A helping hand for students

College of Dentistry receives $2.5 million for scholarships

By Emily Miller

After Pamela Sandow, D.M.D., accepted her position as assistant dean for admissions and financial aid with the UF College of Dentistry, she set a goal to increase funding for dental students. That goal was realized in September when the college received a grant that will help provide financial assistance to disadvantaged students.

The college received a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students.

The award will provide individual $15,000 scholarships to 43 students from disadvantaged backgrounds for each of the four grant years. Awards will be based on HRSA Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students’ established guidelines, and students will be evaluated on a yearly basis. Students must complete the Free Application for Student Federal Aid, or FASFA, form to be considered.

The college will review FASFA applications and provide awards to eligible students beginning in spring 2013.

Sandow said the grant will help the college recruit and retain qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Another goal is to reduce student debt so that scholarship recipients can provide dental care to underserved patient populations after graduation without worrying about receiving a lower salary, she said.

“Sometimes (students) have to make economic decisions that help them pay the loans back rather than going to an underserved area where they might get less of an income,” she said. “If they have less debt hopefully they will tend to gravitate toward areas where there’s an underserved population, where there are people who need dental work.”

Reposted from the online version of the UF Health Science Center The Post – December 2012/January 2013