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WSU Using Higher Ed Relief Funds for Vaccine Incentive Program

Student filling out the vaccine contest link

Student entering the Vaccine Contest | Photo by Brett Hull | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University (WSU) spends Higher Education Relief Funds (HEERF) on COVID-19 vaccine incentive programs to boost vaccination status on campus.

COVID-19 policy 

As COVID case numbers fluctuate on campus and rise in the greater Dayton area, WSU plans to  instate a COVID vaccine incentive program. 

The program is aimed at boosting COVID vaccine data collection and vaccination status on campus as the university currently does not have a mandatory testing or coronavirus vaccine program. Plans to instill these measures are underway for spring 2022. 

Program details

Taking place between Sept. 14, and Nov. 22, the program includes a prize contest for students, staff and faculty who upload their COVID vaccine documentation to the secure Med+Proctor site. 

Those who enter the contest must have received at least one dose of any of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, COVID vaccines according to the participation rules. 

According to the contest webpage, prizes for students range from a $2,500 dollar Visa gift card to use of a Nutter Center Box. Faculty and staff prizes also feature monetary winnings as well as eight hours of vacation time. 

Additionally, the university began a marketing campaign to advertise the program to the campus community. 

Financial impact 

According to WSU Communications Director Seth Bauguess, the university is using around $15,000 of HEERF COVID relief funds to pay for the program. 

Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, these funds are to help universities cover COVID-related costs. 

According to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, institutions of higher education can use their grants to cover costs associated with the coronavirus as well as provide financial aid to students. 

Ohio public institutions 

WSU is not the only public university in Ohio with a vaccine incentive program. Ohio University (OU) is also running a vaccine incentive program. 

OU’s COVID vaccine mandate takes effect on Nov. 15. Their incentive program encourages campus members to receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine before that deadline.

The institution’s program includes housing and dining scholarships for students and $100 dollar cash payments for employees.  

The Wright State Guardian reached out to OU regarding the cost and effectiveness of their vaccine program and received no response. 

The effectiveness of WSU’s program is not yet known.

Jamie Naylor

News Reporter

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