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wcliffa

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I will begin my studies at a medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Please help with each of these--I am 33 and a nontraditional student with a spouse. I could really use the support while in school and residency--but at what cost?

Thanks a million!!!
 

paradude

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I will begin my studies at a state medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Please help with each of these--I am 33 and a nontraditional student with a spouse. I could really use the support while in school and residency--but at what cost?

Thanks a million!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHHHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!

Oh my God that is too funny. My favorite part is the non-deployable EVER part!
 

NavyFP

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I will begin my studies at a state medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Please help with each of these--I am 33 and a nontraditional student with a spouse. I could really use the support while in school and residency--but at what cost?

Thanks a million!!!

There is actually truth in the above statements with perhaps the exception of #6.

What you will need to do is scour the fine print as to when your time starts and when it ends. There are programs for the reserves which do indeed give you benefits w/o the risk of deployment. The death is in the details.

I have a hard time believing with the current op-tempo that they would guarantee you no more than 90 days deployment "in-country". Which country would that be?
 
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iatrosB

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I will begin my studies at a state medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Please help with each of these--I am 33 and a nontraditional student with a spouse. I could really use the support while in school and residency--but at what cost?

Thanks a million!!!

Couple clarifications for you. Most of the above is correct, but you can be deployed anywhere when you are done, not just in the US.

As far as the comittment, time in med school and residency does NOT count as payback. Therefore you would owe 8 years AFTER residency. Be careful with that and don't let them slip that by you. It does count toward retirement, but since you are non-deployable, they don't consider it payback yet...I found an honest recruiter who told me that.
 

Croatalus_atrox

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I will begin my studies at a state medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If any of the military services are going to give you money to attend medical school, they'll want your services as a physician after you graduate.

First off, that STRAP stipend you mentioned has a 2-for-1 payback as a guardsman or reservist, meaning that you owe the service 2 months for every month you receive the stipend, after your residency is finished. If you were to receive the stipend for 8 years (which I doubt is possible), you would owe the NG 16 years after you finished your residency. They wouldn't just let you go after your initial 8 year obligation if you take the STRAP stipend.

The STRAP stipend is also contingent on being a member in good standing at your unit, performing drills and annual tours. You can't miss too many of those and still continue to receive the stipend.

The GI Bill you would receive as a guardsman is the reduced selected reserve GI Bill, which is $300/month for a total of 36 months.

That "90 days in-country" is one of those things that sounds good when you don't know what it means. Sure, you might only have to spend 90 days over in Iraq or Afghanistan on a deployment, but that says nothing about the time you might spend on active duty in the US before and after your deployment. To say nothing about the possibility of being deployed stateside to backfill for deployed active duty members, as well.

If it sounds too good to be true...
 

Ex-44E3A

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If you're going to an in-state school at the in-state tuition rate, just take out the loans. It's not like you're going to Duke or University of Miami.
 

wcliffa

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The problem with just taking out loans is that I am also an attorney and am unable to secure subsidized loans because of my income prior to beginning med school. Ergo, interest accumulates during school and is variable. But thanks for the suggestion!!!
 

jonb12997

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watch 4 years of Jr. STRAP... that'll mean you have to pay back 8 years after medical school during residency and after. basically if you take 4 years of jr. strap in med school, you're going to end up doing 12 full years in the guard... I'm only going to take 2 years of Jr. STRAP so i will pay that back during 4 years of residency.
 

West Side

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The problem with just taking out loans is that I am also an attorney and am unable to secure subsidized loans because of my income prior to beginning med school. Ergo, interest accumulates during school and is variable. But thanks for the suggestion!!!
All indicators point to interest rates trending flat to down over the next 24 months. I wouldn't use that as a rationale not to take out loans.

And it's an investment. If you don't believe in it at unsubsidized (re: better than prime, or LIBOR + 100 bps...RATES YOU'LL NEVER SEE UNLESS YOU'RE A PENSION FUND OR INSTITUTION) rates, then I submit that you don't believe in the investment unleveraged. If you're trying to get it for "free", I would rethink the decision holistically.

