The Health Professions Scholarship Program, or HPSP, was created to assist future health care providers afford an education. In exchange for covering part or all of their tuition, the recipients of these scholarships agree to become a commissioned officer in one of the following branches: United States Navy, United States Air Force, or the United States Army. These scholarships were created more than forty years ago and have been helping thousands of promising health care providers afford an education of their choice. The scholarships vary slightly depending on which branch you decide to go through.
The Army Health Professions Scholarship Program: Students who enter this program receive complete tuition remission in addition to a $2,000 monthly stipend to help cover living expenses. In order to be eligible, students must plan to pursue an advanced degree in one of these fields: veterinary medicine, psychology, optometry, medical, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or dentistry. Students are required to attend an accredited program that is located within Puerto Rico or the United States. In addition to receiving full tuition coverage for your graduate program, the Army is currently offering a sign-on bonus that will give you an extra $20,000. This sign-on bonus is only open to students who are in the dental and medical fields. The program will also cover required equipment, student fees, and required textbooks. Students receive increases in pay as they are promoted and during their breaks from school, students participate in active duty exercises. Only students who are planning to enroll on a full-time basis and who are citizens of the United States are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Additional information about this award can be found here.
NAVY HPSP: This award is also open to students in a variety of health care fields. Like the Army program, students are offered a sign-on bonus in some cases, full tuition remission, and a monthly stipend. There is some variability in this program, depending on which field of healthcare you plan on studying. The first step is to visit this website. The Airforce HPSP also has similar requirements, which can be found here.
Regardless of which of the three programs you choose to apply to, all of them require a service commitment post-graduation. This means that after you graduate from your professional program, you receive the rank lieutenant or captain. Clinical psychology interns and medical residents may be assigned to active duty if they are matched to a civilian or military hospital during their training program. For every year that the student borrowed money for their program, they incur a one-year service commitment. Students are paid a full salary for the duration of their service commitment.
If you have any interest in serving in the armed forces, these programs provide an ideal option for attending school for free. In addition, you have the benefit of not accruing loans to cover living expenses and a guaranteed job when you complete your program. The drawback is that your pay may be less than if you interviewed for non-government jobs.