Financial aid

A win-win for postgraduate dentists

It is a historic moment for the School of Dental Medicine. For the first time, all of the school's accredited postgraduate specialty programs qualify for financial support. Fruitful negotiations with Hallmark HealthSystems have produced a Graduate Medical Education (GME) agreement—an arrangement that provides stipends for postgraduate students in accredited specialty programs who have graduated from an accredited dental school in the United States, Puerto Rico or Canada.

Tufts now joins about half of the 55 dental schools in the United States that have GME funding, and the impact will be felt by both students and faculty alike. The funding will help reduce student debt while also enabling the school to continue recruiting highly qualified students for postgraduate programs.

Partnering with colleagues at Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, the dental school's executive associate dean, Patricia Campbell, hammered out the details of the GME agreement. "Now we can be even more selective and competitive when choosing the right student," she said.

The stipends, which are federally funded and authorized by Congress, will make a difference to Blair Bradford, D02, who entered the Tufts postgraduate program in endodontics this fall. "I recently had my exit interview with the financial aid office, or what I considered getting the final bill, [which] comes to $197,962, so you can only imagine when I heard the news concerning the GME agreement with Tufts [that] I was thrilled." The news was that much sweeter because when Bradford accepted the offer to attend the postgraduate program, he did not know about the GME agreement. "Certainly the thought of saving nearly $30,000 a year is awesome."

In fact, there are 49 postgraduate dental students, more than half the students enrolled this fall in the accredited programs of endodontics, general practice residency, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics, who are receiving annual stipends of $27,000. However, these students still pay tuition.

Janet Walzer