$2.5M grant to aid low-income dental students

The University of Florida (UF) College of Dentistry has received a four-year, $2.5 million grant that will help provide financial assistance to the college's disadvantaged students.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students awarded the college $645,000 for the current academic year, with recommended future support of $645,000 per year for the next three years -- totaling more than $2.5 million over four years.

The university was awarded exactly the amount that they had requested, according to Pamela Sandow, DMD, the assistant dean for admissions and financial. The College of Dentistry was the only UF college to receive the funding this year, she added.

The award will provide individual $15,000 scholarships to 43 students who have faced financial and location obstacles to gaining the skills and abilities to enrolling in and graduating from health professions schools. 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 FAFSA, and the University of Florida College of Dentistry Financial Aid Form to be considered.

The award will help the college recruit and retain qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds, which will improve access to health professions education and also help foster a diversified health workforce, Sandow said.

Another aim of the grant, she said, is to reduce student debt so that scholarship recipients will be more likely to move to underserved areas to provide dental care.

A committee within the college will review applications and provide awards to eligible students beginning in this spring.

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