Over the past few months, most, if not all, of the COVID vaccines that are currently offered have “opened their doors” to young people across the United States.
With this change in eligibility, states, colleges, and individual organizations have been all-hands-on-deck to find ways to educate students about the importance of getting the vaccine, while also incentivizing them to do so.
Enter the room, COVID scholarships!
Vaccine scholarships are prizes awarded to students who have proven that they have gotten either one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. These scholarship programs would definitely be considered easy scholarships by most since there are very few conventional requirements to apply (no essay - wahoo!)
Some of these initiatives are run by individual states (in the same vein as state-based financial aid programs), so a student who wants to participate must be a resident of that given state. These initiatives are being run in conjunction with others that are being operated by specific colleges and universities, where you have to be enrolled in order to take part in the fun.
Most programs are open to middle and high school students (ages 12-17), but terms vary from place to place. Ultimately, each entity participating in this type of initiative has its own unique eligibility requirements and prizes being offered.
Keep reading to learn about the different states and colleges that are offering scholarships to students who get vaccinated, along with the latest news on each.
Around mid-June, Illinois rolled out their “All In for the Win” initiative, which is offering up to $10 million in prizes for Illinois residents who get vaccinated.
Everyone who has gotten at least one shot by July 1st is automatically entered to win. As far as scholarship-specific prizes go, the state is giving away 20 awards each worth $150,000 to students between the ages of 12 and 17. Weekly drawings are taking place until August 26.
Kentucky’s vaccine sweepstakes has two drawings left, in which one $1 million prize will be awarded to a resident 18 years or older, and five full scholarships will be awarded to residents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. The drawing dates are July 29 and August 26.
Louisiana is giving its residents 4 upcoming chances (with two awards at each drawing) to earn $100,000 each through its “Shot At A Million” campaign. At each drawing, one of the awards will be for the general public, and the other will be in the form of a college scholarship (for students ages 12-17).
In order to be added to the drawing pool, residents must register by July 31st at ShotAtAMillion.com. In addition to these four drawings, there will also be a grand prize drawing taking place on August 6th, in which one $1 million cash award and 5 $100,000 scholarships will be awarded.
Maryland is awarding 20 college scholarships each worth $50,000 to students between the ages of 12 and 17 who get vaccinated in the state of Maryland.
Whether you have already been vaccinated or you are getting vaccinated soon, if you are in the accepted age range, you will be automatically entered into the drawing to win. There will be 20 drawings, with 2 scholarships being awarded each week until Labor day.
Called “MI Shot to Win”, Michigan’s COVID vaccine incentives vary from college scholarships for students ages 12-17 to normal, lottery-like drawings for residents ages 18 and older. Winning amounts range from $50,000 to $2 million! The scholarship drawings end July 31st, and the other drawings end August 3rd.
Oregonians who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by June 27th from a vaccination site or pharmacy have been automatically entered to win prizes between $10,000 and $100,000, with one grand prize jackpot of $1 million. Among these drawings, five of the awards will be in the form of college savings plans for students, each worth $100,000.
A lottery is expected to be launched at some point in August, in which the province is expected to award C$400,000 in scholarships to youth between the ages of 12 and 18.
The governor of West Virginia recently announced the winners of its 5th round of vaccine-related prizes, all part of the “Do it for Babydog” initiative.
According to the official West Virginia government website, youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who get at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine “can enter for a chance to win one of five, four-year full-ride scholarships, including room-and-board, tuition, and books, to any West Virginia state college or university.”
New York State ran a 5-week campaign that concluded at the end of June, in which they randomly awarded a total of 50 residents with full-ride scholarships to SUNY or CUNY colleges and universities.
Colorado offered its student residents who had received at least one shot of the vaccine the chance to win one of 25 scholarships, each worth $50,000. The drawings ran through July 9th.
Delaware residents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old who got vaccinated between May 25th and June 29th were automatically entered to win a variety of prizes as a part of the state’s vaccine incentive campaign called “DE Wins!”.
Some of the main prizes included $5,000 scholarships, a full scholarship to a public Delaware university, and tickets/prize packages to various concerts, parks, and festivals around the state.
While I’m sure there are at least a few more out there, these are some of the colleges and universities across the US that I found were offering COVID vaccine scholarships or other incentives for students who get the vaccine.
Each school has its own prize offerings, deadlines, and the number of prizes awarded. If you attend one of the colleges or universities below, be sure to click on the link associated with the blurb to read more about how you can participate and potentially win big.
If you DON'T attend one of these schools, I still highly suggest checking out your school's website to learn about potential opportunities that might be in the pipeline!
Lastly, in my research on vaccine scholarships, I was also curious to see if I could find any data or information reporting on the perceived effectiveness of these programs in terms of getting more young people vaccinated.
Since I couldn’t find anything through my Google searches (rare, I know!) I turned to the Access Scholarships Instagram community to see their thoughts on the incentive programs as a whole. I posted a poll on Instagram, where I asked Access Scholarships followers the following question:
If you aren’t vaccinated or weren’t already vaccinated, would you get a COVID vaccine if your state or college offered a monetary incentive? (i.e. $100,000 or a full-tuition scholarship)
At the end of the poll period, here were the results:
78% of students answered with "YES/PROBABLY"
22% of students answered with "NO/PROBABLY NOT"
So, although I didn't get into all of the nitty-gritty details with my singular question, it does reveal that the majority of students would in fact get the COVID vaccine to be entered to win some sort of monetary incentive or scholarship.
What are YOUR thoughts on this whole COVID scholarship business? DM me on Instagram and let's chat!