Over 70% of medical students face over $200,000 in debt on average. Costs continue rising, with public schools charging $164,380 for a 4-year degree and private schools costing $269,176.  

The Air Force scholarship offers a solution by covering full tuition for future military physicians. It also provides one- and two-year awards in pharmacy, optometry, psychology, and other allied health fields. Dental and medical corps can receive three- to four-year scholarships.

These scholarships include full tuition, textbooks, equipment, and a monthly stipend for living expenses. Recipients commit to 45 days of active duty each scholarship year, then serve one year for each sponsored year after graduating. Minimum service is three years.

Air Force healthcare professionals stay updated through ongoing education. The Health Professions Scholarship program supports this continuous learning and growth for military medical personnel.

Focus fully on your medical education debt-free. Then utilize your skills to deliver excellent care for the Air Force community. Contact a recruiter to learn more and apply.

Benefits of the HPSP Program

There are numerous benefits! Depending on your specialization and experience, you may qualify for additional compensation and bonuses.

Here are some of the advantages that the Air Force offers:

  1. Full Tuition Coverage: Students can attend an accredited U.S. medical school of their choice located within the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico with all tuition and required fees fully paid.
  2. Educational Expenses Covered: The scholarship covers not only full tuition but also most required fees, including reimbursement for textbooks, small equipment items, and study supplies. This means tuition, books, and essential educational expenses are entirely covered.
  3. Annual Salary: You’ll receive an annual salary ranging from $26,408.76 to approximately $34,000, which includes:
  • Monthly Stipend: Currently $2,279.10 per month for 11.5 months, totaling $26,209.65 annually. Monthly stipends are typically paid twice a month, around the 15th and 30th.
  • Additional Second Lieutenant Military and Travel Pay: This covers the remaining 45 days during your active duty tour.
  • Signing Bonus: There’s a one-time $20,000 signing bonus provided during your first month of sponsorship, which you can use as you see fit. Students receiving a four-year AF HPSP scholarship, similar to the Army and Navy programs, are eligible for this bonus. Three-year scholarship participants can also receive the bonus if they commit to a four-year service period.
  • Vacation Time: You are entitled to 30 days of paid vacation each year.
  • Insurance: You receive $400,000 of low-cost life insurance and access to a comprehensive medical and dental care plan.
  • Housing and Allowances: Enjoy tax-free housing and clothing allowances.
  • Family Benefits: Eligible family members can also access comprehensive medical care and a low-cost dental insurance plan.
  • Monthly Living Allowance: You’ll receive a monthly allowance of over $2,100 for living expenses.
  • Paid Continuing Education: The program covers paid continued education.
  • Work-Life Balance: Expect an average workweek of about 45 hours, and you’ll enjoy a non-contributory 20-year retirement.
  • Additional Perks: Tax-free housing, food, and clothing allowances, as well as no overhead expenses and no malpractice insurance costs.
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Total Benefit:

  • 4 Years: Zero education debt and an extra $105,635 in your pocket.
  • 3 Years: Zero education debt and an additional $79,226 in your pocket.

Comprehensive Coverage: The scholarships cover full tuition and all mandatory fees, including textbooks, small equipment, and supplies needed for classes.

Service Commitment

This arrangement alleviates a significant financial burden for students, allowing them to focus on their education.

In exchange, the Air Force requests a commitment to serve on active duty as an Air Force health professional, with the duration matching the scholarship years.

For example:

  • A 4-year scholarship entails a 4-year active-duty commitment.
  • A 3-year scholarship requires a 3-year active-duty commitment.
  • A 2-year scholarship mandates a 2-year active duty commitment.

You’ll serve a minimum 3-year commitment as an active-duty staff physician, or one year for each year of scholarship participation, whichever is greater. The payback of educational commitments commences after the completion of graduate medical education training.

Upon completing your residency training, you will be an active board-eligible physician. Residency training counts towards time in service for retirement and time in grade for promotions and pay. However, time spent in a military residency or fellowship program does not count toward service obligations.

As students, you’ll be commissioned as second lieutenants (O-1) in the Medical Services Corps and placed on inactive ready reserve status during your studies. Your active duty time begins after completing your residency. Additionally, you will be required to complete a 45-day clerkship annually. During this time, the monthly stipend will pause, and you will receive commissioned officer active duty pay.

While on scholarship, you’ll spend 45 days each year on active duty in the Air Force, receiving the full pay and allowances of an Air Force second lieutenant. Following your scholarship commitment, you’ll serve four years on active duty in the Air Force for a four-year scholarship, or three years for a three-year scholarship, as one repayment (with a minimum of three years).

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Eligibility for Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program

Selection Criteria

  • Candidates should possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and an MCAT score of 500, with at least 124 in each of the MCAT subsections.
  • Those applying for 3 and 4-year scholarships are automatically chosen if they have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and an MCAT total score of 504 (with at least 124 in each subsection), and they do not require a scheduled admissions board review.

Who can apply?

  • Candidates should have gained acceptance or currently be enrolled in a medical school accredited by either the Association of American Medical Colleges (MD schools) or the American Osteopathic Association (DO schools) located within the continental US, Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico. (Applicants should not wait for an acceptance letter to apply.)
  • Applicants must hold US citizenship.
  • Physical fitness qualifications for commissioning as an Air Force officer are mandatory.
  • Candidates must demonstrate good moral character with no significant history of drug use, major law violations, or major health problems.

When do I apply?

Scholarships are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so initiating your application early is key to enhancing your chances of being selected. Given the competitive nature of the selection process, it’s important to start your application as soon as possible.

The application process can be time-intensive, and it’s essential to secure the scholarship before beginning medical school. In this regard, applying promptly is crucial to ensuring you obtain the scholarship prior to commencing your medical school journey.

For those interested in four-year scholarships, the optimal time to apply is typically in the fall of the year before starting medical school. On the other hand, students already in medical school who are applying for two- or three-year scholarships should take immediate action to increase their chances of success.

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Selection Process 

The applicant initiates the application process by submitting their materials to their local Air Force Health Professions recruiter. The selection board employs a holistic approach, assessing each application across various criteria and assigning points in the following categories:

  • Undergraduate GPA and the institution attended (3.2 or higher)
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score, with a minimum requirement of 500 and at least 123 in each subcategory.
  • Work experience encompasses factors such as full- or part-time employment, direct patient care roles, research positions, and more.
  • Extracurricular involvement includes participation in sports, clubs, professional organizations, and community engagement.
  • Letters of reference, which hold significant importance in the evaluation process,
  • Contact your local Air Force Health Professions recruiter.
  • Call 1-800-588-5260, or visit our website at AIRFORCE.COM/HEALTHCARE

To Apply: Visit the program website on how to find a healthcare recruiter to apply https://www.airforce.com/find-a-recruiter

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