The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced 6.6 million Americans to file for unemployment, and in three weeks, the number will grow to 16 million. The economic downfall has caused financial havoc for millions of people, including students–especially those with student loan debt. Now more than ever, it is crucial to help support local students and their financial struggles during this economic catastrophe. For the first year, Billings Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center is launching a new community initiative called Wisdom For Wisdom. The program will provide two local students with free wisdom teeth extractions to help offset their college expenses and support their higher education goals. Students can apply on Billings Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center’s website until May 7.
College affordability and student loan debt is a crisis that is plaguing the nation. Montana is currently among the top 15 states with the fastest-growing student loan debt balances. Residents in Montana owe $3.8 billion in student loan debt, and over 44 million Americans owe over $1.64 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 45 million borrowers. That’s roughly $587 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt. On top of food, tuition, housing, and other expenses, textbook prices are higher than ever. Statistics show that the soaring rise in textbook costs is the most inflated of all increasing college-related expenditures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college tuition and fees have risen over 60 percent and housing more than 50 percent in the past decade.
“With the recent abrupt yield to our economy, we are thinking about the local students in our community now more than ever, and want to help alleviate their financial burdens,” Dr. John Bennion said. “This program serves students who are low-income and who do not have the means to afford wisdom teeth extractions. Our goal is to ease the financial burden for students through the Wisdom For Wisdom program and help make a difference in the community.”
The application period for the Wisdom For Wisdom program is open until May 7, 2020. To apply, students will watch a video about the wisdom teeth removal procedure, take a short quiz, and submit a 250-word essay about what they learned. Students can apply by visiting: https://www.billingsoralsurgery.com/wisdom. Billings Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center will announce the recipient and update the public on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BillingsOralSurgery.