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How to Go to Medical School for Free

From merit-based to military scholarships, here’s how to do medical school without going bankrupt.


[Read about 10 medical schools that lead to the most debt.]

According to Christopher Dillon, a physician recruiting liaison for the Army Medical Command's Medical Recruiting Brigade, the Army represents the largest portion of HPSP: more than 1,100 students at more than 150 medical schools. HPSP pays full tuition, supplies, and fees for any accredited U.S. or Puerto Rican medical school, as well as a monthly stipend of $2,088 for 10 and a half months and a second lieutenant's salary—roughly double the stipend—for the other six weeks.

"If the school requires it to attend, then the scholarship will pay for it," says Dillon, an HPSP recipient in 1985.

Eric Ness, whose studies at UVA are funded by the Air Force, says it's "a very generous deal," though HPSP comes with strings attached. He needs to apply for an Air Force residency after medical school, and he owes the Air Force three years of service to repay the three years of his scholarship.

Dillon, who never expected he'd practice medicine in the Army two decades ago, says the commitment is a good trade. The Army is "very family friendly," and all service members get 30 days of paid vacation per year, he says. "It provides the balance that many young professionals desire in their lives."

Searching for medical schools? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find acceptance statistics, salary data, and much more.