Just like many other US universities, higher education institutions across Texas are also trying to convince their students, faculty, and staff members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the fall semester approaches, by using various incentives.
Texas A&M International University in Laredo and Texas A&M University in College Station told their students that the latter could win free tuition if they get vaccinated. Moreover, students at Texas Tech University in Lubbock are also offered the chance to win scholarships and free parking, whereas the vaccinated faculty and staff could win concert or football tickets, Erudera.com reports.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration at Texas A&M International, Juan Castillo, said that they have heard from the health department that the university’s student demographic seems to be “lagging in the vaccination.”
“College students think they’re invincible and ‘oh that won’t happen to me,’” Castillo said.
Last week, the University of Texas at Austin also said that it would offer prizes to students and staff who get the jab. Furthermore, the University of North Texas, as well as San Jacinto College, are also offering several prizes, from scholarships to gift cards, in order to convince students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
More than 740 universities and colleges in the United States have made vaccination for the fall semester mandatory. On the other hand, in Texas, just a few and small private universities have imposed tougher restrictions for unvaccinated students instead of using incentives.
“We are requiring students to have vaccines. We’re requiring them to wear masks. We didn’t think it was anything particularly controversial because the science is very clear on this,” President of the Paul Quinn College Michael Sorrell told NBC 5.
According to a survey conducted by a student government group at UT-Austin, the Senate of College Councils, out of 1,112 respondents, 87 percent said they want a vaccine requirement for the fall term.
Many other US universities and colleges have been offering incentive programs to encourage students to get vaccinated, such as free tuition, gift certificates, pizza parties, including West Virginia University, Texas A&M University, Ohio University, University of Alabama (UA), and more.
Differently, leaders of the Texas State University pointed out last week that they would not follow the example of other universities to provide vaccine incentives as the university’s system lawyers believe that the governor’s executive orders ban incentives.