Note that you can take a maximum of $30,000 annually in unsubsidized Staffords, unlike the $10K limit on most graduate schools. Something I didn't know until a few nights ago.
 

wook

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I will begin my studies at a state medical school this summer. I have approached the Army National Guard and reserves about funding and obligations.
So far the Guard seems most promising--or so I think--I need your advice. Sometimes I feel like a sucker when I am listening to the recruiting pitch.

I have been told that if I join the Army National Guard I will be:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.
2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.
3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.
5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.
6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Please help with each of these--I am 33 and a nontraditional student with a spouse. I could really use the support while in school and residency--but at what cost?

Thanks a million!!!

I would also add that #1 is not completely correct. You CAN be deployed during your residency, however from what I've gleaned, this has not happened yet (it would have to be a major freaking war) even during the current events.


Wook
 

IgD

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Print out the list and have the recruiter sign it for your own protection.
 

West Side

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Print out the list and have the recruiter sign it for your own protection.
This is such powerful and subtle advice. Do not think that the military is the only party in the agreement that can issue contracts or supplementary written agreements. If the recruiting officer, who as far as I know is a signatory authority, isn't willing to sign something, then you can pretty safely call bull****.
 

solumanculver

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Hey, I'm also in the national guard and I'm applying MD/PhD for 2008. This is what I've been told by my medical recruiters:

1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.

Non-deployable during medical school and internship, during the rest of your residency you technically are deployable, though no one ever has been deployed during residency... so they say.

2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.

Yeah, this is the same as what they told me, althought this STRAP comes with a pretty heavy cost in blood.

3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.

To be honest, I haven't been able to figure this one out either... Provided you didn't take the STRAP money, it seems like you should be able to get out after 8 years... Actually this is exactly what I am hoping to do.

Of course the whole reason you want to do this is because of the STRAP money, so for you I think the answer is no.

Somebody mentioned that non-deployable time doesn't count towards a commitment, which seems to be intuitively true, but I'm not sure... It's possible to spend an entire enlistment active duty being non-deployable the whole time... There was a girl in my unit who was found to have borderline personality disorder early on and declared to be non-deployable, but she was retained because she was the only MOS qualified flight controller in our (aviation) unit. Of course, she had a bar to reenlistment...

4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.

Don't know about this, sorry... I already got my GI Bill. It seems false to me, though, because commissioned officers aren't usually eligible for the GI Bill... You might want to look into that further.

5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.

Yeah, they said that to me too. I think it must be true because it seems like hardly anyone shows up for drill around here... But I live in Georgia. I heard the southern guard is like that... I don't know.

6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

Hmmmm... I was never told this. But when I was researching it on my own I found a website that said phsysicians in the guard could only be deployed 6 months every two years. But I didn't believe that either.
 
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triclimb

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I have also explored options in the guard for help with medical school funding. From what I have been told, and the documents I have been given, your list is pretty much correct.
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1) non-deployable during medical school and my residency.

This is what I have been told as well.
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2) that I will receive the STRAP stipend totaling $1319 for all 4 years of medical school and, if I enter a wartime specialty residency, STRAP for my years of residency.

STRAP and STRAP junior do extend your commitment beyond 8 years, 2 years for every 1 year that you take the stipend.

3) that my total commitment, if I begin drilling right away, will be 8 years in the Guard. Which would mean that I would basically, following the logic of #1, be non-deployable the entire time.

This is pretty much true as long as you don't take STRAP or STRAP Jr. If you don't take STRAP or STRAP Jr., you can qualify for $50 K loan repayment (over 3 years) and $30 K bonus for wartime shortage specialities (over 3 years). The time with these incentives are served concurrently with your obligation. But they would not take effect till you graduate. So you could do your 4 years of medical school only taking your basic salary, then cash in 50K for loan repayment and another 10 K of bonus salary along with your salary for the last 4 years of your obligation, and you would be nondeployable that whole time.

-------
4) that if I go to OBC I will also receive the GI Bill during med school.

I don't know anything about this.
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5) that the guard is flexible about missing drill due to exam preparation.

I have heard the same, and was even given a document regarding the flexibility policy from the Surgeon General which was pretty clear about this.

