The Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment for dentists who practice in a designated shortage area, treat Medicaid patients, and provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. The goal of the program is to attract dentists to areas with a low volume of providers to improve access to dental care in those areas while at the same time assisting graduates in paying off their student loan debt.
Since 2005, 165,214 patients have been served by ODLRP dentists while under contract through 264,718 different patient visits. Approximately 77% of those patient visits (200,170) were provided to the underserved population meaning they were paid by Medicaid, Medicare, a sliding fee scale, written off as no charge, or through another public assistance program. 29 dentists have completed service obligations through the ODLRP, and about two-thirds of them continue to work in the same or similar underserved areas of Ohio. To learn more about how the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program helps improve access to dental care in Ohio, click here.
The ODLRP, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Health, is funded by a fee on dental licenses. The ODA developed the legislation to create this program, which began in 2003, and also successfully advocated increasing the fee on dental licenses to double the capacity of the program.
2024 Ohio Dentist and Dental Hygienist Loan Repayment Program application cycle is now closed!
How the ODLRP works
In exchange for loan repayment assistance, dentists commit to practicing for a minimum of two years at an eligible site in a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Dental Health Resource Shortage Area, accept Medicaid, and see patients regardless of ability to pay.
For the first two-year contract, selected full-time applicants practicing a minimum of 40 hours per week may receive up to $25,000 annually for repayment of outstanding dental or dental hygiene school debt. Those who remain at their practice sites and maintain eligibility may receive up to $35,000 annually for a third and fourth year of service. Part-time participants practicing between 20 and 39 hours per week may receive up to half the amount of full-time participants.
- Currently practicing general and pediatric dentists with educational loans.
- Dental residents in the final year of pediatric or general practice residency or in advanced education in general dentistry programs.
- Dental students enrolled in the final year of dental school.
- If applicants have existing obligations to a government or other entity, the obligations must be met prior to beginning a loan repayment contract.
- Practice sites must be located in a Dental HPSA or Dental Health Resource Shortage Area, accept Medicaid and accommodate all patients regardless of their ability to pay.