Vaccination incentives: How does CSU compare to other universities?

CSU is not the only state university that has encouraged students to get vaccinated by offering incentives

CSU COVID-19 Dashboard as of Oct. 8, 2021. Courtesy of Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University announced that they will continue attempting to keep the campus safe by offering monetary incentives to students, faculty and staff who choose to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Health & Wellness from Oct. 5 – Oct. 26. Incentives include $100 for new vaccinations and $2,500 raffles for those previous vaccinated.

As the Delta variant of the virus has caused an increase in new COVID-19 cases, the push for vaccines has gained more attention than ever. While incentives are new to the CSU community, several universities throughout the state have already previously introduced this idea to their respective communities.

Ohio University and Ohio State University are two such colleges in the state that have advised their students to get vaccinated, and accompanied their suggestions with incentivized plans.

Ohio State’s vaccination incentive happened much earlier than CSUs. Prize winners were announced from Aug. 12 through Sept. 2, compared to Cleveland State’s October timeframe.

Their method of incentivizing was also not identical to CSU’s approach, with a higher monetary total scaling to their much larger student body.

Students were asked to keep their vaccination status updated on their own to be entered in each drawing. The university offered the following range of prizes: two (2) $1,000 gift cards, four (4) $500 gift cards, eight (8) $250 gift cards and twenty (20) $100 gift cards. 

The grand prize selection included four options of parking passes to choose from on the Columbus campus or a pair of season tickets to Ohio State University football home games. 

In early 2021, it was announced that OSU would be requiring all members of the campus community to be fully vaccinated. For students who were not already vaccinated, the results of providing incentives have somewhat slowed the spread of cases.

Since initiating their plans for incentives, highs for the positive cases have lowered through each month. On Aug. 30, a high of 76 positive cases were reported, followed by just 15 cases on the date exactly one month later. Since the start of October, just 39 total tests results have been recorded as positive.

Ohio University is another school that has both mandated the vaccine and offered incentives. At OU’s Athens campus, $100 cash drawings were the primary incentive. Additional drawings for full housing and dining scholarships were also offered.

While it’s unclear how much money the incentives may total, sororities and fraternities that achieve 90 percent vaccination will be eligible for a $500 contribution towards charities of their choosing.

It is not immediately clear how well the plan worked without a full tracking record by date. However, OU has gotten 80.8% of on-campus students, 87.4% of administration and 84.7% of their faculty vaccinated.

Whether their incentivized plan contributed to these totals is not clear, but more than half of each group boasts a higher value in vaccinations than many other universities can display.

With a long road ahead for CSU, the outcomes of similar plans stated by other universities will give insight as to how well CSU’s processes in place will work.