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6) that were I to stay in the Guard past the eight years I could only be deployed for 90 days "in country."

I was also told the same. 90 days "in-country" with 15 days tacked on before and after here in the US, bringing the total to 4 months of deployment. I actually did talk to a doc who just came back from a 90 day deployment.

Hope this helps. PM me if you want to discuss this anymore.
 

carn311

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This may be an obvious question but...

What are the benefits of joining the guard besides the monthly stipend? Will they funding any of your tuition? Is there some kind of guard pay that goes on top of the stipend?
 

solumanculver

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I'd also be interested to hear an answer to this.
Thanks!

Hey, I don't think that there is too much of a point in doing this for most people. I'm doing it because I have a residual army obligation from going Green-to-Gold when I was active duty enlisted. So if I join the national guard without taking STRAP I'll be able to live out that obligation in an undeployable status without extending my obligation. In the end I may choose to stay in longer anyway, since I will have 12 years in at that point, but I learned the first time I joined the army that every deal with uncle sam is a deal with the devil. Any money that the army gives you must be payed back in blood... At least that's my opinion. Of course if you really want to be in the army anyway then by all means take everything that you can, but in my opinion if you've been convinced by some army incentive then you're going to regret it later.
 

Tiger26

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Hey, I don't think that there is too much of a point in doing this for most people. I'm doing it because I have a residual army obligation from going Green-to-Gold when I was active duty enlisted. So if I join the national guard without taking STRAP I'll be able to live out that obligation in an undeployable status without extending my obligation. In the end I may choose to stay in longer anyway, since I will have 12 years in at that point, but I learned the first time I joined the army that every deal with uncle sam is a deal with the devil. Any money that the army gives you must be payed back in blood... At least that's my opinion. Of course if you really want to be in the army anyway then by all means take everything that you can, but in my opinion if you've been convinced by some army incentive then you're going to regret it later.

Completely agree w/above. I too joined the guard because I already had an ROTC obligation. I may stay in since at the end, I'll have 11 in, but that will be situation dependent. With that said, I went to drill for the first time with my new medical unit, and the two docs and a pa there were basically just counting down until they could get out next year.
 

carn311

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Completely agree w/above. I too joined the guard because I already had an ROTC obligation. I may stay in since at the end, I'll have 11 in, but that will be situation dependent. With that said, I went to drill for the first time with my new medical unit, and the two docs and a pa there were basically just counting down until they could get out next year.

And what were some of the complaints?
 

iatrosB

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Does anyone know the role of a peds doc in the reserves/guard? Do they just get utilized like FM docs or what?
 

Tiger26

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Does anyone know the role of a peds doc in the reserves/guard? Do they just get utilized like FM docs or what?

Actually, they pretty much sit around the armory on the weekend staring at the ceiling for 48 hours waiting to get deployed so they can make less many than they otherwise would while the people in charge of bonus/pay are so inept that they screw up that side of the equation. Then when they get deployed, they'll do something they're not trained in for 90 days.

I'm still a med student, but I wouldn't do it unless you have some sort of obligation. They've taken nearly a year on my branch transfer packet and still no results. There's a lot of bureaucracy in civilian hospitals, but it's nowhere near the level of flat out incompetence in national guard medicine administration.
 

iatrosB

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Actually, they pretty much sit around the armory on the weekend staring at the ceiling for 48 hours waiting to get deployed so they can make less many than they otherwise would while the people in charge of bonus/pay are so inept that they screw up that side of the equation. Then when they get deployed, they'll do something they're not trained in for 90 days.

I'm still a med student, but I wouldn't do it unless you have some sort of obligation. They've taken nearly a year on my branch transfer packet and still no results. There's a lot of bureaucracy in civilian hospitals, but it's nowhere near the level of flat out incompetence in national guard medicine administration.

Good stuff! Thanks.
 
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wcliffa

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Another benefit is that you may be eligible for 4500 per annum of federal tuition assistance. Does anyone know anything about this
 

patho

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Here's the Army National Guard contract as I understand it.

-The contract is 8 years. 6 of which are active, 2 are IRR.

