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Education

The ADA Foundation provides assistance related to education through scholarships for predoctoral dental students and underrepresented minority dental students; scholarships for allied dental students (dental hygiene, dental laboratory technology, and dental assisting); and grants to nonprofit organizations educating parents and caregivers about the prevention of early childhood caries. Please see the below program descriptions and guidelines for complete information, and check this website for updates.

Education is one of the four pillars of the ADA Foundation. The other pillars are Charitable AssistanceAccess to Care, and Research.

Semi-annual Invitational Grants: Visit the "How to Apply" page for information on these grants.

Dental Student Scholarship Program and Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship Program

Purpose: The ADA Foundation Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarships help predoctoral dental students defray a part of their professional education expenses. The goal of this program is to facilitate the education of academically gifted dental students. 

Application Period: First business day after Labor Day (application period opens) through the second Friday in November (application deadline). For the Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarship Program, the ADAF accepts one application per school, submitted by the school on behalf of the student. For the Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship Program, the ADA Foundation accepts up to five applicatons per school, submitted by the school on behalf of each student. The ADAF does not accept applications submitted directly from students.

Eligibility Requirements: In order to be eligible for consideration for these scholarships, an applicant must:

  • Be in the second year of study at the time of application, and currently attending or enrolled at a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association;
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student, defined as maintaining a minimum course load of 12 credit hours;
  • Demonstrate a minimum financial need of $2,500;
  • Have a minimum accumulative grade point average of 3.25 based on a 4.0 scale; and
  • Provide two completed reference forms, one from each of two dental school representatives (e.g., professor or academic advisor) in support of the application, submitted as part of the application form.
  • In the case of the Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarships, must be a member of one of the following minority groups underrepresented in dental school enrollment: African American, Hispanic, or Native American.
  • In the case of the Dr. Robert B. Dewhirst scholarships, must attend the University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry or the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California (USC).

Dollar Amount and Number of Scholarships: Each year, the ADA Foundation makes the following scholarships available:

  • Dental Student Scholarships: Approx. 25 awards, up to $2,500 each award (up to $62,500 total funding)
  • Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarships: Approx. 25 awards, up to $2,500 each award (up to $62,500 total funding)
  • Robert J. Sullivan Scholarships: Up to two awards, up to $2,500 each award (up to $5,000 total funding)
  • Dr. Robert B. Dewhirst Scholarships: Up to two awards, up to $2.500 each award (up to $5,000 total funding), one to an applicant from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry and one to an applicant from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California (USC).
  • Total: Approx. 54 scholarships with up to $135,000 total funding.

Allied Dental Student Scholarship Program

The 2014 recipients of the ADA Foundation Allied Dental Student Scholarship Program, including the Young Dental Hygiene Scholarships, have been announced.

Purpose: ADAF Allied Dental Scholarships are offered annually to help dental assisting, dental hygiene, and dental laboratory technology students defray a part of their professional educational expenses. The goal of this program is to facilitate the education of academically gifted students, which in turn helps to foster the public's oral health.

Application period: Second Friday in January (application period opens) through the second Friday in March (application deadline). 

The ADA Foundation will accept one application from each school for each accredited program offered by that school. For example, if a school offers an accredited Dental Hygiene program and an accredited Dental Assisting program, the ADAF will accept one Dental Hygiene Scholarship application and one Dental Assisting Scholarship application from that school. If the ADA Foundation receives multiple applications from one school, all but one application within each accredited program will be disqualified at the ADAF's discretion and without alerting the school.

Eligibility Requirements: In order to be considered eligible for these awards a student must:

  • be a U.S. citizen (permanent resident status does not qualify);
  • be enrolled as a full-time student, defined as maintaining a minimum of 12 credit hours course load;
  • demonstrate a minimum financial need of $1,000; and
  • have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 based on a 4.0 scale.

Dental Hygiene student applicants also must:

  • be currently attending or enrolled in a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association;
  • have completed at least one full semester at the time of application, and must have at least one full semester remaining in the program as of May of the application year; and
  • provide two completed reference forms, one from each of two dental hygiene program representatives (e.g., professor or academic advisor) in support of the application, submitted as part of the application form.

Dental Laboratory Technology student applicants also must:

  • be currently attending or enrolled in a dental laboratory technology program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association;
  • have completed at least one full semester at the time of application, and must have at least one full semester remaining in the program as of May of the application year; and
  • provide two completed reference forms one from each of two dental laboratory program representatives (e.g., professor or academic advisor) in support of the application submitted as part of the application form.

Dental Assisting student applicants also must:

  • be currently attending or enrolled in a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association;
  • must have completed enough of their program to demonstrate a minimum 3.5/4.0 GPA, either from a completed semester or for their work to date as of the application deadline (if grades are to date, applicant must submit an official record and a calculation of their grade to date in 4.0 format); and
  • provide two completed reference forms, one from each of two dental laboratory program representatives (e.g., professor or academic advisor) in support of the application submitted as part of the application form.

The ADA Foundation considers one application for each program from each accredited school, submitted by the school on behalf of its selected student. For example, if a school offers both an accredited dental hygiene program and an accredited dental assisting program, the ADA Foundation will consider one Dental Hygiene Scholarship application and one Dental Assisting Scholarship application for students selected by that school. Any application sent directly to the ADA Foundation by a student who was not selected by his or her school will not be considered.

Dollar Amount and Number of Scholarships: Each year, the ADA Foundation makes the following scholarships available:

  • Dental Hygiene Student Scholarships: Approx. 15 awards, up to $1,000 each award (up to $15,000 total funding)
  • Dental Assisting Student Scholarships: Approx. 10 awards, up to $1,000 each award (up to $10,000 total funding)
  • Dental Laboratory Technology Student Scholarships: Approx. 5 awards, up to $1,000 each award (up to $5,000 total funding)

Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health Grants Program

Purpose: Since 1999, the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health, named for noted pediatric dentist and philanthropist Dr. Samuel D. Harris who passed away in 2003, has bestowed grants on organizations dedicated to fighting children's dental disease.

Application period: Last Friday in February (RFA period opens) through the second Friday in April (application deadline)

Eligibility Requirements: Grants of up to $5,000 each are offered to non-profit organizations and agencies that sponsor education programs for parents and caregivers to reduce the incidence of early childhood caries.

Dollar Amount and Number of Grants: Competitive grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded solely for prenatal and postnatal oral health instruction for parents and caregivers. The total number of Harris Grants awarded is dependent upon the ADA Foundation Board’s allocation of funds in a given year. The ADA Foundation awarded 24 grants totaling more than $114,000 in 2013. See below for a list of 2013 Harris Grant recipients.

The ADA Foundation expresses its gratitude to all organizations that perform work related to reducing early childhood caries.

Education Through Give Kids A Smile®

The ADA Foundation’s support of the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile program helps educate tens of thousands of children and their families on the importance of good oral health to overall health.

Visit the Give Kids A Smile page