Dental Assistant Scholarships in 2024

With the cost of tuition skyrocketing exponentially every year, it’s no wonder students bound for dental assisting programs are seeking scholarships. Data from the U.S. Federal Reserve paints an economic picture by numbers: 30 percent of students who completed some education beyond high school acquired some debt to finance their education costs.

The increasing number of younger adults in debt has wider economic repercussions beyond personal finance. Considering that data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2023) reveals that most dental assistants make an annual median pay of $44,820 per year and that young adults seeking employment in growing fields such as dental assisting are facing large amounts of debt in the early stages of their adult lives.

A closer look at the data revealed in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances illustrates a more contextualized story of how interest rates and public service loan forgiveness can increase the total amount students owe. The term for most federal student loans is ten years, students needing more time to pay off student loan debt can end up paying thousands of dollars in additional interest charges with income-driven repayment plans, effectively extending the terms of the loan in exchange for a higher interest rate.

Furthermore, if a student qualifies for loan forgiveness, they are often taxed on the forgiven loan amount, further increasing the overall cost of the loan. Students who opt for income-driven repayment plans to extend the terms of their loans must apply for these programs annually and are at risk for monthly payments dramatically increasing if they fail to recertify their income and family size each year.

Given that higher education costs are so high, it’s easy to understand why so many students are looking for scholarships to help offset their educational costs. To aid students in their quest to reduce or eliminate the financial burden of education expenses, below is a list of fifteen scholarships supporting students pursuing dental assisting degrees.

Dental Assistant Scholarships: Common Application Requirements

Here’s a list of common application requirements for dental assistant scholarships:

  • Official high school or GED transcripts
  • Completed scholarship application
  • Letter of professional intent
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Enrollment in a dental assistant program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
  • Proof of admission to a dental assisting educational program
  • Current membership in professional organizations
  • Passport-size photographs

Some of the information regarding award amounts and application deadlines is private but can be viewed by contacting the donor directly or creating a login account through the online scholarship application portal.

Finally, some of the scholarship awards listed below are available for students to apply for directly. Others require educational institutions, professors, department heads, or instructors to initiate the nomination, so please check the application requirements carefully.

Featured Scholarships in Dental Assisting

1. Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: February 2, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be enrolled in a dental assistant program over 18 and are U.S. citizens or legal residents with a high school diploma or GED. The program must be from the following states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, KS, LA, MA, MN, MO, NV, NM, OH, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WA.
  • About the Donor: The Pacific Dental Services Foundation (whose mission is to improve overall health by improving oral health) offers the Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship providing students with need-based mentorship, on-the-job training, and financial aid. The scholarship is named after Dr. Carolyn Ghazal and her heart for service. It aims to mold the next generation of passionate, servant-hearted, dental assistant leaders.

2. ALCOA Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,250
  • Deadline: March 1, 2024, for the fall semester and November 1, 2024, for the Spring semester
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be incoming high school seniors from one of the following IA-Quad Cities high schools: Pleasant Valley, Bettendorf, Davenport North, Davenport West, Davenport Central, North Scott, Kimberly Center/Mid-City, and Assumption. They must be planning to attend Scott Community College, have a cumulative 3.0 GPA, and be enrolled in an AAS program in fields such as dental hygiene, emergency medical services, engineering technology, health information technology, and physical therapist assistant, among others.
  • About the Donor: This scholarship was established by ALCOA in 2013 to support Iowa-Quad Cities high school students planning to attend Scott Community College. Founded in 1952, the Alcoa Foundation started as a charitable organization for supporting communities in which the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) operated. The foundation then moved beyond its initial focus on promoting scientific research and education to fund various value-creation initiatives, such as protecting local ecosystems and providing training opportunities. Today, this foundation serves approximately 29 communities across 10 countries.

3. Richard and Roberta Aros Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March 2, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Lorain County students pursuing a career in the dental profession. All applicants must complete the FAFSA and submit the page showing their Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • About the Donor: Established in 2005, the Community Foundation of Lorain County administers scholarship funds established by individuals and organizations. A large variety of scholarships are available through this foundation, and these scholarships are based on a field of study, merit, financial need, and community involvement. The Richard and Roberta Aros Scholarship supports a Lorain County student pursuing a career in the dental profession.

