Army VA HPSP and Army Reserve MDSSP at same time? And other questions about the programs

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villain-cold

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Hello! I’m currently applying to medical schools and was initially considering doing the Navy HPSP but after going through the pros and cons I realized that military HPSP is not the best option for me since I’m considering a competitive speciality and want to go through the civilian match. However I also don’t want to take out loans so after doing some research I learned about the VA HPSP as well as the MDSSP, and I am planning on applying for both in the near future.

I was wondering if it’s possible to receive both scholarships and utilize both at the same time during medical school? If that could work, then I would pretty much be set in terms of finances during school.

Also, I have already gone to MEPS (twice) for Navy HPSP and although I still have to do my interviews in order for my application to be complete, i was wondering what the army reserve MDSSP application process is like, comparatively? For context, I don’t currently hold any acceptances to medical schools but hopefully that will change come March Day (I’m in TX)! Specifically, are there any essays or references required for AR MDSSP? How long does the whole process take if I were to contact a recruiter next week?

Thanks for the help!

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That seems...complicated. Why not just stick with VA, take out a teeny tiny bit of loans and rely on EDRP after graduation? There's no penalty at the end of life for having taken out a loan (that was rapidly repaid with free money). The VA and DoD work together a lot better than a random private company and the DoD, but they are still very separate agencies. You're really making things tough for yourself before your career even begins. I'd say...pick a lane.
 
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That seems...complicated. Why not just stick with VA, take out a teeny tiny bit of loans and rely on EDRP after graduation? There's no penalty at the end of life for having taken out a loan (that was rapidly repaid with free money). The VA and DoD work together a lot better than a random private company and the DoD, but they are still very separate agencies. You're really making things tough for yourself before your career even begins. I'd say...pick a lane.

I’m Muslim so I’m trying my best to avoid taking out loans if at all possible.
 
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I’m Muslim so I’m trying my best to avoid taking out loans if at all possible.

Confused Gary Coleman GIF
 
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Many contributors to this forum would say that the way the Military recruits its physicians is unjust and exploitive so not sure which is worse...loans or military commitment. I'll let the Muslim scholars debate that one.

I think you have to do you. Hold true to your values but don't let them cause undue burden on yourself as you pursue a career in medicine. If you can't pay cash for the school then you are taking out a loan regardless of which option you choose. One costs money, the other costs you time (and money in the long run). The Military should not be used as a way to avoid "sin" as laid out in the Koran. You will likely find things within the service that you disagree with more than Riba.

Military medicine should only be pursued by those who 100% want to commit to service as a Military Officer. Doctoring comes second.
 
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Omph, this is a very interesting question. I don't know how many Islamic scholars you're going to find here, but for non-Muslims it's still an interesting thought experiment. Let's say you took out the loans with the intent of you never paying interest on them, ie having EDRP pay them off. Would that be halal? If you're living frugally, we are talking about a very small amount of money if you're doing VA HPSP also. Maybe family? The military seems like such a dramatic thing to avoid this. There must be other ways.
 
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Omph, this is a very interesting question. I don't know how many Islamic scholars you're going to find here, but for non-Muslims it's still an interesting thought experiment. Let's say you took out the loans with the intent of you never paying interest on them, ie having EDRP pay them off. Would that be halal? If you're living frugally, we are talking about a very small amount of money if you're doing VA HPSP also. Maybe family? The military seems like such a dramatic thing to avoid this. There must be other ways.

I don’t believe so because interest will start accruing on your loan amount regardless of if you’re getting it paid off by someone else 4+ years later. You are still spending that loan money which is actively getting interest added to it during your 4 years of medical school.

Also I just looked at the VA application and based on one of the eligibility questions (will you have any other service obligations, not including reserve or national guard) it seems that you CAN do both HPSP and MDSSP at the same time, so I think I’m going to pursue that route. Personally I don’t mind working at a VA hospital and drilling with the reserves part time after residency if it means i can go through the civilian match and I can avoid taking out any loans during school.

