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The HPSP offers 100 percent of the cost of dental school, medical school or qualifying postgraduate school tuition; a sign-on bonus of up to $10,000 for dental school and medical school candidates; and a monthly stipend in excess of $2,200 to cover living expenses for up to four years. Beyond financial assistance, many officers believe HPSP helped them in a multitude of ways—including providing them with life experiences most civilians do not get to experience through their jobs.
“I think one has to look at what they want,” said Capt. Kenneth Bonaparte, MD, senior medical waiver authority for Navy Recruiting Command. “The Navy offers many things that others don’t offer. A person has to be able to look at what they're actually looking for. For instance, a civilian’s experience in the civilian sector. Many don't get to travel. They don't get to sit with the Marines. They don't get to be on a ship. There's some leadership training that I believe the Navy gives that you will not get in the civilian sector. One has to actually look at all of these other factors. It's not the dollar amount that life should be measured by.”
The benefits of this program become evident once one considers the strict parameters of medical school and how those same parameters make funding one’s education difficult if one has to pay for his or her own schooling expenses.
“No medical students are allowed to have jobs outside of school,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Porter, MD, acting program manager for Navy Medicine Accessions Department at Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and an HPSP graduate. “It probably sounds weird, but basically the financial aid packages that you receive as part of being a medical student are built to encompass all of your needs—not just tuition and books. Financial aid packages are there to give you extra money to live on and to have a place to stay. Because medical school is so intense and you're required to be working at the hospitals all the time and studying all the time, you are not allowed to have an outside income source for any kind of work. It was definitely a boon for me to have that HPSP money coming in during my time in medical school.”
When asked what time is the best time to speak to a recruiter, Cmdr. Jennifer Eng-Kulawy, MD, the plans and policy officer for the office of the Medical Corps Chief, offered an approach that involved taking the initiative as early as one can.
“The best time [to speak to a recruiter] is once you've made that firm decision to attend medical school,” said Eng-Kulawy. “I think we've talked to a lot of people who have started really early. If you’re a real go-getter, I think starting when you start applying or at least when you start gathering everything in writing in order to start applying for medical school is the perfect time to apply for HPSP.”
While other military branches also participate in the HPSP, being a part of the Navy has specific advantages unique to the sea-going service.
“Something that I think is a selling point that many people don't realize is that if you come into Navy medicine, you're also serving the Marine Corps,” said Capt. Wayne Smith, MD, head of Medical Corps Assignments at Navy Personnel Command. “Navy medicine takes care of the Marine Corps, so I think that alone is a selling point: You're not just Navy; you're also the Marine Corps. I think of an expeditionary force and readiness when I think of what the Marine Corps is. We have a culture of resiliency.”
Interested personnel who plan to start a career in the medical field should speak to a local recruiter who can help them learn more about applying for the HPSP. This program can help fund a fulfilling career as a nurse, doctor, dentist or another role in the vast medical field via the HPSP.
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, Navy Reserve Recruiting Command and 26 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MyNAVYHR), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).
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