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Good Morning fellow veterans,

Here is some information I received regarding the VA scholarship for 2020. 

The application will open again around March 2020. The list of specific programs of study that HPSP will target in 2020 are Nursing (All Levels), Pharmacy, Diagnostic Radiological Technicians, Physician Assistants, and Medical Technologists. 

To qualify for this Scholarship Program, you must be a U.S. citizen, unconditionally accepted for enrollment or currently enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree as determined by the Scholarship Program office just prior to the application opening. These occupations are determined by evaluating the VA Workforce Succession Plan and then targeting the Top 5 Title 38/Hybrid Title 38 hard to recruit/retain occupations in the VA. After completion of your education, you must serve as a full-time clinical VA employee for a minimum of two years for HPSP. If you are under a service obligation to serve at another entity or obligated under any other Federal program, you will be ineligible for the HPSP Scholarship Award. 
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HPSP is federally regulated to target those in their last 1 year of academics but offers scholarship up to 3-years. Selections of those requiring more than 2-years of support are few.  
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HPSP are not retroactive payment programs. Payments start Fall Semester 2020. If you graduate before the Fall Semester of 2020, you will not be eligible for this scholarship.
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As part of the acceptance into HPSP, the applicant must sign a mobility agreement stating that they are willing to relocate at their own expense for placement at the discretion of VA. 

We encourage an active participation in the placement process by encouraging the participant to apply for positions in USAJobs as the HPSP staff work to market the participant nationally within the student's perspective occupation. All during the placement process, the staff is also seeking residency opportunities for the student. The placement is a collaborative effort between the HPSP Placement/Residency staff and the graduating student. For HPSP students, this collaboration also includes occupational specialty considerations. 
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For HPSP, we top off any existing grants and scholarship up to 100% tuition and approved fees. There is also a monthly stipend of $1,114 while you are in school as well as a once a year stipend of $1,125 for books. If you are a current full time Federal Employee, you will not qualify to receive the monthly stipend is selected. If you are receiving the GI Bill, this program will only supplement what you are receiving, and you can receive both the GI Bill monthly stipend and the HPSP monthly stipend concurrently.
 

Clinical Tour: (HPSP Only): Applicant must be willing to perform a clinical tour, at a VA healthcare facility, while the participant is enrolled in the course of education or training for which a scholarship is awarded.  The student is responsible to contact the school's clinical tour coordinator to determine the assignment and location of the clinical tour. The intent of the clinical tour requirement is not to add an additional burden onto the student but to exchange a current curriculum requirement with a VA Clinical.  If there are no existing affiliations or if space availability is an issue, please notify the scholarship team.
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Residencies (non-Medical School Students) are authorized, and you would have to request a Service Obligation Deferment.  After graduation, you can defer your service obligation till the residency is complete. You will incur an additional ½ the residency time to the service obligation. For example, if you graduate and owe 2-years to the VA, and then take a 1-year residency, you will incur and additional 6-months service obligation making your total service obligation 2 years and 6 months. If the residency is with the VA, the time in the residency does not count towards your service obligation and the additional time incurs as previously mentioned. Right now, only residencies of 1-year or less are being approved prior to the onset of the student Service Obligation.

Edited by KKandG
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Thank you for the post. As far as assignment is there a preference list that the applicant can request? I'm a prior service veteran and I'm planning on applying in March when this opens. Thanks and Cheers!

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I have looked into this scholarship recently and am also interested to know if there is a "preference list." Moving to a nearby state would not be unreasonable but the potential to move across the country at the whim of the VA might place this opportunity out of reach for me due to family constraints. I also have not found a contact within the VA for this program... Anyone else look into this or find a contact person?

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I reached out to an HR person for the VA and they directed me to this email. Please let me know what you find out in regards to the "preference list". HPSPTeam@va.gov 

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Thank you for the information.  This is more insight than I've found anywhere else.  I will be following this thread closely.  I am a disabled vet, with 5 years active duty service, and another 2 years working in the civil service before I resigned my position to pursue becoming a PA.  I start my PA program in the Fall semester, 2020.  I have a strong interest in working for the VA regardless of the scholarship, but will definitely be pursuing it.  

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For your awareness VA does allow you to have up to 6 choices for location. According to my research they suggest you select areas instead of specific hospitals e.g. south Mississippi.

