I went through medical school on a Navy scholarship, through the HPSP Program
AFHPSP offers qualified students full tuition for school, a monthly stipend, and reimbursement for books and various required equipment and fees. In return, students serve as active duty medical, dental or medical service corps officers (for a minimum of three years). Scholarship recipients also attend a 45-day (consecutive days) Active Duty for Training (AT) tour for every year of scholarship awarded. The ATs range from a required Officer Indoctrination School (OIS) Newport, Rhode Island to numerous choices of rotations at military facilities. During AT, students serve on Active Duty in the rank of Ensign with all attendant obligations, benefits and respect of the rank.
Hint: Ensigns don’t get much respect, but it gets better with time.
There are several ways to have Uncle pay for your school, and HPSP is the one that lets you pick your medical school, then leads to active duty military service in either the Navy, Air Force or Army (The Navy covers the USMC). Other ways are through the Military’s own med school (USUHS).
If you’re considering this, there are a lot of good things, and there are some bad things (and this is hardly an inclusive list):
-Serve your country
-no school debt (if you can live really low).
-get paid well for an interesting summer job during school
-know where you’re going after graduation, long before the Match comes out
-All professional movers, paid for
-Pretty good work environments for Internship
-surrounded by very smart, motivated, competitive people
-Leadership opportunities like you will not get anywhere else (no kidding)
-Guaranteed vacation time
-no practice overhead
-Lawsuit immune (but the service can restrict your practice whenever they want)
-Retirement if you stick it out
-Most military docs don’t work that hard compared with their civ counterparts (huge generalization; there are exceptions to every rule)
-no summers off
-You will probably get to pick your internship field, or site, but not both
-military residencies are generally very good, but there are limited slots; you may have to wait to get in
-Needs of the Navy: if they need GMO’s, you’re going to be a GMO
-have to re-apply to get into a residency, from the fleet (much more a Navy prob); 21 surg Interns, 4 categorical Surg slots (when I was in San Diego)
-Your med school peers will be making significant cash while you’re a GMO or a resident
Don’t expect the local officer recruiter to know anything about these programs, and what they tell you applies to Line recruits. Just ask for the number of the HPSP recruiter, and go from there.
The “minimum of three years” the the quote at the top is probably for those who join the program with only 2 years to graduation (there are 2/3/4 year scholarships). There are always strings attached with Uncle’s money. I had a 4 year scholarship, so my minimum time was an internship, then 4 years on active duty, excluding residency training; the clock keeps running while you’re a resident, but you incur more pay-back time for each year you’re a resident (ask what it is when you sign up; I think it’s 1.5 yrs obligation per yr of training, but I could be wrong). If you go the USHUS route, the obligation is much longer (I think 7 years minimum, plus time added for residency).
I enjoyed my service, and it definitely helped make me the man I am today.