2 Fla. universities want dental schools

Two Florida universities are preparing to make proposals to the State University System of Florida governing board for permission to start a dental school, according to a story by Sunshine State News.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University have both submitted formal requests to the Board of Governors to develop dental schools, the story noted.

But the Board of Governors has been studying the issue for months and recently took in a Florida Department of Health study that said there are enough new dentists entering the profession in Florida through 2050 to make up for the number of retiring dentists.

To sway the board, UCF says it won't need any state funding because an anonymous donor has agreed to give the university $10 million for a dental school. The rest of the construction and administrative costs will be paid with a loan and, eventually, tuition and fees, according to the news story.

According to its proposal, UCF plans to charge $55,675 a year in tuition to its four-year dental program. The university says it could open the dental school as soon as 2014 and graduate classes of nearly 100 students each year.

Florida A&M University's proposal was not available for review as of press time, the story noted.

Florida already has two dental schools: one at the University of Florida and the other at Nova Southeastern University. In addition, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine plans to open a dental school next year in Tampa.

The University of Florida is also asking the Board of Governors for $4 million to expand its dental school and offer more minority scholarships.

But a report released in March by the state Department of Health questions the need for more dentists. An estimated 3,054 new dentists will be added to Florida's workforce every decade, according to the report, which should more than offset any losses from dentists retiring or moving.

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