Over 100 applications from veterinary students all over the US are reviewed each year, but only about 30 are offered the scholarship.
If you were one of the fortunate few recipients of the HPSP scholarship, congrats! Welcome to a community of the most dedicated, hard-working, passionate, and patriotic veterinary students in the country. It is a pleasure to serve with you. Click "Read More" to find out what happens for you next.
Unfortunately, the Army is doing away with 2-year HPSP scholarships starting in 2017, meaning if there is no longer a chance to reapply if you were not picked this year. However, there are still ways to become an Army veterinarian without incurring the 8-year contract required by the scholarship! Around graduation time, talk to an AMEDD recruiter about non-HPSP options for joining the Vet Corps: there are Active Duty, Reserves, or civilian opportunities that you should consider. You will still be eligible for the Army HPLRP (health professional loan repayment program) to pay back your veterinary school loans!
The rest of this article is about the next steps for HPSP-VC recipients. First, your recruiter will organize your commissioning date shortly after notification of your scholarship decision. If you have an Army friend or family member who you would like to lead your oath of office, coordinate with that person to pick a date. Otherwise, your recruiter can swear you in.
On commissioning day you will sign many documents, as will the person who is swearing you in will need to sign a few as well. This process takes about an hour, but can take longer if computers don't cooperate or if mistakes on the documents need to be corrected (for example, O-2 pay grade was accidentally typed instead of O-1 on mine, and believe it or not that alone took a little while to get the documents corrected).
You will then need to set up your MODS portal and complete the HPSP Pre-Enrollment. You should get an email in the next few weeks from someone in the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army containing instructions for setting up your MODS portal. Unfortunately, you can only access MODS through a PC on Internet Explorer. It may be helpful to call the MODS helpline: (703) 681-4976.
Once you gain access to MODS, you should familiarize yourself with all the tabs, and read the HPSP Handbook.
You will need to get a CAC ID card. You can set up an appointment through RAPIDS.
After you get your CAC, set up an AKO account.
Later in the summer, the HPSP-VC Coordinator, who is usually also an Army veterinarian, will send out a massive email containing information about ADTs and BOLC (active duty training and basic officer leadership course).
Your stipend will start on the first day of the semester and will be split into two payments from then on; half on the first of the month and half on the 15th.
You will need to go through DCC (direct commissioning course).
You will need to attend BOLC (basic officer leadership course).
You will need to complete 2 other ADTs before you graduate.
Upon graduation, you will move up in rank from 2LT to CPT.
You will participate in Vet Track then go on to participate in the FYGVE (first year graduate veterinary education), which are sort of like internships meant to prepare you for the specific responsibilities you have as an Army veterinarian. Vet Track and FYGVE count towards your reserve service obligation, but NOT your active duty obligation, though you will receive active duty pay during that period. All this information can be found in the 60-page HPSP Handbook, which I highly recommend printing, reading, and annotating!
After FYGVE, you will start your first assignment, which is a 2-year domestic assignment. After that, you will have a 1-year international assignment, then you can choose to do more active duty or finish off your 8 year commitment as a Reservist. During your 8 years scholarship payback, you can do additional Army related training such as Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger, and Special Forces/Ops. You can apply for Army funding to pursue various residencies such as surgery, internal medicine, lab animal medicine, zoo medicine; or a Masters degree in public health or veterinary preventative medicine; or even a Masters degree in International Agricultural Development. Or, maybe you will decide you want to work on biomedical research at USAMRIID!
After fulfilling your 8 year commitment, you are expected to move up or move out. The next step up from CPT is MAJ, which presents a new set of roles and responsibilities in your Army career.
I will be adding and editing this post as I progress through my Army career and veterinary school. Presently, it is correct to the best of my knowledge.
For more great information, check out Dr. Elliot Garber's blog. He is an Army veterinarian who also was HPSP during veterinary school. http://www.elliottgarber.com/faq/#qq