of £24,734 at the end of their studies.

Around half of all these said they had experienced financial difficulties during their degrees.

In addition to £9,000 a-year tuition fees, students finishing their degree in 2018-19 could face a shortfall of at least £38,000 in maintenance funding over their course.

Chair of the BDA’s Student Committee, Dr Paul Blaylock, said: ‘Student debt is a growing concern in dentistry, which is likely to get worse with the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees.

‘Those who struggle to make ends meet also have to put up with inadequate maintenance loans.

‘The BDA believes that maintenance loans could be increased to ease the financial pressures for dental students.

‘It’s important that those who come from less affluent backgrounds are not deterred from taking up dentistry.

‘All of the best, brightest and most caring candidates should be able to join the profession.’ 

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The problem is not the level of debt but the level of after tax income. Debt levels c.f. other countries (especially the US) are good to adequate but with the drop in target incomes and the move towards salaried employment take home pay for new graduates has become the issue.