BU to offer COVID vaccine incentive scholarships


By Eric Foster

Bloomsburg University will welcome students back to campus in August and is preparing for a 100 percent in-person learning environment. BU Provost Diana Rogers-Adkinson is leading a task force focused on reopening the campus safely and according to CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.

While many universities around the country are requiring their students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine prior to their return in the fall semester, as a public university in Pennsylvania, BU does not have the legal authority to require a vaccine shot. The University, however, remains committed to providing and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for its campus community.

Over the past year, BU has conducted COVID surveillance testing and provided its students the opportunity to receive COVID tests, and will continue this practice during the coming academic year.

While BU cannot require its students to be vaccinated prior to their return to campus, there is a plan to provide an incentive to receive the COVID vaccine.

Through a lottery system, BU will offer a limited number of scholarships to any incoming or returning students. Eligible students must provide proof of vaccination to the Student Health Center by September 13. Each student will then be eligible to receive one of the following scholarships:

  • Two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 to two students (one to a new student, the other to a returning student); and
  • Ten scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to 10 students (five to new students, the other five to returning students).

The University is collaborating on this scholarship initiative with the Bloomsburg University Foundation (BUF). Funding for these scholarships will be solely from a private BUF fund.

"The more members of the BU community who are vaccinated, the greater our chances for achieving as close to a normal campus experience as possible - what we all wish for given the past 15 months," said BU President Bashar Hanna. "The COVID vaccine helps to achieve this reality, and this scholarship lottery program will provide our students (and their families) a significant monetary incentive to do their part in establishing a safe and healthy BU campus this fall."

Students will be advised that those who are fully vaccinated this coming academic year will not need to pre-test for COVID, participate in surveillance testing, or quarantine if exposed to the virus, per the latest CDC guidelines.