August 4th, 2009 Jamie
My sweetie and I have found the entire medical school admissions process so far to be both fascinating and terrifying, especially when it comes to working out the numbers. There’s really no way around it: medical school is crazy expensive.
Just to give you a brief picture, I want to share some numbers from AspiringDocs.org, a website created by the Association of American Medical Colleges (also called the AAMC; they’re the ones who put on the beloved MCAT).
Average 1st Year In-State Public Medical School Tuition: $22,199
or Average 1st Year In-State Private Medical School Tuition: $39,964
Average Other Expenses (Living, etc.): $18,000
Yikes, right? That is a grand total of between $40,199 and $57,964 per year. I’ll let you go ahead and multiply that by four yourself if you want to think about how big that number is. I certainly don’t.
Considering Military Scholarships
Looking at that grand total four-year number took our breath away. We both still have some student loans from undergrad to pay off, and adding a potential $200,000 plus to those was absolutely unthinkable.
We had both known about the military medical scholarships, but it had never seemed appealing before. However, we decided to do a little research, just to see what it was all about. My husband ended up pursuing a scholarship with the Air Force, but it took a lot of consideration. Let me break down all that the scholarship entails for you.
The Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program
First, fancy disclaimer: I am not a member of the Air Force, paid by the Air Force to endorse this program, or any kind of expert on military scholarship programs. We’ve simply gone through the process and done a lot of research, so don’t bank on me as your only source, and I apologize if I got anything wrong. If you’re considering these, you need to make sure you get all the facts for yourself. Okay. That’s it.
Okay, so the basics of the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) are as follows:
- 45 days of active-duty service per year (usually during summer break), for which you get paid a salary and entitlements,
- One year of post-residency service as a doctor for every year of school the HPSP paid for (so if you got a four-year scholarship, you serve for four years).
You have to be fully qualified to get all the perks of the HPSP, but if you are eligible…
During School You Get:
- Fully paid
- Tuition (in-state or out-of-state, public or private school),
- Books, and
- Various other educational expenses, as approved by the program,
- A stipend for monthly living expenses during the school year,
- Payment for your annual 45 days of service, and
- Insurance coverage (as approved),
- A substantial signing bonus the first year (three and four-year scholarships only, as approved).
After School and Residency You Get:
- A job as an Air Force doctor (any time you’re guaranteed a job is good!),
- The option to list your top choices for service locations (potential to work abroad as a doctor could be cool!),
- A salary (Obviously. And salary range varies by specialty),
- Paid housing,
You also have the option of going into civilian practice after your service commitment is up, or staying in the Air Force and retiring, with a pension, after about 25 years of service–not bad.
It is definitely a personal decision however, so if you want to learn more you can contact an Air Force recruiter, or look in to the other HPSPs offered by different military branches.