Dental Assistant Scholarships (2021-2022)

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 paint an economic picture by numbers: 30 percent of students who completed some education beyond high school acquired some debt to finance their education costs.

Unpacking the data even further, it’s clear that the majority of students are dependent on loans; 95 percent of students owe money on student loans and 21 percent of students have used credit card loans to finance education expenses.

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 2021) reveals that most dental assistants make an annual median pay of $41,180 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 end up increasing 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 loan must apply for these programs annually and are at risk for monthly payments dramatically increase 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 that support students pursuing degrees in dental assisting.

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-sized photographs

Some of the information regarding award amount and application deadlines is not publicly advertised but can be viewed by contacting the donor directly or creating a login account through the online scholarship application portal.

As a final note, 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. American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) Merit Scholar Award

  • Amount: One-year paid ADAA membership
  • Deadline: March 15, 2022
  • 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 who are 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.

2. ADAA Student Achievement Award

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March 15, 2022
  • 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.

3. Juliette A. Southard Scholarship

  • Amount: The amount for the scholarship will depend on the number of scholarships awarded
  • Deadline: March 15, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must either be high school graduates, or be 18 years of age, or hold a GED. They should be ADAA members currently enrolled in a dental assisting program furthering a career in dental assisting.
  • About the Donor: Juliette A. Southard was the founder of the American Dental Assistants Association. This scholarship is named after him and was established in 1929 to award dental assistants and dental assisting students interested in furthering their education in the field of dental assisting. Candidates for this scholarship will be considered based on ability, interest, and academic achievement in the career of dental assisting.

4. Dental Trade Alliance Foundation

  • Amount: One $25,000 scholarship, three $10,000 scholarships, and up to ten $5,000 scholarships
  • Deadline: March 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants for this scholarship must be full-time dental schools enrolled in an accredited U.S. dental school, be in good academic standing, and demonstrate financial need and a strong interest in charitable work and community service.
  • About the Donor: The Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation created a restricted fund with the DTA Foundation to honor the late Robert Sullivan and his love for the dental industry. This scholarship is for recognizing and providing multiple scholarships in financial support to dental students demonstrating financial need, a commitment to community service, and academic excellence in dentistry.

5. Dr. L.J. Twyner Memorial

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: March 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be enrolled full-time in the pre-dental hygienist program, dental assisting program, or must have declared a pre-dentistry major to be eligible to apply. They must have a grade point average of 2.75 or higher, demonstrate financial need, be active in the community through athletics, academic clubs, or volunteer projects, and indicate African-American origin on their Scott Community College admissions application.
  • About the Donor: The Scott Community College (SCC) Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that was established in 1985 to help assure educational excellence through charitable giving. The Dr. L.J. Twyner Memorial scholarship was established by Dr. Kathleen Twyner-Coley and her family to honor the memory of her father Dr. L.J. Twyner. This scholarship fund seeks to help support others who wish to pursue a higher education career in dentistry.

6. Chinese American Medical Society Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants for this scholarship must be first, second, or third-year dental or medical students in good standing at an accredited U.S. dental or medical school in the USA. They must be current or pending Chinese American Medical Society student members to apply.
  • About the Donor: Established in 1964, the Chinese American Medical Society (CAMS) is a charitable, non-profit, scientific, and educational organization committed to community service and education. Since 1973, the organization has awarded more than 220 scholarships to outstanding medical and dental students in need of financial assistance.

7. Steven Cutter Award for Outstanding Undergraduate

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: April 2022 (estimated)
  • 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, and North Hampton, New Hampshire; 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.

8. NDAF Dental Assistant Scholarship

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: May 25, 2022
  • 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.

9. Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: May 2022 (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.

10. NDAF Pre Doctoral Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 25, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be second, third, or fourth-year dental 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 be active SNDA members.
  • About the Donor: Incorporated in 1976, The National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) is the non-profit, charitable arm of the National Dental Association (NDA). The NDA is the largest dental organization, representing dental students, dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists of African-American descent nationally and internationally. Since its inception, the foundation has provided more than $4 million in scholarship funds for more than 3,000 students.

11. NDAF Dr. Joseph L. Henry Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: May 25, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants for this scholarship must be freshman dental students showing promise in embodying the work ethic and values of Dr. Henry. They must have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 and be United States citizens or permanent residents. Applicants must also provide evidence of community service, a letter of acceptance from an accredited US dental school, and a recommendation by the Dean or Dean of admissions of the dental school the student will be attending.
  • About the Donor: The National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF), a non-profit, charitable dental organization offers this Dr. Joseph L. Henry Scholarship which is named after Dr. Joseph L. Henry who served as Dean of both the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Howard University College of Dentistry. Since it was founded in 1976, the foundation has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 students.

12. Hispanic Dental Association Foundation

  • Amount: Dental students, dental assisting students, laboratory technology students, and dental hygiene students ($1,000 to $4,000); Dental specialty residents ($5,000)
  • Deadline: July 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Scholarships are available for full-time students who have been accepted in or enrolled into an accredited dental residency, dental, dental assisting, dental laboratory technician, or dental hygiene program in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. Applicants must be current student members of the Hispanic Dental Association or Hispanic Student Dental Association. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.
  • About the Donor: Founded in 1990, the Hispanic Dental Association is committed to improving the oral health of the Hispanic community. Serving as a leading voice for Hispanic Oral Health, this organization provides service, advocacy, leadership, and education for all healthcare professionals promoting the overall health of the Hispanic or Latinx and underrepresented communities. The HDA Foundation scholarship program supports promising students as they pursue their academic training in dentistry.

13. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

  • Amount: Ten scholarships, $10,000 each; and Twenty-five scholarships, $5,000 each
  • Deadline: August 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, be graduate students or college seniors who will be enrolling in graduate school, and provide proof of enrollment to a graduate program in nursing, pharmacy, or medical school. Applicants must have one or more years of school remaining.
  • About the Donor: Tylenol sells products that help people in the present moment. every year, it awards annual scholarships to students pursuing careers in healthcare. The makers of Tylenol have supported students pursuing healthcare degrees for more than 30 years. They have awarded millions of dollars to students pursuing graduate education at nursing schools, medical schools, and pharmacy schools.

14. The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: September 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be enrolled full-time in the following U.S.-based accredited graduate programs: Dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, health policy or public health, physician associate, and nursing. They must have a grade point average of 3.0, exceptional academic performance, documented leadership activities, and a commitment to a career providing healthcare services to the Hispanic community in the US.
  • About the Donor: Established in 1994, the National Hispanic Health Foundation’s mission is to support research and educational activities for improving the health of Hispanics. In 2004, the National Hispanic Health Foundation established this scholarship program for dental, nursing, medical, pharmacy, public health, and health policy students with outstanding academic records, leadership, and who are committed to serving Hispanics. As of January 2021, the foundation has awarded $1,555,000 to 306 awardees.

15. Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: February 1, May 1, August 1, November 1, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be currently enrolled in a dental assistant program over the age of 18 who are U.S. citizens or legal residents possessing a high school diploma or GED. The program must be from the following states: AZ, CO, CA, GA, FL, IL, ID, LA, KS, MN, MA, NV, MO, OH, NM, SC, OR, TX, TN, VA, UT, 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.
Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about 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).