This exciting and newly funded program was created by the Virginia legislature to ensure that dental health services are available in underserved areas. In exchange for a loan repayment award, participating dentists will practice in a dentally underserved area in Virginia and are required to accept government-sponsored insurance programs (e.g., Medicaid, FAMIS).
To be eligible, an applicant must:
The loan repayment award is not fixed, and will vary depending on the year in which the loan was acquired. The loan repayment award will be equivalent to one year of in-state tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry for the year that the loan was acquired. Preference for loan repayment awards will be given to graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry and those with established financial need. However, any dentist with a valid license to practice dentistry may apply, providing the other eligibility criteria are met. Individuals may receive a maximum of three awards and must reapply each year for an award. All awards will be based on availability of funding.
For each year of loan repayment, dentists are obligated to provide one year of full-time service in an underserved area in Virginia as determined by the Virginia Department of Health or in a designated state facility. Additionally, the dentist shall participate in all government-sponsored insurance programs designed to ensure access to dental services by recipients of public assistance.
If the recipient defaults by failing or refusing to practice dentistry in an approved dentally underserved area or in a designated state facility, he must repay all monetary loan repayment awards, plus penalty and interest.
Payments to participants under this program are generally taxable. An exception may apply for those practicing in state run clinics in federally-designated dental shortage areas or community health centers in federally-designated dental shortage areas. You should consult with a qualified tax advisor on this issue.
Applicants will be required to undergo a background check by the Virginia State police at their own expense (about $15.00). For an application and further information, please contact:
Dr. Elizabeth Barrett
Oral Health Promotion Unit Manager
Division of Dental Health
Virginia Department of Health
927 Madison Building, 9th Floor
109 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 864-7824
Fax: (804) 864-7783