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Pursue a career in dental hygiene—tuition free

An interest-free, forgivable loan which pays up to 100% of tuition.

workforce development iconA program to increase the number of dental hygienists in Vermont

More dental hygienists are needed to fill available positions across Vermont. Dental hygiene can provide a rewarding opportunity to help people in a variety of settings, with pathways for advancement, solid earning potential, and educational growth. VSAC and the Vermont Department of Health have teamed up to offer a program that covers up to full tuition to qualified recipients pursuing a dental hygiene career in Vermont.

Funded by the Vermont Legislature, the Vermont Dental Hygienist Forgivable Loan Program is open to students enrolled at an accredited school approved for federal Title IV funding anywhere in the U.S., with preference given to Vermont institutions.

Funding is awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been depleted. 

Recipients are awarded in the form of an interest-free loan which is forgiven when the recipient signs a promissory note and has completed the following work obligations:

  • Agree to work full-time as a dental hygienist in Vermont for a minimum of one year following licensure for each year of assistance received


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

  •  Vermont or non-Vermont residents
  • Enrolled in a dental hygienist program
  • Enrolled at least half-time
  • Maintain good standing at their school
  • Attending an accredited school approved for federal Title IV funding (Pell grants, federal Direct loans). 
  • Agree to work full-time as a dental hygienist in Vermont for a minimum of one year following licensure, for each year of forgivable loan awarded

You must also complete a promissory note agreeing to loan repayment if the employment service commitment is not met.


HOW MUCH IS THE AWARD?

Recipients are eligible for up to $16,752 at a Vermont private or out-of-state institution. 

This award can be used to pay for tuition, fees, room, board and the cost of books and supplies.


HOW DO I APPLY?

  1. Complete the Unified Scholarship Application online through your MyVSAC account, click on Work with VSAC-Assisted Scholarships, look for “Submit Application” and “Unified Scholarship Application (USA)” and follow the instructions.
  2. Complete the FAFSA for the academic year you’re attending or planning to attend a qualifying program.
  3. Submit essay #1 (general essay) and official transcript. For more information on these required documents, review the Scholarships for Vermonters booklet.
  4. If selected as a recipient by the selection committee, recipients sign a promissory note when they accept funding that commits them to the following work arrangements. The loan will be forgiven when these work obligations are met:
    • Successfully complete the dental hygiene program
    • Pass the dental hygiene exam
    • Receive your Vermont dental hygiene license
    • Work for one year as a dental hygienist for each year they receive funding
    • Work full-time in Vermont as a dental hygienist, employed directly by a Vermont health care provider, for a minimum of one year following licensure for each year of funding received

 

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY?

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been awarded.


WHAT IS AN INTEREST-FREE FORGIVABLE LOAN?

The State of Vermont offers several forgivable loan programs to encourage students to enter the Vermont workforce in specific high-demand fields. These unique loans:

  • Are interest-free
  • Require awarded students to sign a promissory note committing to specific work obligations when they accept the funding
  • Do not require payment while the student is enrolled in the applicable degree or training program
  • Are “forgiven” — which means that the loan does not have to be paid back — when the student meets the work obligations outlined in the promissory note they signed
  • Must be repaid if the student doesn't complete the program, doesn't receive their license, or doesn't work in the field in Vermont following licensure

For example: Mary received $16,000 in a dental hygienist forgivable loan program to study dental hygiene at Vermont Tech for her senior year. Upon completion of the program, Mary took her dental hygiene exams and received her license and began working as a dental hygienist in Vermont. One year later her employment was verified, and the loan was forgiven!


IS THERE OTHER FUNDING AVAILABLE?

Vermont residents may also qualify for the Vermont Grant.


QUESTIONS:

  • about your application or status? Contact VSAC or call 888-253-4819.
  • about available programs at participating schools? Contact your school directly.