Eligibility criteria for HPSP

A reader recently asked me whether she would be a candidate for the Air Force’s Health Professions Scholarship Program. She is an American citizen attending medical school in the Caribbean.

So, today’s post is short, sweet, and to the point. The eligibility criteria for the Air Force’s Health Professions Scholarship Program are:

  • Age 36 or younger on receipt of the scholarship (age 42 or younger on entry to active duty for the Navy)
  • US citizenship
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico
  • On finalization of the application, be accepted to an accredited MD or DO program in the United States or Puerto Rico
  • Able to pass a military physical examination
  • Able to pass a military background check 

Can I get a waiver?

Sometimes you can get a waiver, most commonly for an issue in your medical past. If you medical history isn’t 100% squeaky clean (pretty much, if you have ever seen a doctor for anything but an annual exam), then you will need a waiver. Broke a bone? Waiver. Surgery? Waiver. Even if it is completely healed, you will need to submit proof of this and get it approved. It’s not necessarily a problem, you just have to go through the steps.

Other medical issues can be more problematic, and some are not waiverable. More on this later.

Waivers are also theoretically available if something comes up on your background check, but it seems that in reality they are rarely granted.

I’m told that age waivers are also sometimes granted.



For details of these criteria, and for questions about the waiver process, contact your local medical professions recruiter for your branch of choice.

Can’t make up your mind which branch to choose? Check this out. 

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  • Jasmine

    Hi Indy.

    Once I’m accepted into pharmacy school with my AA/AS am I still eligible for HSPS?

  • Victoria

    Hello, I am applying for the Army HPSP program, and the only concern I have is my height. I’m just about 4’9, and I know that 4’10 is the minimum for getting in. Do you know if they are lenient on this, or provide waivers for height? Thank you for your help.

    • Indy (admin)

      As I understand it, there is such a thing as a height waiver. How easy it is to get a waiver for any condition typically depends on your branch of service and how many other qualified applicants there are. The only way to know is to apply for the waiver and see. Good luck!

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