Plus, With both programs, I’ll be looking at full tuition and fees covered, 1500 annually towards books/supplies, and over 4k monthly stipend.
 

Interesting, so how they buy a house, or a car?

In any case, if it's any consolation to the OP, I consider (and I preach to all HPSP applicants I interview) that HPSP is a contract, not a scholarship (they should strike the word 'scholarship', which implies free money).

And for most purposes, I think it an equal contract on for both parties. (The student avoids a $500K debt, but his/her training is delayed, choice of residency is not guaranteed, etc, military gets an officer for at least 4 years).
 
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You generally want to create the largest payback possible at the beginning. Signing up for 2 govt programs isn’t enough, the more the better. Especially when you haven’t firsthand experienced either of them.

In my opinion, even if the govt pays for all your school you’re still paying ‘interest’ with your life/career back for many many years.

I’m curious, is it okay in Islam to take up arms and fight in the military? But not have interest?
 
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Hi, villain
Did you hear back from the VA HPSP side? I submitted my application on 12/06/23, but I haven't received any status updates yet.
It seems like the VA one is easier to apply to. There don't seem to be as many requirements at the beginning stages as the Army HPSP, just letters of recommendation and school registration information, and then waiting for a response.
 
Hi, villain
Did you hear back from the VA HPSP side? I submitted my application on 12/06/23, but I haven't received any status updates yet.
It seems like the VA one is easier to apply to. There don't seem to be as many requirements at the beginning stages as the Army HPSP, just letters of recommendation and school registration information, and then waiting for a response.

Hey, no I haven’t because I’m still waiting to hear back from schools (I haven’t been accepted to a med school yet). I remember the application saying the processing takes a month but I’m guessing the holidays delayed it a bit so I think you’ll probably hear back sometime late January-early February

Also I agree that it’s easier to apply to for sure.
 
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Keep updating this thread as you process, please. I'm interested in looking into this as well.
 
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Keep updating this thread as you process, please. I'm interested in looking into this as well.

For sure! Still waiting for an acceptance lol, fingers crossed for match day here in Texas (Feb 16). Planning to submit my app the same day if I match somewhere.
 
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Hey all! Fortunate to have received an A this past Friday through the TMDSAS match! I was filling out the VA HPSP application and I am posting the four required essay questions here for people's convenience (since you have to progress through 56% of the application to get to the prompts...):

Essay 1: Why do you want to participate in the scholarship program for which you are applying? (250 words max)

Essay 2: What are your short-range (less than five years) and long-range (between five and ten years) career goals? (250 words max)

Essay 3: How will your personal characteristics, experiences and career goals help meet the health needs of Veterans? (250 words max)

Essay 4: If you are applying for a medical school scholarship, what specialties are you considering and why? (250 words max)

Also, I'm planning to submit the application ASAP and will keep y'all updated on my status.
 
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Hey all! Fortunate to have received an A this past Friday through the TMDSAS match! I was filling out the VA HPSP application and I am posting the four required essay questions here for people's convenience (since you have to progress through 56% of the application to get to the prompts...):

Essay 1: Why do you want to participate in the scholarship program for which you are applying? (250 words max)

Essay 2: What are your short-range (less than five years) and long-range (between five and ten years) career goals? (250 words max)

Essay 3: How will your personal characteristics, experiences and career goals help meet the health needs of Veterans? (250 words max)

Essay 4: If you are applying for a medical school scholarship, what specialties are you considering and why? (250 words max)

Also, I'm planning to submit the application ASAP and will keep y'all updated on my status.
Did you end up submitting? Also did you apply for MDSSP? Thanks!
 
Did you end up submitting? Also did you apply for MDSSP? Thanks!
Yes I did submit the initial application and have gotten all of my references, transcripts, etc. uploaded except for the academic verification. Once that's submitted by my school's dean, then I can submit my "final package" which then takes a month to process.
 
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