1) HPSP may not pan out if you only do it for the money. Army docs make much less then civilian docs and, given the time frame to repay Uncle Sam, you could have paid off your student loans in the civilian world.
2) HPSP may restrict your specialization and in some cases make it difficult to go into anything other than a GMO.
3) May still have to take out loans to cover additional expenses while in med school that the HPSP does not cover.
4) One word... Iraq (or any number of other overseas military zones)
5) Lastly, it may seem like a great idea now, but can you speak for yourself 4-8years in the future? In other words, do you know that in 4-8 years you will still want to play "GI Joe"?
These items are not meant to start a war... only offer a few things to think about. In the end it is up to you and if you are willing to make the commitment and are dedicated to serving your country then more power to you. The military needs you!
The Army is great oppurtunity to get your school paid for. Do not listen to the individual who posted the first reply. If you noticed, he has not even started medical school yet, and thus has no experience with HPSP. I am an Army HPSP student and a 2nd year student at VCOM. While the things mentioned are possible - these things will be unknown to you and therefore should be no surprise. The military committment is however many years your scholarship is for post resdiency. So you will have minimum of 8 years. And most civilian docs will not have school loans paid for by this point. As far as needing extra money, that is a personal choice. If managed correctly, a single person can easily live off the stipend. Don't forget, anything required by the school, you get free (money saved right there). Since you are going Army, GMO means nothing to you. The Army does not have GMO tours. In fact, most Army students match with there residency of choice. I believe last years number was up around 70%. As far as residency/specialties are concerned, you can do anything a civilian Doc can do and you are not limited by any means. In fact, you might even be able to get these slots easier, because your competetion is self-contained within the Army. And Iraq, I would never worry about something like that - you know and understand the document you are about to sign and you know where that may lead. It is part of the duty to Country. And if you are getting ready to start medical school in the fall - you have little to no chance of being in a combat zone for at least 7 years (4 years of school, 3 years residency). You are making a wise choice. Seving your country is an Honor and you will benifit from this far more than you can probably see right now. Good Luck and Hope everything works out for you.
If you are at the point of being about to sign, you obviously have given this much thought.....I too have given much thought to the HPSP scholarship. Don't do it for the money as loans are available, do it because you want to, do it for the opportunities that will be afforded you and few others. Remember, you will be learning military medicine...everything is cutting edge! You make a few bucks, maybe not as much as the civies, but then again you don't come out with the whopping debt that they do either....Enjoy your learning experience and don't stress about it....