Here is a link for more info. https://www.vacareers.va.gov/Content/Documents/Print/VACareers_HPSP_Info_12_2019.pdf

One more thing, if you have a disability of at least 20% you may qualify for Voc Rehab. This program pays for all of your tuition, books and supplies. There are a lot of resources on YouTube and Facebook. I suggest "Iamnicthevet" on YouTube.

Edited by KKandG
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22 hours ago, sandiegoliving said:

I am a 2019 recipient of this scholarship, for those who have questions.  

I have a few questions, if you don't mind!

Were you just starting your program when you applied for the scholarship or were you in your second year? 

Where did you attend PA school?

What were your stats? 

Are you currently working for the VA and if so, how is it? lol

Sorry for all the questions, just very interested in the opportunity 🙂 

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On 2/21/2020 at 11:06 AM, sandiegoliving said:

I am a 2019 recipient of this scholarship, for those who have questions.  

Hi, I have a couple questions as well. 

Are there essays? If so, what prompts did you have to answer?

 

How many/what types (academic, professional, etc.) of references/letters of recommendation did you have to provide?

 

Were you required to work in a VA facility while enrolled?

Edited by FuturePA421

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On 2/22/2020 at 8:02 AM, HopefulPSUPA said:

I have a few questions, if you don't mind!

Were you just starting your program when you applied for the scholarship or were you in your second year? 

Where did you attend PA school?

What were your stats? 

Are you currently working for the VA and if so, how is it? lol

Sorry for all the questions, just very interested in the opportunity 🙂 

I sorry the one thing I should have clarified is that I am in NP school, this was one of the only blogs I could find where people were talking about this program.  It generally will apply the same. So I will answer those that apply:

I was accepted already into school.  I had to switch from part-time to full time in order to apply for this.  I received a 2 year scholarship and my program is two years.  I do not work at the VA, but I do work at a military hospital. I am also a Navy Reservist.  I am currently doing my clinicals at the VA, which I set up myself.  So far so good, their EMR is challenging, but they are upgrading to Genesis here soon at some point this year.

I know many think you have to be a veteran to apply to this, but you do not.  The ranking may play a part for overall points which veterans may get a slight edge. I was not selected until the third round of selections, so definitely worthwhile to apply.

Hope it helps

Edited by sandiegoliving
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6 hours ago, FuturePA421 said:

Hi, I have a couple questions as well. 

Are there essays? If so, what prompts did you have to answer?

 

How many/what types (academic, professional, etc.) of references/letters of recommendation did you have to provide?

 

Were you required to work in a VA facility while enrolled?

There are three essays.  I can't quite remember, I can look when I get home from work, but they had to be 300 words are less.  So they are pretty short, which I found fairly challenging to do for some reason.  

I had one academic reference letter, essentially the head of my program, but I don't think they are specific to that.  I also did my current supervisor.  Initially I sent three, but was told I can only do two.

I am not required to work there nor required to have clincials there.  I do think it would be to your advantage of course.  I believe it is the same as NP, but you will do a one year residency program after your graduate.  2019 recipients have the choice to do this or not.  For this year selections (2020) though there is no choice, a residency program will be mandatory.  I have a two year commitment to the VA, the residency year does not count.  In choosing the residency route, you owe 1/2 of the length of time of the residency back to the VA.  So I owe 2.5 years.  I am unsure of PA time commitments or residencies, but maybe a PA HPSP recipient can speak to this. 

For the residency there are only specific VA's that have this program set up.  I think we got a list of around 12 cities.  It is possible this may update before I graduate. You are allowed to change your selection before you graduate and you list your top 6 choices.  I know they are taking city selections for 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduates.  So moving will a high possibility.  They had city selections from West Coast to the East Coast, no specific area of the U.S. was targeted.  Your residency year you don't receive an actual salary, but a stipend which is comparable more than likely to a new graduate salary.  This may have something to do with if you receive an actual salary, then you become a VA employee, maybe in case there are issues? I am not sure why.  You will also receive vacation, sick days, medical insurance and dental.  If you are a government employee such as myself or already a VA employee essentially your current status freezes.  When you are done and become a VA employee, then all of this re-starts, you will keep all your vacation, sick and accrual rates, TSP etc.  

Overall I think it is an amazing program, the administrators of the HPSP scholarship are outstanding and I have zero complaints about the process so far.  Residency is a huge advantage over your other classmates who may not have the same opportunity.  Get your school paid for, receive a monthly tax free stipend (around $1200) and book money.  You cannot beat it.

