Negotiability: ADSC/MSO and Student Loan Repayment

  1. Hello!

    Thank you in advance for any advice, honesty, and positivity in responses.

    Straight to the question: Is there any bargaining/negotiating power when it comes to the Air Force offering an Operating Room Nurse the HPLRP (Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment) with a standard 8 year MSO, within that being 3 year Active Duty Service commitment?

    They offered me one installment of a loan repayment - $40,000 (taxable) for 3 year ADSC, or $80,000 for a 4 year ADSC. When I had applied, I understood it to be something that you applied for while active and could get approved for up to a maximum of 3 year loan repayment totaling $120,000 (taxable). Also, if there isn't any negotiating power, I would opt of the 3 year ADSC/$40,000 repayment, and would hope to likely get offered the HPLRP for retainment purposes at the end of the 3 years.
    I know that the OR is one of the most understaffed nursing categories in the Military. (The army was offering sign-on bonuses, etc, but I was set on AirForce) So much so that after not getting enough OR nurses for the January board application, the Air Force added an April boards, which I was selected for.

    My Background I am single and have been living in NYC for 15 years. I will be 36 years old in August. I have been an OR nurse for 2 years. (with a specialization in Spine surgery) It is my first hospital nursing job. The military is pushing for me to start in August, but scroll might not get approved till late september. Assignment location is Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas. I am excited! but it's also a little scary too.

    side note: Although the application process seemed so long, now because of recent life event that caused financial strain, Im worried about going so soon (august) to Air Force. I was hoping to load up on OT at my current job which as it is, is like triple the amount Id get paid in Military...

    Thanks again everyone!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   jeckrn
    For the most part there is no negotiating when you join the services. What the recruiters can offer is set by law and higher commands.

    Look into what type of yearly bonus the AF offers and then decided which program is the best for you.

    When you look at pay you need to look at non-taxed money, housing and food and benefits you do not have to pay for along with the cost of living.

    If you come in as a 1st LT (O2) your base will be $3496.50, housing $1536.00, food allowance $253.63 for a total of $ 5286.13 per month. Of this you will only pay taxes on your base salary; with the tax advantage your monthly income would be equivalent of roughly $5900 per month or $70,000/year depending on your tax rates. No add what is taking out of your check for insurance, medical co-pays, mandatory retirement contributions etc.

    $70k per year in San Antonio would need to make $180k to live the same.

    The house amounts are for without dependents, if you have any you can add roughly $200 per month to it. The military also has scheduled wage increases based on your years of service. As you advance in rank your pay and housing will also increase.
  4. by   jfratian
    He's a 100% right. You can google cost of living calculators and double check what he's saying; the better ones compare your wage in one city to what you would need to see the same standard of living in another. The 'high' wages of NYC are really just a joke in my opinion. You'd have a much higher quality of life making significantly less in many other places as a nurse. There really are few places where you can enjoy a higher standard of living as a nurse than in the military, especially in the long-run. There are obvious catches of course. I can almost guarantee you will deploy at least once in your time at San Antonio as an OR nurse.

    No, there is no negotiating. It's a yes or no answer.
  5. by   RenaissanceGal
    jeckrn, BSN and jfratian, BSN, RN

    Thank you both for the honest info!
    As for bonus, I wonder if they have yearly bonuses? I do know that the AirForce does not have a sign-on bonus, Army does.
  6. by   jfratian
    The AF does have retention bonuses for most nurses (OR, ER, ICU, OB, Med/surg, Psych) : essentially you will get up to $20K/year for a 4 year deal. However, you typically can't apply for that until you are in the last year of your current contract. There are some requirements and strings attached for taking the money, but those would be best discussed one on one.

    I believe the Army has something similar. However, the specialties that are covered may be different.

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