Schools unveiling incentive programs in effort to achieve high vaccination rates
The return to college classrooms is right around the corner, and universities are coming up with creative ways to ensure students are vaccinated against COVID-19 upon arrival.
While some colleges are mandating all students and staff be vaccinated, others are instead providing perks and incentives such as scholarships, free tech, parking passes, meal plans, and free housing.
A common deterrent to pursuing higher education, the cost of tuition can be overwhelming. This also makes tuition relief a popular way to incentivize students to get vaccinated.
Missouri State University’s student vaccination incentive program includes a lottery for vaccinated students. One student will win a prize package that includes free tuition for a year and a designated parking spot, among other things.
Indiana University has a similar incentive program, which calls for one lucky student to receive full tuition for a year at a value of up to $11,220.
It may not be as valuable as free tuition, but what sleep-deprived college student couldn’t use a caffeine boost? Universities such as Western Michigan and Texas A&M International are offering vaccinated students Starbucks gift cards with proof of vaccination.
War (Vaccine) Eagle
When it comes to vaccine incentives, Auburn University cut no corners. The school is offering vaccinated students a variety of possible prizes, including a face-time lunch with the university’s president, Jay Gogue, free spray tans for selected student organizations, parking passes in lots usually reserved for faculty and priority registration.
Vaccinated Auburn students looking to get away for the weekend will also be eligible for packages that include a fully loaded camping set-up and a water sports package.
The University of Wisconsin system is taking a hardline stance on vaccination with its “70 for 70” program. Operating 13 universities on 26 campuses, vaccinated students at schools with at least a 70% vaccination rate will be eligible to win one of 70 $7,000 scholarships.
“As we welcome students back to campus this fall, we want their experience to be as normal and safe as we can make it,” University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson said. “That means students should get vaccinated, and we will incentivize it knowing that high vaccination rates are critical to our success. The ‘70 for 70’ campaign is key to helping our universities achieve higher vaccination rates, especially in the face of the looming threat the Delta variant poses.”
According to estimates, a 70% vaccination rate is the number at which herd immunity against the virus is attainable.
Vaccinated students at schools in New York, Colorado, West Virginia, Oregon, Delaware and Ohio are also eligible to receive scholarships through state government sponsored incentive lotteries and programs.