-To have the guard take care of your tuition, you must drill during medical school. (Stating this because of the 2 IRR years)

-You are non-deployable during medical school, but you are deployable during residency. (Yet to happen as previously stated)

-Your payback starts from your signing day/commissioning, so if school and residency take 8 years or longer, your commitment is up.

-You are commissioned as an O-1 and promoted to O-3 upon graduation.

-If you stay in past residency, you can be deployed anywhere.

-The STRAP incurs a 2-for-1 as previously stated. However, if you accept STRAP all through medical school and residency, the payback for the STRAP from medical school will be reduced to 1-for-1, but will remain as 2-for-1 during your residency years.

-Guard is flexible about drill. They also have a "flex drill" option. It would require 4 hours of drill every 3 months. Not sure if there's any guidelines associated with that.

-OBC is increasing to 28 days from the previous 10 days I've heard.

-They also have the option for an additional $50,000 in loan repayment. It's actually on the table to become $150,000, but there's no guarantees that it will go thru. The $50,000 would be given in increments of 20-20-10 over the course of 3 years. You would need to drill for a year for each segment of that $50,000.
 

Tiger26

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All the incentives they have won't come close to the income your going to lose when your away from your private practice gig deployed somewhere. You've got to factor this in too.

I really wouldn't recommend the National Guard at this time--really just an a$$ backwards organization in my state with regard to the medical folks.
 

megadon

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Look man, here is what I believe about the guard right now. You're in med school, you ain't going to the sandbox (while in med school). Once you graduate it's playpen time. Guess who is first on the deploymente slate, SpecFor (no, already over ther), SpecOps (already there), MEUS, already there. Unfortunately, the reserve is being mobilized at a rate never seen before, but this is since we went to an all volunteer force. Hate to say it, but you're going to the sandbox.

As far as us active guys, I don't know, once I started at Canoe U, I signed away all rights to the Montogomeny GI bill. As soon as I graduate, I figure I am deployable unit. Due to our favoritism for deplolying reserve units these days, you are not safe from that.

They pay you money, you pay in blood (commitment, etc) and they are much more efficient that Lentil in collecting the price.
 

iatrosB

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Here's the Army National Guard contract as I understand it.

-They also have the option for an additional $50,000 in loan repayment. It's actually on the table to become $150,000, but there's no guarantees that it will go thru. The $50,000 would be given in increments of 20-20-10 over the course of 3 years. You would need to drill for a year for each segment of that $50,000.

Are you eligible for both STRAP AND loan repayment? I thought if you took STRAP, you couldn't get the loan repayment.
 

lepetit

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Here's the Army National Guard contract as I understand it.

-The contract is 8 years. 6 of which are active, 2 are IRR.

-To have the guard take care of your tuition, you must drill during medical school. (Stating this because of the 2 IRR years)

-You are non-deployable during medical school, but you are deployable during residency. (Yet to happen as previously stated)

-Your payback starts from your signing day/commissioning, so if school and residency take 8 years or longer, your commitment is up.

-You are commissioned as an O-1 and promoted to O-3 upon graduation.

-If you stay in past residency, you can be deployed anywhere.

-The STRAP incurs a 2-for-1 as previously stated. However, if you accept STRAP all through medical school and residency, the payback for the STRAP from medical school will be reduced to 1-for-1, but will remain as 2-for-1 during your residency years.

-Guard is flexible about drill. They also have a "flex drill" option. It would require 4 hours of drill every 3 months. Not sure if there's any guidelines associated with that.

-OBC is increasing to 28 days from the previous 10 days I've heard.

