Local News

Springer Journal: Want To Go to Medical School For Free?

Posted August 15, 2006

— Ask almost any doctor you know and he or she will tell you that they left medical school with some incredibly large bills for their education. Generally, these are medical school loans in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that not need be the case for everyone completing medical school.

It's true! You can go to medical school, have all expenses paid and get a stipend each month for personal expenses. If you or a family member or friend qualify for medical school but need financial support to make it happen, read on. If you are a qualified medical school candidate and would rather worry about getting the most out of your education and not have to worry about how to finance that education, read on.

The U.S. Air Force is offering Health Professions Scholarships for terms of one to four years. So, whether you may be thinking about medical school or are already enrolled, there may be a scholarship opportunity for you.

These scholarships are all-inclusive. They pay for tuition and any extra fees that might be required. Things like textbooks, supplies and small equipment items are also covered. And, quite importantly, the Air Force will pay a monthly stipend of more than $1,300 to cover personal living expenses.

Of course, there are a few requirements. You must be a U.S. citizen and accepted at an accredited graduate institution in an appropriate health-training program. You also must agree to serve in the Air Force following your completion of med school. However, considering the tremendous cost the Air Force is covering, the commitment is minimal.

You must agree to serve one year on active duty for each year you were on scholarship, with a minimum three-year commitment. For example, if you had an Air Force-provided scholarship for one, two or three years of medical school, you would have to serve three years on active duty to repay your scholarship. If you had a four-year scholarship, you would have to commit to four years on active duty. You must also serve 45 days on active duty each year while under the scholarship program, and would receive the full pay and allowances of a second lieutenant during this period of active duty.

I have talked with several graduates of this program, and the typical thought expressed was that upon graduation, their big decision was "What type of new car should I buy?" as opposed to "How can I possibly pay off several hundred thousand dollars of medical school loans?"

Getting a free medical school education is just one aspect of this scholarship program. When serving your Air Force and your nation, you will receive the normal pay and allowances of your rank. You will get 30 days paid vacation annually, low-cost life insurance, medical and dental care for you and your family, tax-free housing allowance and an excellent retirement plan should you choose to stay for a career.

There are many other benefits that most med school graduates would love to have offered to them. As an Air Force physician, you will have no start-up expenses, no staff salaries to be concerned with, no equipment to buy, no malpractice insurance and no insurance claims to file. And you will receive great pleasure and satisfaction from serving the health needs of our active duty airmen and their families, as well as serving the growing needs of the retired military community. With military health care, all patients are treated according to their needs, not according to their ability to pay.

If this information has piqued your interest in a free medical school education and a desire to serve in the U.S. Air Force, or if it may be of interest to other family or friends, please go online to

www.airforce.com

and select "Healthcare Opportunities." You can also call or visit an Air Force recruiter near you. They will answer any questions you may have, and they would be pleased to visit with you at your convenience. Another option for information is to call 1-800-423-USAF (8723).

The Air Force Health Professional Scholarship Program is a fantastic opportunity for those who qualify for medical school, but lack the financial resources to attend. It certainly merits a "look-see" by anyone seeking a degree in medicine.

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