4. Iowa Dental Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: D3 dental students ($2,500 to $5,000); dental hygiene students ($500 to $750); dental assistant students ($500 to $750); dental lab technician students ($500 to $750)
  • Deadline: March 31, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Individuals seeking education or further education in the fields of dental hygiene, dentistry, dental lab technician, or dental assisting in an Iowa-accredited program.
  • About the Donor: The Iowa Dental Foundation was formed in 1994 as a non-profit public foundation by members of the Iowa Dental Association to benefit the general public. It provides a means for dentists and others to experience the collective power of giving, with an opportunity to invest in the future of dentistry as well as for the benefit of the communities it serves. It awards scholarships based on financial need and character and without regard to creed, race, sex, color, physical handicap, or national origin.

5. American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) Merit Scholar Award

  • Amount: One-year paid ADAA membership
  • Deadline: April 14, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Students who have demonstrated advanced achievement in academic and clinical performance. To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be student members currently enrolled in a program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
  • About the Donor: Founded in 1924, the American Dental Assistants Association is the largest and oldest organization representing professional dental assistants. Its mission is to advance the careers in this profession and advocate for them in matters of professional activities, education, legislation, and credentialing. ADAA offers several other scholarships, the Merit Scholar Award is just one of them.

6. ADAA Student Achievement Award

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: April 14, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be student members who are currently enrolled in dental assisting programs.
  • About the Donor: Being one of the largest organizations representing dental assistants, the American Dental Assistants Association provides continuing education to dental assistants through professional journals, local, state, and national meetings, and home study courses. It encourages registration, certification, and education for dental assistants while also providing a network of personal services for its members. This student achievement award is presented to students who have demonstrated leadership ability through activities related to dentistry. The recipient will be announced in ADAA publications.

7. Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: $250 to $1,000
  • Deadline: April 2024 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: This scholarship is open to all DANB-certified workers, dental assistants, and other oral healthcare professionals. To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must submit a completed application, along with a letter of intent and two letters of recommendation.
  • About the Donor: The DALE Foundation, an ADA CERP Recognized Provider and an AGD PACE Program Provider, was created to provide online educational tools and resources to help advance the dental team. The Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship is made possible by the DALE Foundation’s generous donors. This scholarship was established in memory of Liz Koch, who joined DANB in 2001. Liz played an instrumental role in working with staff and members of the board to establish the DALE Foundation and was the chief operating officer of DANB and the DALE Foundation until her untimely passing in 2011. This scholarship honors her dedication to elevating and encouraging dental assistants at all stages of their careers.

8. Steven Cutter Award for Outstanding Undergraduate

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Undergraduate students in a health-related field of study who reside in one of the following towns: Portsmouth, Rye, New Castle, Greenland, Newington, North Hampton, New Hampshire; or, Kittery, Elliot, and York, Maine. Applicants must be pursuing a health-related field from an accredited institution of learning.
  • About the Donor: The Steven Scott Cutter scholarship was started in 1999 by the Board of Trustees in memory of Steven, son of Nancy L. Cutter, retired Foundation for Seacoast Health Administration Executive. Steven graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 1989 and the University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy in 1994. The Foundation for Seacoast Health aims to invest its resources to improve the health and well-being of Seacoast residents.

9. NDAF Dental Assistant Scholarship

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: May 25, 2024
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants for this scholarship must be current dental assistant students in good academic standing providing evidence of community service. They must be United States citizens or permanent residents demonstrating financial need. Applicants must also have a letter of support from an NDAA or NDA member.
  • About the Donor: The National Dental Association Foundation offers several dental scholarships with awards ranging from $500 up to $20,000. The Foundation supports scholarship opportunities for the entire dental team, including hygienists, assistants, dental students, and post-doctoral students.

10. ADAA/DANB Scholarship

  • Amount: $250 to $1,000
  • Deadline: October 2024 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Aspiring and current dental assistants are eligible to apply. Dues-paying ADAA student members or professional members in good standing who demonstrate a strong commitment to career growth and lifelong learning are the focus of this scholarship. The winners will be able to use the scholarship funds for professional activities, such as DANB exams or certification, continuing dental education, registration for a dental conference, or expenses associated with an ADAA fellowship or mastership, among other possible activities.
  • About the Donor: Serving over 20,000 dental team members, the ADAA provides members with several ways to enhance their dental career. Affiliated with the ADAA, the Professional Dental Assistants Education Foundation (PDAEF) offers this ADAA/DANB scholarship. Since 2013, this scholarship has provided dental assistants with the opportunity to achieve their professional development goals. It was established to help current and aspiring dental assistants turn their dental assisting professional development plans into reality. This scholarship is open to ADAA student members and professional members and the scholarship committee will select at least one scholarship recipient each year in each category.
Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani has immense knowledge about medical technology schools, having researched topics such as medical billing and coding, health information management, nursing informatics, and biotechnology degree programs since 2018. She is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).