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J Can Dent Assoc. 2006 Dec;72(10):913.

The burden of debt for Canadian dental students: part 4. The influence of debt on program and career decisions.

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Academic and student affairs, faculty of dentistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


In the 3 previous papers of this 4-part series, we explored the issue of debt among dental students in Canada to analyze the factors influencing levels of debt. The information was obtained from a national survey of all dental students enrolled in Canadian dental schools during the 2003-2004 academic year. The aims of this fourth paper were to investigate the influence of debt upon career decisions after graduation and to comment on future directions for research into the impact of the rising costs of dental education and dental students' increasing debt levels. The results show that almost half of respondents found the costs of dental programs significantly higher than they anticipated. One-third of the respondents indicated that their anticipated debt level upon graduation had influenced their choice of career path within dentistry. Although this study provides baseline information about the degree of and influences on the indebtedness of students currently enrolled in dental programs across Canada, much remains to be learned about the impact of the higher costs of dental education on potential applicants to dental school and the effect of increased educational debt on practising dentists.

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