Volume 2016, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • E-ISSN: 1999-7094


As the cost of attendance for US medical schools continues to increase faster than inflation, students can turn to alternative sources of funding beyond traditional educational loans. The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) pays for medical students' tuition and fees as well as provides a stipend in exchange for an active-duty service commitment. The aim of this study was to compare the financial impact of an emergency physician joining the military versus taking student loans and going the civilian route. Cash outflows (in the way of annual attendance costs) and cash inflows (in the form of salaries) were discounted using current student loan interest rates and then added together to calculate the net present values (NPVs) of HPSP versus the civilian route. The numbers for all assumptions were taken from the Association of American Medical Colleges, military pay tables, and physician salary surveys. The NPV of the HPSP for a physician with dependents after four years of practice was found to be $576,432, which is slightly higher than the NPV of civilian physicians, calculated to be $573,351 using a nationwide median annual salary of $300,000. HPSP confers an NPV that is $3080 more than when students take the civilian route. However, any alterations in assumptions regarding pay grade, martial status, or years of service will cause great differences in final calculations. Furthermore, the financial impact of taking the scholarship is only one part of the larger decision-making process when considering to join the military.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): income , military personnel , personal financing , salary , scholarships and Student loans
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