P.S. Also if you are a federal employee you are not eligible for the stipend. 

Edited by sandiegoliving
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48 minutes ago, sandiegoliving said:

I sorry the one thing I should have clarified is that I am in NP school, this was one of the only blogs I could find where people were talking about this program.  It generally will apply the same. So I will answer those that apply:

I was accepted already into school.  I had to switch from part-time to full time in order to apply for this.  I received a 2 year scholarship and my program is two years.  I do not work at the VA, but I do work at a military hospital. I am also a Navy Reservist.  I am currently doing my clinicals at the VA, which I set up myself.  So far so good, their EMR is challenging, but they are upgrading to Genesis here soon at some point this year.

I know many think you have to be a veteran to apply to this, but you do not.  The ranking may play a part for overall points which veterans may get a slight edge. I was not selected until the third round of selections, so definitely worthwhile to apply.

Hope it helps

Thank you! 

Do you mind providing your stats from when you applied for the scholarship? 

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3 hours ago, sandiegoliving said:

There are three essays.  I can't quite remember, I can look when I get home from work, but they had to be 300 words are less.  So they are pretty short, which I found fairly challenging to do for some reason.  

I had one academic reference letter, essentially the head of my program, but I don't think they are specific to that.  I also did my current supervisor.  Initially I sent three, but was told I can only do two.

I am not required to work there nor required to have clincials there.  I do think it would be to your advantage of course.  I believe it is the same as NP, but you will do a one year residency program after your graduate.  2019 recipients have the choice to do this or not.  For this year selections (2020) though there is no choice, a residency program will be mandatory.  I have a two year commitment to the VA, the residency year does not count.  In choosing the residency route, you owe 1/2 of the length of time of the residency back to the VA.  So I owe 2.5 years.  I am unsure of PA time commitments or residencies, but maybe a PA HPSP recipient can speak to this. 

For the residency there are only specific VA's that have this program set up.  I think we got a list of around 12 cities.  It is possible this may update before I graduate. You are allowed to change your selection before you graduate and you list your top 6 choices.  I know they are taking city selections for 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduates.  So moving will a high possibility.  They had city selections from West Coast to the East Coast, no specific area of the U.S. was targeted.  Your residency year you don't receive an actual salary, but a stipend which is comparable more than likely to a new graduate salary.  This may have something to do with if you receive an actual salary, then you become a VA employee, maybe in case there are issues? I am not sure why.  You will also receive vacation, sick days, medical insurance and dental.  If you are a government employee such as myself or already a VA employee essentially your current status freezes.  When you are done and become a VA employee, then all of this re-starts, you will keep all your vacation, sick and accrual rates, TSP etc.  

Overall I think it is an amazing program, the administrators of the HPSP scholarship are outstanding and I have zero complaints about the process so far.  Residency is a huge advantage over your other classmates who may not have the same opportunity.  Get your school paid for, receive a monthly tax free stipend (around $1200) and book money.  You cannot beat it.

P.S. Also if you are a federal employee you are not eligible for the stipend. 

would you be eligible for the stipend if you're a part time employee or is that a no go as well?

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20 hours ago, HopefulPSUPA said:

Thank you! 

Do you mind providing your stats from when you applied for the scholarship? 

By stats do you mean CGPA, mine was 3.8 or was there something else with that, I would be glad to answer

Edited by sandiegoliving

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17 hours ago, Pharmer123 said:

 

would you be eligible for the stipend if you're a part time employee or is that a no go as well?

Hmm that is a great question actually, I feel like I saw somewhere it said full time government employee, but I am not totally sure. Once you are accepted they will let you know for sure

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@sandiegoliving What year in your schooling did you receive the HPSP scholarship? I'm an incoming first year PA student veteran and have seen some people saying that they take people closer to graduation rather than first year students. Any truth in that? 

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1 hour ago, dietdrpete said:

@sandiegoliving What year in your schooling did you receive the HPSP scholarship? I'm an incoming first year PA student veteran and have seen some people saying that they take people closer to graduation rather than first year students. Any truth in that? 

I started on the scholarship end of last Summer which was my first semester. In my offer letter it states they are paying for both years.  I honestly can't tell you how they go about selecting those for one or two years, but may just be current need and number of applicants for those spots.

