What Counts Toward Retirement As an HPSP Student?

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The F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program, better known as HPSP, is a scholarship designed to help recruit military personnel to work in a medical capacity within the forces. The student is classed as military staff during the period of study and military training, but this time is not counted towards the years of service that determine military retirement benefit entitlements.

Program

  • The HPSP is a military scholarship that helps fund students through a degree in a medical program. As well as general medicine, eligible programs include dentistry, optometry, psychology and veterinary studies. The scholarship pays the full costs of the course fees and the cost of books and equipment and provides a monthly stipend and a signing bonus.

Obligations

  • A student taking up the scholarship is required to spend one year on active duty for each one year of the course after the course is completed. During breaks on the course, the student takes part in army medical training, receiving officer's pay for this time. During this training period, the student will normally be considered a second lieutenant, though those enrolled through the Navy will be considered an ensign.

Retirement Savings

  • Neither the time the student spends on the course, nor the time the student spends on army training during course breaks counts towards years of service in determining army retirement benefits. The mandatory active service period after graduation will count towards years of service.

Other Financial Benefits

  • Although the student does not receive credit towards retirement benefit for the time spent in study and training before graduation, the scholarship period will boost starting pay. After graduation, the student will begin the active service on the pay grade 0-3, which is captain rank in the Army, Air Force and Marines, and Lieutenant in the Navy. As of 2011 this means earning a basic pay of $3,711.90 a month, compared with the $2784.00 paid to somebody who enters service at the starting pay grade of 0-1, which is second lieutenant or ensign.

    Military pay is determined by both pay grade and years of service. Somebody who begins active duty after graduating through the scholarship is paid based on zero years of service and thus earns the lowest pay available to somebody of 0-3 grade.

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