By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Metropolitan State University of Denver announced this week it will offer its own vaccine incentive to students enrolled for classes in the fall with a scholarship drawing that will pay up to one year of tuition and fees for five students. Eligible participants will need to register for the contest committing to getting at least one dose by a set deadline and the university will confirm that the winners did get vaccinated.

(credit: CBS)

“Creating this scholarship program really sends a message that we care about our students’ safety and health,” said Mary Sauceda, the associate vice president of enrollment management for MSU Denver. “We care about our staff and faculty and we just want to make sure we have a safe fall.”
Five undergraduate students will receive the “Rowdy Return Scholarship” if they have completed at least one dose of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The scholarships will cover the cost of tuition and fees not covered by their financial aid awards for the 2021-22 academic year, which is up to $8,164 for two semesters.

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“It just creates more opportunity,” said Benjamin Powell, a junior at MSU Denver studying criminal justice.

He is vaccinated and signed up for the scholarship drawing, “They’re doing a good job of trying to get people excited, right now during this pandemic, money is a little bit tight for everybody.”

Eligible students need to complete a verification form and receive their first dose by July 19, if they are not already fully vaccinated. They must also be registered for the fall and fill out the necessary financial aid forms for the upcoming school year. The university says this program will not only keep up the attention around the COVID-19 vaccines but also expand their effort to make an MSU education more accessible to the community. Sauceda says the four-year college is already the most affordable of any in the Front Range.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s a brand new day for us, we’re returning to what our new normal will look like this fall,” she told CBS4 Friday on a video conference call. “The way that it’s going to be safe and the way that we’re going to ensure the health of our community is if folks get vaccinated.”

Powell says the low cost of classes was a major attraction to him when he chose MSU Denver. He appreciates that the university is doing more to help make his education less expensive and keep the community safe. He already has ideas on how to spend the money he might save if he wins the scholarship. MSU Denver will select another student if any winner already has the entire cost of tuition and fees covered for that year.

“I miss the human connection that involves learning in person so I’m excited about that. The vaccine gives us the opportunity to do that safely,” he said Friday on a video conference call.

(credit: CBS)

The five winners will have their vaccinations verified with the state’s immunization database before they receive their awards. Students still have time to sign up if they are registered for classes in the fall. Anyone considering whether to attend MSU Denver next semester can still submit their application and if admitted, they could enter the contest before the deadline. The drawing will take place after Aug. 1.

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LINKS: MSU Denver Scholarship Drawing Announcement | MSU Denver Admissions

Shawn Chitnis