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Just a side note, you have to make sure your forms are filled out perfectly. I think the open date is in March, get your stuff in early versus waiting.  They will scrub the forms and let you know of any errors. Making a mistake is pretty easy.  Have your smart friends review your essays.  I do believe they read them and they hold weight in the decision making.  Don't be surprised if they stretch the submission date out, but get it in anyway, just in case.  

Edited by sandiegoliving
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@sandiegoliving

Do you remember and are you allowed to say what the essay questions were?  Or could you offer generic insight?  

Which part of the application do you feel is weighted the most in the selection process?  

What traits do you feel will make applicants stand out in the selection process?  

 

It sounds like you got a great deal out of this scholarship.  Thank you for the information.   

 

Respectfully,

Nick

 

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On 2/24/2020 at 5:35 PM, dietdrpete said:

@sandiegoliving What year in your schooling did you receive the HPSP scholarship? I'm an incoming first year PA student veteran and have seen some people saying that they take people closer to graduation rather than first year students. Any truth in that? 

I am a current PA student with no military background and received a 2019 scholarship. My program is 27 months and I was selected in my first semester, which means I paid for my first semester, but they pay the rest. I think it helped that I am attending a cheaper state school. I am also a dietitian and used that in my essays to show added value if selected. I have no clue how it works after graduation, only that I have to notify them when I am 3 months away from graduation. I am also required to do "some" of my rotations at the VA. Luckily my school is right next to a huge VA center and already has rotations set up there.

Edited by campingchristina

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On 2/24/2020 at 8:00 PM, nicksnick717 said:

@sandiegoliving

Do you remember and are you allowed to say what the essay questions were?  Or could you offer generic insight?  

Which part of the application do you feel is weighted the most in the selection process?  

What traits do you feel will make applicants stand out in the selection process?  

 

It sounds like you got a great deal out of this scholarship.  Thank you for the information.   

 

Respectfully,

Nick

Sorry for the late response, I probably won't include them in case it against the rules, but they are nothing tricky, it is the normal any company asks, why us and long term goals things like that. As far as it what is more weighted, I am not sure, but it did seem like the folks that select do look at your overall presentation. Volunteering, quality of essays, work experience etc. As far as standing out, I would definitely make sure your resume is spot on for job descriptions. Not just a brief or general run down, but a very detailed explanation of what you did. Now I say all this just based on my assumptions, wish I could add more. Best of luck to you! 

 

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On 2/26/2020 at 8:35 AM, campingchristina said:

I am a current PA student with no military background and received a 2019 scholarship. My program is 27 months and I was selected in my first semester, which means I paid for my first semester, but they pay the rest. I think it helped that I am attending a cheaper state school. I am also a dietitian and used that in my essays to show added value if selected. I have no clue how it works after graduation, only that I have to notify them when I am 3 months away from graduation. I am also required to do "some" of my rotations at the VA. Luckily my school is right next to a huge VA center and already has rotations set up there.

Conrats on getting this! The only thing I can add is I am attending a private catholic university that cost $1700 a credit and it was no problem. I think if the VA thinks you are a good choice, cost of school will not play into it. Just my thoughts, best of luck with school!

 

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Hello! The website says the 2020 application cycle should be open in march, and to return on March 1st for details. Does anyone know who to contact or how long we should wait for the application info to be posted? 

Thank you!

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On 2/26/2020 at 11:35 AM, campingchristina said:

I am a current PA student with no military background and received a 2019 scholarship. My program is 27 months and I was selected in my first semester, which means I paid for my first semester, but they pay the rest. I think it helped that I am attending a cheaper state school. I am also a dietitian and used that in my essays to show added value if selected. I have no clue how it works after graduation, only that I have to notify them when I am 3 months away from graduation. I am also required to do "some" of my rotations at the VA. Luckily my school is right next to a huge VA center and already has rotations set up there.

Hello ! What were the materials required for submission aside from the 3 essays? Should I request a copy of my transcript or get letters of recommendation?

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On 3/2/2020 at 1:32 PM, asmith6475 said:

Hello ! What were the materials required for submission aside from the 3 essays? Should I request a copy of my transcript or get letters of recommendation?

Take a deep dive into the VA website. They should have a list of everything you will need to submit. You need transcripts, your current school's fees and tuition, a one page recommendation from your program director and one other person. It is quite a few documents, but they are clear on what you need.

go to usajobs.gov and search for the scholarship. That is how you will apply for it.

Edited by campingchristina

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