ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced the launch of the $1 million VaxU Scholarship Promotion, an incentive program to encourage 12- to 17-year-olds to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Winners will receive a $50,000 scholarship, which covers the equivalent of full tuition and fees at a public, in-state institution of higher education. The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will jointly administer this initiative, which will select 20 winners through random drawings between July 7 and Labor Day.
The governor made Wednesday’s announcement at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was joined by University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman and UMD President Darryll J. Pines.
“Promotions like this are just one more way that we are reinforcing the importance of getting every single Marylander that we can vaccinated against COVID-19, especially our young people,” said Governor Hogan. “If any of our 12- to 17-year-olds or their parents needed another good reason, then now they can get vaccinated for a chance to win a $50,000 college scholarship.”
Beginning July 12, the VaxU Scholarship Promotion will randomly select two winners per week for eight weeks. On Monday, September 6—Labor Day—four winners will be selected. To qualify for the scholarship, students must both live and be vaccinated in Maryland.
“This is an outstanding and innovative approach to incentivize our youth to learn more about the countless higher education opportunities that are available to them here in Maryland,” said MHEC Secretary Dr. James D. Fielder. “We are proud to continue paving the way for access and success of their higher education goals.”
The award will be distributed in the form of a Prepaid College Trust or College Investment Plan from Maryland529, and can be utilized in accordance with the guidelines for those programs:
- A 4-Year Maryland Prepaid College Trust Account will be funded for a winner who is between the ages of 12-14 at the time of the drawing.
- A Maryland College Investment Plan contribution will be awarded to individuals between the ages of 15-17 at the time of the drawing.
When a Marylander who is 12-17 years old is vaccinated, they, their family, friends, and countless others are protected from COVID-19, and those young community members become role models to their peers who are still unvaccinated,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “To date, more than half of our 12- to 17-year-olds have been vaccinated, and VaxU is just one more tool we’re using to reach this critical audience.”
Winners will be selected utilizing the same random number generator used for the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion. Similar to that promotion, the winners of the VaxU promotion will be permitted to remain anonymous. However, the city or county of the winner will be published.
“For me, the governor’s announcement represents a perfect marriage: We’re helping secure the health of our young people while giving them a low- or no-cost college education,” said Chancellor Perman. “I’m so grateful that our state has made COVID vaccination a public health priority and that we’re embracing creative ways to protect the safety of all Marylanders.”
“Higher education provides opportunities for the next generation of Marylanders to tackle the grand challenges of our time and thrive in an ever-evolving world,” said President Pines. “The promise of higher education opportunities as an incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is an outstanding effort from Governor Hogan. We applaud his ongoing commitment to research-based, data-driven decisions throughout this public health crisis, and the University of Maryland is a proud partner in working to end the pandemic.”
Federal COVID-19 relief funds will be used to cover the cost of the program. For more information, visit the MHEC VaxU Scholarship Promotion website.