For students who want to return to school to earn medical, dental, or veterinary degrees or those who already have such a degree and want to join the military, there are financial incentives. Typically, money is exchanged for a service commitment. The military will pay tuition or repay loans in exchange for a commitment to a specified number of years of military service.


Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program

Students who want to return to school for graduate-level medical fields programs may be eligible to participate in the Health Professions Scholarship Program for up to four years. The Army, Air Force, and Navy will provide significant financial aid to scholarship recipients in exchange for service commitments. For every year that a student receives the scholarship, they will add a year to their service commitment. The minimum service obligation is three years.

  • Award amount: This scholarship provides 100% of tuition and fees for students pursuing graduate-level health care degrees at accredited U.S. schools. Additionally, required books and equipment are covered, and students receive monthly stipends of at least $2,000, housing allowances, and food allowances. Some medical and dental students may be eligible for $20,000 signing bonuses.
  • Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens who have bachelor’s degrees from accredited institutions and be enrolled full-time in accredited graduate programs in the United States or Puerto Rico in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, psychiatric nursing, optometry, or psychology.
  • For more information, click on your branch of service or contact a recruiter:

Financial Assistance Program

The Financial Assistance Program applies only to doctors and dentists who are in their residencies. Participants will receive tuition, monthly living stipends, books, and additional annual grants of $45,000. This program lasts for up to four years.

Members of the Air Force will incur a one year service commitment for each year of participation in the program, plus one additional year. To learn about the service commitment for members of the Army or Navy, contact a recruiter.

Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

This program (Army, Navy) provides an incentive for qualified health care professionals to join the military or to re-enlist with the military after completing initial service commitments. The military will pay off a portion of qualified medical education loans in return for an active duty service commitment. Contact a recruiter for more information, particularly if you are a member of the Air Force, as not all programs are described online.

  • Award amount: This program will repay up to $40,000 annually in qualified federal loans, minus income tax. (Loan repayment is considered taxable income.) Qualified loans include Direct Loans, health professions education loans made under the Public Health Service Act, and loans guaranteed and insured by educational or financial institutions.
  • Eligibility: This program is open to commissioned health professions officers who took out loans to complete their medical education as well as students in their final year of medical school at accredited schools. Participants must agree to serve the greater of two years on active duty or one year on active duty for each year of repayment, though the minimal commitment depends on the medical field. Non-prior service participants will incur eight-year service commitments.
    • Students who are receiving or have received financial assistance through the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program or the Financial Assistance Program are ineligible.

Page last updated: 12/2016