Now that you are in residency, do you wish that you had taken the HPSP scholarship?


Account on Hold
Account on Hold
Aug 7, 2015
Just wondering if the perspective changes at all once you see your debt. I'm asking because I might want to apply for the HPSP scholarship and I'm looking to get perspectives from all sides.


Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
10+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2008
Attending Physician
Just wondering if the perspective changes at all once you see your debt. I'm asking because I might want to apply for the HPSP scholarship and I'm looking to get perspectives from all sides.
If you're considering doing it for the money, run away now. I have some friends who did it and have run the math. If you end up doing primary care, it's a wash. Maybe you come out a little bit ahead, but not a hugely significant amount. If you do any specialty/subspecialty (or even hospitalist medicine), you come out well behind monetarily. All that for the price of (usually) significantly more limited residency choices and then being beholden to work for the feds wherever they put you for multiple years after you finish residency.

If you want to do it because of pride and service to your country, that's a whole different story. I have significant respect for the military and enjoy serving our veterans through my med school and now my residency programs affiliation to the VA, but even so I never considered doing the HPSP even with medical school cost being as obscene as it is.

Doctor Bagel

so cheap and juicy
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Sep 26, 2002
from the ministry of information
Attending Physician
Out of residency and really facing my huge amount of debt and nope. There are other options like public service loan forgiveness (sure this will likely be limited in the future) and loan repayment deals from employers and places in high need that can help out with loans if needed. In my field, I could work out a job with the military (I get emails all the time about working on military bases) with pretty high pay/loan repayment deals without the hassle of having my residency choices limited by signing up beforehand.
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No Meat, No Treat
Staff member
10+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2005
Attending Physician
If you want to be career military, and you want to be a physician, then HPSP is a great way to go. If both of those statements are not true, then hellz to the no.


no longer apathetic
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2007
Attending Physician
Asking here cause you're scared of the .mil forum? It's not about life as a resident, Uncle Sam gets his during your time as an attending.


10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
Fellow [Any Field]
I have friends that are being 'required' to take GMO years to work out their commitment prior to actually doing the specialty they want. I have friends in peds who are forced to do adult medicine (avoiding that is the whole reason to do peds in the first place...) because they will have to be able to triage anyone that comes in. None of this even gets at the limited locations you can do residency in the military, or the requirement for moving wherever Uncle Sam wants you afterwards.

No amount of debt is worth it to me. But if you are interested in serving in the military, it is a decent program. As others have mentioned, if you end up doing primary care, it's essentially a wash.
Sep 29, 2014
Medical Student
With certain specialties, the best option for going military is actually to join after you finish residency. I can't find the page anymore, but signing bonuses range from 100k-300k+. Financially, though, it's better to just live on a little more $$ than when you were a resident and push the rest into your loans. Unless you have a truly sizable post-residency debt (400k+), you'll be paid off within 5-7 years.


Ether Man
10+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2007
The ivory tower.
Attending Physician
I took the scholarship, lost quite a bit of money on the deal (~400k), and have no regrets. Serving in the military was a great honor and one I'm very proud to have done. If I had joined for the money, it would have been a horrendous decision.
People absolutely join for the money, but that's a recipe for misery and regret.