-They also have the option for an additional $50,000 in loan repayment. It's actually on the table to become $150,000, but there's no guarantees that it will go thru. The $50,000 would be given in increments of 20-20-10 over the course of 3 years. You would need to drill for a year for each segment of that $50,000.

sorry..i'm very confused. let's say that i join the Army National Guard program at the start of medical school - do 4 years med school, a 4 year residency, and I am not deployed (because in the contract, it is non-deployable during these times, right?). after these 8 years, THEN i start a payback commitment of 8 years on active duty national guard provided I don't take MDSSP or STRAP?
:confused:
 

DeadCactus

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sorry..i'm very confused. let's say that i join the Army National Guard program at the start of medical school - do 4 years med school, a 4 year residency, and I am not deployed (because in the contract, it is non-deployable during these times, right?). after these 8 years, THEN i start a payback commitment of 8 years on active duty national guard provided I don't take MDSSP or STRAP?
:confused:

If you just join the Guard, your pay-back begins the day you sign up. You would have 6 years of drilling obligation and 2 years of inactive ready reserve for a total of 8 years of service obligation.

Taking certain benefits like FTA, MDSSP, STRAP, etc may increase your obligation.

FTA extends your obligation to four years out from the last time you take it. (Granted, it's a softer obligation as they simply pro-rate the money and require you to pay back a proportional amount.)

MDSSP extends it at 2 for 1 out from the day you graduate from medical school.

STRAP extends it out 2 for 1 out from the day you leave residency.

If you take both MDSSP and STRAP, you owe a total of 1 month per every MDSSP year and 2 months per every STRAP year.
 

notdeadyet

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If you take both MDSSP and STRAP, you owe a total of 1 year per every MDSSP year and 2 years per every STRAP year.
Corrected the typos (in bold). Other than that, DeadCactus' words are rock solid.
 

notdeadyet

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Woops, thanks. Started at year to year and then meant to change it to month to month. A month for a year would be a pretty sweet deal. :p
You don't want to know what I'd do to get that deal....
 

infirmarydude

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You don't want to know what I'd do to get that deal....

Ha! that does sound like a great deal. but now that we are on the topic - just curious how this would work out

if i take MDDSP the last two years of school = 4 years

i do a 4 year residency and only take STRAP the last two years (so i can get HPLRP during residency) - so i burned off two years of MDDSP but do the two years of strap then make my mddsp into 2 -> 1 or is that only if i take it the whole time?

so after residency do i owe 2 years MDDSP and 2 years STRAP and 2 years HPLRP or do i owe none for MDDSP? just a long shot but curious -

ALSO: if i take STRAP and HPLRP at the same time - does that mean i own for HPLRP or not - because without STRAP i wouldn't actually owe anything besides for the year i completed

thanks again
 
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infirmarydude

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FTA extends your obligation to four years out from the last time you take it. (Granted, it's a softer obligation as they simply pro-rate the money and require you to pay back a proportional amount.)

ok - this is also something that is slightly different than what my ASR told me.

is the FTA the ~4,500 per year grant towards tuition? or that something different?

also - does this ADD 4 years after residency? if yes - why would this make any sense when we could just use HPLR that would cover much more?

what am i missing?
 

DeadCactus

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ok - this is also something that is slightly different than what my ASR told me.

is the FTA the ~4,500 per year grant towards tuition? or that something different?

also - does this ADD 4 years after residency? if yes - why would this make any sense when we could just use HPLR that would cover much more?

what am i missing?

Yes, FTA is the $4500 per year any Guard member can get to help pay tuition.

Accepting FTA entails agreeing to stay in the Guard until four years after the day you accept FTA. It's served concurrently with any other obligation you have so it won't add time unless your obligation is set to end in less than four years.

If you get out sooner, they just take back the prorated difference. One thing i don't know is if they only take back a portion of the last FTA you took or of every FTA you've taken within the last four years. Imagine it's the former...
 

infirmarydude

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Yes, FTA is the $4500 per year any Guard member can get to help pay tuition.

Accepting FTA entails agreeing to stay in the Guard until four years after the day you accept FTA. It's served concurrently with any other obligation you have so it won't add time unless your obligation is set to end in less than four years.

If you get out sooner, they just take back the prorated difference. One thing i don't know is if they only take back a portion of the last FTA you took or of every FTA you've taken within the last four years. Imagine it's the former...

Thanks! I was wondering if you would be able to give your 2 cents on my post (towards the bottom of the page):

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=550134&page=58

p.s. all of you have been extremely helpful with guard info and when I get some more time - i plan on making a pretty thorough FAQ and posting it later - thanks again guys
 
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