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Dental groups support Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act

Legislation would enable educators to exclude loan forgiveness from federal income taxes

August 04, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Organized Dentistry Coalition is supporting legislation that would allow full-time educators participating in the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program to exclude from their federal income taxes the amount of the loan forgiveness received from this program.

In July 30 letters to the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, the groups, led by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, asked lawmakers to consider S 449/HR 1285, Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act, in any tax legislation considered by Congress in 2021.

“The Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program was created to help Commission on Dental Accreditation-accredited academic dental institutions recruit and retain qualified faculty in dental schools and approved residency and advanced education programs in general, pediatric or public health dentistry,” the groups wrote. “A critical factor in recruiting and retaining dental school faculty is the staggering level of student loan debt and income disparity with private practice.”

The organizations said they were “pleased” Congress understands the importance of the program and added that because of prior congressional support, new program awards were made by HRSA in fiscal years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021. They also said programs may support loan repayment contracts over five years to recruit and retain faculty and explained full-time faculty members are eligible for repayment of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30% of their student loan balance (principal and interest) for each year of service.

“The Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program is making a real impact in recruiting and retaining dental faculty,” the letter concluded. “By alleviating the tax burden of the loan repayment benefits, S 449 HR/1285 will make the program even more effective.”

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.