Would Be Dentists Deterred By Debt

Would Be Dentists Deterred By Debt

The soaring cost of university education is widely lamented by students and parents alike, however, when it comes to dentistry, there’s evidence that the cost is proving to be a deterrent according to research by the British Dental Journal (BDJ) and reported in The Times on Friday 24th February.

The research reveals that ‘debt among dental students has more than doubled in the past ten years to £50,000 and is deterring poorer school-leavers from choosing the profession.

Research by the BDJ shows that ‘the total debt of final year dental students has increased from £24,734 in 2013 to almost £53,000 last year.’

Government figures ( https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01079/ ) state that ‘The forecast average debt among the cohort of borrowers who started their course in 2021/22 is £45,800 when they complete their course.

Forecast debt is expected to be lower for those starting in the reformed system from 2023/24 at £43,400. The Government expected that around 20% of full-time undergraduates starting in 2021/22 would repay them in full. They forecast that after the 2022 reforms this would increase to 55% among new students from 2023/24.’

Not surprisingly given the length of the course, dentistry is costing those who pursue it, more than the government’s ‘average’ figures.  What’s surprising, given the length of the course, is that the debts are ‘only’ c. £53000:  perhaps this is on account of the fact that most, but by no means all, dental students come from families able to support them.

The Times report said that ‘more than 60 per cent of respondents had financial difficulties during their studies and 28 per cent nearly did not come to university because they were concerned about the debts they would accumulate.’

Paul Blaylock, chair of the British Dental Association’s Student Committee, said: “As millions of patients struggle to access care, debt is leaving many students thinking twice about their future in the dental profession.

“Successive governments have tightened the screws. Ministers cannot rely on the bank of mum and dad to ensure this country has the health professionals it needs.

“We need the brightest and the best on the front line, and eye-watering levels of debt should not be a barrier. The next generation of dentists and patients deserve better” said Blaycock.


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