An argument against HPSP
Suppose your are 100% sure military medicine is for you and you are in med school or will start next year:
Sign up for the FAP (Financial Assistance Program) after being accepted to residency (as a 4th year med student). The benefits:
- Choose the specialty and civilian residency program of your choice just like civilian medical students. No military match.
- Get paid $41k+ per year from the service while in residency (in addition to your $40-$48k a year from your civilian residency program)
- Be more financially sound in residency (net $80-$90K per year). You will have to make student loan payments, for a student with $200k of debt this is about $900 a month.
- Understand that $900 a month isn't much to any physician, and will be peanuts in 20 years (even less in your 29th year of repayment).
- Enter the fleet directly fully medically trained in the specialty of your choice thus avoiding GMO tours etc. Understand that you may be called up during residency, but not as likely depending on specialty.
- Maintain the choice to NOT enter the service after 4 years of med school. Maintain the choice to enter the active reserves with significant loan repayment available. Maintain the choice to serve your country as a civilian physician with the VA etc.
I'm not suggesting to stay away from military medicine, but programs like the FAP allow you 4 more years to make certain military medicine is for you. If you still enter, I think you will be thankful that you kept your options open, and you will have lost nothing.