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Four loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for California dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, students

Programs aim to expand diversity of state’s health care workforce

August 24, 2022 6185

Quick Summary:

Dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and dental and hygiene students in California may be eligible for financial assistance via loan repayment or a scholarship through the Department of Health Care Access and Information. The programs have different annual application cycles and award amounts of $15,000 to $50,000 in exchange for a specified service commitment in an underserved community or a federally designated health professional shortage area.

This article is updated regularly to reflect the current application cycles. November 2023:The California State Loan Repayment Program application period closed through Sept. 15 and will reopen in July 2024. The Advanced Practice Healthcare Scholarship Program and Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program closed Oct. 31 and will reopen in April 2024. The Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program application cycle closed July 31 and will reopen in May 2024.

Dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and dental and hygiene students in California may be eligible for financial assistance via loan repayment or a scholarship through the Department of Health Care Access and Information. 

CDA successfully advocated for state budget funding to expand the diversity of California’s health care workforce, and the millions of dollars in HCAI scholarships, loan repayments and grant programs are one result. Additional funding will go to workforce capacity research, education and training. 

Nader A. Nadershahi, DDS, MBA, EdD, dean of the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, serves on the 18-member council that discusses and makes recommendations to HCAI on topics such as workforce education and training, health career pathways and areas of need for health workforce resources. CDA engaged with policymakers advocating that dentistry’s perspective be included in such funding decisions and was pleased with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Dr. Nadershahi to the council early this year. 

Program descriptions and eligibility

Brief summaries of the four scholarship and loan repayment programs follow. Prospective candidates can first answer several questions using the HCAI’s funding eligibility tool to determine if they are eligible to apply for any of the programs.  

For all programs, eligible providers will submit their application through the HCAI’s online application portal after first registering to use the system. 

Advanced Practice Healthcare Scholarship Program: Applications are open

California dental students are eligible to apply for the Advanced Practice Healthcare Scholarship Program, which aims to increase the number of appropriately trained advanced practice health care professionals providing direct patient care in an underserved area or qualified facility.

Eligible dental students:

  • May receive a $25,000 scholarship in exchange for a 12-month service obligation practicing and providing direct patient care in an underserved community.
  • Be currently enrolled in a dental school program and able to show associated education costs.
  • Application cycle is closed and will reopen in April 2024.

Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program: Applications are open

California dental hygiene students are eligible to apply for the Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program, which aims to increase the number of appropriately trained allied health professionals providing direct patient care in an underserved area or qualified facility.

Eligible dental hygiene students:

  • May receive up to $15,000 in exchange for a 12-month service obligation practicing and providing direct patient care in an underserved community.
  • Be currently enrolled in a dental hygiene program and able to show associated education costs.
  • Application cycle is closed and will reopen in April 2024.

Questions about both scholarship programs can be emailed to HCAI.  

California State Loan Repayment Program: Application cycle closed

CDA published a dedicated article about this educational loan repayment program, which is designed to increase and diversify the state’s health care workforce.

Eligible dentists and registered dental hygienists:

  • May receive up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year, full-time service obligation in a federally designated health professional shortage area.
  • May receive up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year, half-time service obligation in a federally designated health professional shortage area.
  • Application cycle is closed and will reopen in July 2024.

Award amounts up to $10,000 or $20,000 are also available to eligible providers with half-time or full-time first-year service extensions. More details are in the CDA article. Interested applicants may also email HCAI with questions.  

Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program: Application cycle closed

California dental assistants and dental hygienists are eligible to apply for the Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program, which aims to increase the number of appropriately trained allied health care professionals. 

Eligible dental assistants and dental hygienists:

  • May receive up to $16,000 in loan repayments in exchange for a 12-month service obligation.
  • Must meet service obligation by practicing and providing direct patient care at a County Medical Services Program-contracted provider location or a facility in any of the 35 CMSP-designated counties.
  • Application cycle is closed and will reopen in May 2024.

Interested applicants can email HCAI with questions.  

CDA will inform members of any new opportunities and upcoming application deadlines.