Military Student Loan Forgiveness for Physicians

The College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) is the primary student loan repayment program that gives guidance to all branches of the military for their individual programs. Each military branch is allowed to decide how much it offers. For all of the programs below, your loans will need to be federal and not in default. 

 

It’s important to confirm, before signing up for any of these programs, if you are typically required to waive any benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill. If you are required to waive the Montgomery GI Bill, be sure to compare the benefits of each program carefully before making your decision. 

 

There are a few other programs that aren’t exactly student loan assistance programs that could impact your student loans. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which was passed by the Bush Administration in 2003 sets an interest rate cap of 6% on all debt that was incurred before enlisting in the military. Creditors are required to retroactively credit overcharges. With many student loan rates hovering around 5-7%, you may see a credit due to this law. 

 

While on active duty in an area of hostility, your federal student loans could qualify for a 0% interest rate. You can apply after serving in a hostile area and have the interest charges changed retroactively. 

 

National Defense Student Loan Discharge (NDSLD)

The National Defense Student Loan Discharge (NDSLD) is only for borrowers with National Defense Student Loans or Perkins Loans. 

 

To have your loans discharged, you’ll need to complete at least one year of full service while deployed to a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area.

 

To submit an application, you’ll send a copy of your DD214 military discharge form and an explanation of why you qualify for the program to your loan servicer. 

 

Veterans Student Loan Forgiveness for Total and Permanent Disability

The Department of Education has a standard policy of discharging the federal student loans of borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled (TPD). 

 

To qualify, you’ll need documentation from one of three sources:

  • the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • a physician

 

As a veteran, you can provide documentation from the VA that shows you have received a VA disability determination due to a service-connected disability that is 100% disabling or are totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating.

 

There are other documentation source options, which can be found here on the Department of Education’s website for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge. 

 

To apply for a TPD discharge, visit disabilitydischarge.com, and select “Application Process.”

 

Once you apply, your student loan payments should stop for 120 days to give time for the application to be processed. 

 

You can contact Nelnet by email at disabilityinformation@nelnet.net and by phone at 1-888-303-7818 for more information on the TPD discharge application process. 

 

Air Force Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

The Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) is a scholarship for medical school students who commit to serving in the Air Force. 

 

You’ll need to apply for this scholarship in the fall of the year prior to attending medical school. If you are already in medical school, you can apply immediately for a 3-year scholarship. 

 

To apply, you’ll need to be accepted or enrolled in a medical school accredited by either the Association of American Medical Colleges (MD schools) or American Osteopathic Association (DO schools). You’ll also need to be a US citizen. Here is additional information about the application process

 

To be accepted, you will need a 3.2 GPA and a 500 MCAT, with a minimum score of 124 on each section. 

 

Once in the program, you won’t be expected to wear your uniform to class. 

 

While in medical school, you won’t be “called-up” to service so you can focus on your studies. As an HPSP student, you are a reservist.

 

As a reservist, you will be expected to participate in specialized military training programs designed to help orient participants to AF medicine; these are known as ADTs.

 

ADT orders are for 45 days each year of participation in the program. During this time you will attend training programs that last from 2-5 weeks. 

 

The first ADT will be to attend COT at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL, where HPSP participants receive practical instruction and training on their role as an AF Medical Officer. Before this ADT, you will be required to be physically qualified for commissioning as an Air Force officer, meeting AF Fitness Standards while on Active Duty, and passing the fitness test at the start of COT.

 

HPSP students also attend Aerospace Medicine Primary Course to gain an understanding of medicine in the Air Force and their connection to the Air Force Mission. During the remaining ADTs, medical students will do clinical rotations at one of our 9 AF teaching facilities around the country.

 

You will be required to join the Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board (JSGMESB) at the beginning of their final year of medical school. This is similar to any other matching program but is specific to service members. The Air Force has residency and fellowship training program opportunities in 84 different specialties at 9 Air Force training locations. However, some participants will be selected to participate in civilian residency programs. 

 

By applying and accepting the scholarship, you are committing to 3 years as an active duty staff physician, or 1 year per each year you receive a scholarship (whichever is greater). This time does not include time spent in a military residency or fellowship program.

 

If you meet the requirements each year, your full tuition, required fees, books, and other educational fees are covered at any accredited US medical school. Also, while in school, you will receive an annual salary of roughly $28,000 which includes: a monthly stipend of $2,391.60 (as of  Fall 2019) for 10 ½ months and Second Lieutenant military and travel pay for the remaining 45 days, during their active duty tour (ADT).

 

There is a $20,000 signing bonus for students who receive a 4 year AF HPSP scholarship

 

If you would like to learn more about the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), here is their contact information: 

 

AF Physician Education Branch website

 

HQ AFPC / DP2NP

Physician Education Branch

550 C Street West, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas 78150-4727

 

Toll-Free: 833-876-5701

Commercial: 210-565-2638

DSN: 665-2638

 

Email: AFPC.DP2NP.PhysicianEducation@us.af.mil

Col. Michael Forgione, Chief: michael.forgione@us.af.mil

Mr. David Zemkosky, Deputy Chief: david.zemkosky.1@us.af.mil

 

GME Program Managers (assisting customers by last name):

SSgt. Alyssa Bambach (B, D-J): alyssa.bambach@us.af.mil

SSgt. Allyson Terrell (C, K-P): allyson.terrell@us.af.mil

Mr. Matthew Kush (A, Q-Z): matthew.kush@us.af.mil

 

Air Force Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)

The Air Force Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP) offers student loan repayment for active-duty medical professionals. 

