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HPSP Fact Sheet

The 2019 Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) Fact Sheet
for Medical School

Medical Student Debt

  • About 25% of students graduate with >$200,000 of debt. Tuition at public medical schools is continuing to rise.1
  • Median cost of attending a public medical school for the class of 2016 is $232,800.3
  • More than 70% of physicians under the age of 40 carry debt. Nearly half of physicians are carrying debts between $150,000 and $200,000.2
  • The 10 most expensive US medical schools exceed $61,000/year in tuition and fees.4
  • The Air Force (AF) HPSP offers medical students the opportunity to receive a full tuition scholarship along with a generous monthly stipend in exchange for future service as an AF physician.

Benefits of the HPSP Program

  • Students receive full tuition and required fees at any accredited US medical school located within the continental US, Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.
  • Books and most other educational fees are also covered under the HPSP scholarship.
  • An annual salary of ~$28,000 which includes
    • A monthly stipend of $2,330.78/month for 10 ½ months (increases to $2,391.60 in fall 2019)
    • Second Lieutenant military and travel pay for the remaining 45 days, during their active duty tour (ADT).
  • There is a $20,000 signing bonus for students who receive a 4 year AF HPSP scholarship, similar to the Army and Navy program. Likewise, 3 year scholarship participants can receive the signing bonus if they agree to a 4 year commitment.

Who Can Apply?

  • Applicants must be accepted to or enrolled in a medical school accredited by either the Association of American Medical Colleges (MD schools) or American Osteopathic Association (DO schools) located within the continental US, Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.
  • Applicants must be US citizens.
  • Applicants must be physically qualified for commissioning as an Air Force officer.

When to Apply?

  • For 4 year scholarships, the best time to apply is fall of the year prior to attending medical school.
  • Students already in medical school applying for 3 year scholarships should apply immediately.
  • Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis; early application maximizes opportunity for selection.

Selection Criteria

  • Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA and 500 MCAT with a minimum score of 124 on each of the MCAT subsections.
  • Applicants for 3 and 4 year scholarships with at least a 3.4 undergraduate GPA and an MCAT total score of 504 (& minimum subsection score of 124 in each subsection) are automatically selected and do not meet a scheduled accession board.

Participation in the Program

  • The student's #1 priority while enrolled in the HPSP program is to dedicate themselves to their studies. Students are not expected to wear their uniforms to class.
  • Students who are enrolled in the HPSP program also participate in specialized military training programs designed to help orient participants to AF medicine; these are known as ADTs.
  • Students are placed on ADT orders for 45 days for each year of participation. During that 45 day period, the students may attend training programs that last from 2-5 weeks in length (e.g. Commissioned Officer Training (COT) 5 weeks, Aerospace Medicine Primary (AMP) Course 2 weeks, and clinical rotations 4 weeks).
  • The first ADT will be to attend COT at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL, where HPSP participants receive practical instruction and training on their role as an AF Medical Officer.
  • HPSP students attend Aerospace Medicine Primary Course to gain understanding of medicine in the Air Force and their connection to the Air Force Mission.
  • During the remaining ADTs, medical students will do clinical rotations at one of our 9 AF teaching facilities around the country.
  • Students are expected to meet AF Fitness Standards while on Active Duty. Students must pass the fitness test at the start of COT.

Service Obligation for HPSP

  • Serve a minimum 3 year commitment as an active duty staff physician, or 1 year for each year of scholarship participation (whichever is greater).6
  • 3 year HPSP recipients have a 3 year service obligation.
  • 4 year HPSP recipients have a 4 year service obligation.
  • Payback of educational commitment begins after completion of graduate medical education training.
  • Time spent in a military residency or fellowship program does not count towards service obligation.
  • In comparison, students attending the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS) incur a 7 year service obligation.

Air Force Graduate Medical Education (GME)

  • The AF has numerous residency and fellowship training program opportunities in 84 different specialties at 9 different AF training locations in addition to some Army, Navy and civilian locations.
  • HPSP participants are required to apply to the Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board (JSGMESB) at the beginning of their final year of medical school.
  • The JSGMESB is the process by which AF obligated officers compete for selection in GME residencies and fellowship programs and is similar to the civilian match.
  • Most individuals will be selected for residency and fellowship training in AF programs.
  • However, some students may be selected by the JSGMESB to train in civilian residency programs.
  • Detailed information on the GME application process is provided to all program participants by our HPSP program managers.
  • Students can find additional information on the AF Physician Education Branch website. http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/Organizations/Physician-Education-Branch/ 

Why Should Medical Students Consider Air Force Medicine?

In addition to the financial benefits of the HPSP scholarship program, there are many other advantages to AF medicine:

  • Great patient populations! Our patients include active duty members, their families, as well as retired military members and their families.
  • The ability to provide total care. One of the fundamental advantages of the military health system is the ability to render care to a patient without worrying about whether or not they can afford to fill their prescriptions or obtain a vital lab test.
  • Quality colleagues. No doubt about it, physicians who choose to serve in the military are a special group of highly trained, dedicated professionals.
  • Travel opportunities. AF physicians can be stationed at military clinics and hospitals all over the world and deploy in support of military operations. In addition, they also participate in a variety of humanitarian missions and specialized medical training all over the globe.
  • Potential for zero debt and better pay! Not only does a HPSP scholarship cover all tuition, books, fees, it also provides a generous monthly stipend. Once doctors graduate from medical school, they will find that the salaries and benefits of being a military resident or fellow in a military training program far exceed civilian averages.
  • Opportunity to be a leader and make a difference- not only for individuals in your own community, but quite possibly for individuals and communities around the world.

How Can You Apply to HPSP or Get More Information about AF Physician Career Opportunities?


  1. https://www.gao.gov/assets/100/96096.pdf
  2. https://www.amainsure.com/physicians-in-focus/work-life-profiles-of-todays-us-physician-delivers-insight.html
  3. http://www.aamc.org/download/482236/data/august2017anupdatedlookatattendancecostandmedicalstudentdebtatu.pdf
  4. https://www.thompsonadvising.com/blog/top-10-most-expensive-medical-schools/#.WM7uRhiZP-Y
  5. DODI 6000.13
  6. AFI 36-2107


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