Fourth-year dental students taking the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) licensure test may tell their patients that it won’t hurt too much. But with WREB application fees now totaling more than $2,600, those students feel the sting.
However, a gift of more than $169,000 from Delta Dental of Washington, the state’s largest dental insurer, to the UW School of Dentistry’s Class of 2017 this spring will ease the pinch. As it has in several years past, Delta is covering the WREB fees for all 64 students who took the exam in March.
“After four years of dental education, most of our students have acquired significant financial debt, and there are numerous unplanned expenses they will likely face in the last months just before and after graduation,” said Carol Brown, the school’s director of student services.
“This generous gift from Delta Dental of Washington will ease some of that financial burden and remove some of the financial stress our students experience as they transition to professional life. The gift could not come at a better time.”
Kalob Lesh, president of the graduating class, expressed the students’ appreciation to Delta Dental of Washington and added: “With ever-increasing tuition for a dental education, students experience continued distress surrounding how to repay their loans. Contributions such as this help ease the burden of loan repayment. Thank you for your generosity.”
“This is an extraordinary gift and says a lot about Delta Dental of Washington’s commitment to the success of our school and students,” said Dr. Susan Coldwell, Associate Dean of Student Services and Admissions.
“Congratulations to the 2017 University of Washington School of Dentistry graduates,” said Jim Dwyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delta Dental of Washington. “At Delta Dental, we believe that everyone deserves a healthy smile, and we commend these new dentists for their commitment to improving oral health.”
The Delta Dental gift adds to a substantial record of support for the School of Dentistry during the last three decades. In that time, Delta Dental of Washington and its nonprofit arm, the Washington Dental Service Foundation, have earned UW Presidential Laureate designation, given to donors of at least $10 million, with gifts supporting dental faculty, staff and programs.
Delta Dental’s support was critical to the launch of the school’s new “Dentist of the Future” curriculum over the last several years, as it enabled the addition of critical faculty and staff positions. Delta Dental’s contributions also funded several task forces appointed by Dean Joel Berg to study all aspects of the school’s curriculum, clinical systems and administrative operations as work began on the new curriculum.
“I believe our new curriculum has already begun to have an impact on our standing among the world’s elite dental schools,” said Dean Berg, noting that the school has achieved a top-15 world ranking in each of the last two years in Britain’s annual Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.
“Delta Dental of Washington has provided critical support for us all along the way, and with this latest gift, they have reaffirmed their commitment to helping us produce dentists who will set the standard in oral health care.”