 

The maximum loan repayment is $40,000 per year for up to two years. This repayment amount is reduced by about 28 percent in federal income taxes, which are taken out prior to lender repayment because this benefit is considered taxable income. 

 

More information on this program and its application process can be found on myPers. 

 

Army Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Army College Loan Repayment Program 

This program by the Army repays student loan debt for participants who are serving in an eligible MOS and achieved a minimum score of 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). 

 

The maximum benefit is the greater of 33.3% of your outstanding student loan balance or $1,500 each year, up to a limit of $65,000. If your loans are 33.3% of their original balance, they will be paid in full. Accrued interest, fines, penalties, and processing fees are excluded from repayment. 

 

Participants must agree to serve a 3 year term to be eligible. 

 

Soldiers must waive enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill if they use this program. 

 

For more information, visit the Army’s website for the College Loan Repayment Program

 

Army Reserve College Loan Repayment Program

This program by the Army repays student loan debt for participants who are serving in an eligible MOS and achieved a minimum score of 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). 

 

The maximum benefit is the greater of 15% of your outstanding student loan balance or $1,500 each year, up to a limit of $20,000. Accrued interest, fines, penalties, and processing fees are excluded from repayment. 

 

Participants must agree to serve a 6 year term to be eligible. 

 

Soldiers must waive enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill if they use this program. 

 

For more information, visit the Army Reserve’s website for the College Loan Repayment Program or contact the RCMS helpdesk at 1-800-339-0473. 

 

National Guard College Loan Repayment Program

This student loan repayment program by the National Guard repays up to $20,000 of a service member’s student loans. You’ll need to achieve a minimum score of 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) and serve in an eligible MOS to qualify. 

 

The maximum benefit is the greater of 15% of your outstanding student loan balance or $1,500 each year, up to a limit of $20,000. Accrued interest, fines, penalties, and processing fees are excluded from repayment. 

 

For more information, visit the Army National Guard’s website for the College Loan Repayment Program or contact the RCMS helpdesk at 1-800-339-0473. 

 

Navy Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Navy Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP)

The Navy Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers full-tuition plus a monthly stipend of at least $2,300 per month and a $20,000 signing bonus. You’ll need to commit to a 3 or 4-years of service as a Navy physician. 

 

The best time to apply for this scholarship is in the early spring of the year you plan to start attending medical school. If you are already in your first year of medical school, you can apply immediately for a 3-year scholarship. 

 

To apply, you’ll need to be accepted or enrolled in a medical school accredited by either the Association of American Medical Colleges (MD schools) or American Osteopathic Association (DO schools). You’ll also need to be a US citizen. 

 

The average successful applicant has a GPA of 3.65 and an MCAT of 507.

 

While in medical school, you won’t be “called-up” to service so you can focus on your studies. As an HPSP student, you are a reservist.

 

As a reservist, you will be expected to participate in specialized military training programs designed to help orient participants to AF medicine; these are known as ADTs.

 

ADT orders are for 45 days each year of participation in the program. During this time you will attend training programs that last from 2-5 weeks. 

 

The first ADT will be to attend Officer Development School (ODS). Subsequent ADT’s will vary by participant. 

 

You will be required to join the Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board (JSGMESB) at the beginning of their final year of medical school. This is similar to any other matching program but is specific to service members. Some participants will be selected to participate in civilian residency programs. 

 

There is a 3-year commitment as an active duty staff physician, or 1 year per each year you receive a scholarship (whichever is greater). 

 

This time does not include time spent in a military residency or fellowship program. However, during your first year of residency, you will have the option to apply for ‘straight-through’ residency training or apply for a position as a general medical officer (GMO). Participants who choose the ‘straight-through’ residency will begin to complete their service obligation after graduating residency. Those who choose to serve as a GMO will have the time served as a GMO count towards their training obligation.

 

If you meet the requirements each year, your full tuition, required fees, books, and other educational fees are covered at any accredited US medical school. Also, while in school, you will receive an annual salary of roughly $28,000 which includes: a monthly stipend of $2,391.60 (as of Fall 2019) for 10 ½ months and military and travel pay for the remaining 45 days, during their active duty tour (ADT).

 

There is a $20,000 signing bonus for students who receive a 4 year Navy HPSP scholarship

 

If you would like to learn more about the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), read this FAQ booklet or email MedicalVIP.fct@navy.mil.

 

Navy Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

This program by the Navy repays student loan debt for participants who are enlisted in an LRP-qualifying rating and achieved a minimum score of 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). 

 

The maximum benefit is the greater of 33.3% of your outstanding student loan balance or $1,500 each year, up to a limit of $65,000. If your loans are 33.3% of their original balance, they will be paid in full. Accrued interest, fines, penalties, and processing fees are excluded from repayment. 

 

You can request to apply for this program via PRIDE. Loan repayment begins after one year of service. 

 

Participants in this program are not eligible for the Navy College Fund (NCF), even if it is available for their rating. 

 

For more information, read this guide to the Navy Loan Repayment Program

 

Ryan Inman