Medical Student Financing and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program

by Victoria Daubert, Daniel A. Relles, Charles Robert Roll, Jr.

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The principal source of physician procurement for the Department of Defense since the end of the draft has been the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (AFHPSP), authorized in 1972. As a result of subsequent legislation authorizing HEW's National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarships, the competitive position of the AFHPSP had been eroded. This report describes the analysis and presents the results of a 1977 survey of first and second year medical students, carried out in late 1977. The purpose of the research was to identify AFHPSP benefit changes to ensure that the AFHPSP would remain a viable source of physician procurement. The empirical results suggested that after the transition to full NHSC funding, DOD would fall short of its requirements for medical AFHPSP accessions by about 400 students per year. The analysis also suggested that increasing service compensation by about $7,500 (1978 dollars) per year would fill the shortfall. As the empirical evidence has testified, the prediction was accurate.

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