By ARDEN BASTIA To boost vaccination rates among students, the Community College of Rhode Island is offering each vaccinated student $200. According to Shannon Gilkey, postsecondary commissioner, the vaccine, or an appropriate exemption, is mandatory for
To boost vaccination rates among students, the Community College of Rhode Island is offering each vaccinated student $200.
According to Shannon Gilkey, postsecondary commissioner, the vaccine, or an appropriate exemption, is mandatory for all college students for the 2021-2022 school year. The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and CCRI require students upload proof of vaccination or a religious or medical exemption prior to the start of the fall semester.
Gilkey, in a brief interview on Friday, shared that the incentive programs were left up to the schools, and vary by institution.
“We set the policy, but let the schools decide the incentives,” he said. “We’re asking that student upload proof the same way other vaccination records are uploaded. It’s not unusual to ask for a vaccination record upon entering college, or while you’re in college.”
On July 19, CCRI announced that all students who were vaccinated by Aug. 18 would be eligible for $200. Neither URI nor RIC have shared any incentive program.
Amy Kempe, director of marketing and communications at CCRI, shared in an email that all vaccinated students, regardless of when they received the vaccine, would be eligible for the incentive. The $200 will be deposited into the student’s CCRI account, which can be used for tuition, fees or books, or refunded to them if they have no balance.
In response to the pandemic, significant funding for higher education was included in the three COVID relief acts. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provided funding to college and universities for student emergency aid and for institutional costs related to COVID. Between the two CARES Acts and the American Rescue Plan, $135.48 billion was made available to U.S. colleges and universities for student grants, strengthening institution programming, and to offer vaccine awareness and incentives, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.
“Allocations to each college and university were determined by the US Department of Education based on student enrollment and weighted toward the number of students who received a federal Pell Grant,” Kempe wrote.
Kempe also wrote that CCRI “anticipates using approximately $2 million of all HEERF funding received,” a figure calculated by “the anticipated number of students expected to enroll in the fall semester.”
In order for CCRI students to be considered fully vaccinated, students must receive their final dose no later than 14 days before they return to campus. If students do not comply, or do not upload proof of vaccination or if their exemption request isn’t approved by the start of the student’s first in-person class, the student will be dropped from all in-person classes.
CCRI students who choose not to get vaccinated will be required to wear face coverings on campus and submit to weekly COVID testing.
The University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College require students to upload proof of their vaccination to the school’s respective online health portal, but no incentives for these schools have been shared.
URI students must upload proof of their vaccination or exemption by Aug. 16. RIC student must upload their information by Aug. 30.
URI is holding a series of on-campus vaccine clinics through the end of September. The clinics are open to any college student, regardless of school. Students can register at www.web.uri.edu/healthservices/covid-19-vaccine-information.
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