Are Colleges Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations?

If you’re getting ready to attend college in the fall, you may have to get a few vaccinations before the first semester. MMR and HPV are two common ones that are already requested by colleges. You may be wondering though – are colleges requiring COVID-19 vaccinations?

A student getting a Covid-19 vaccine as required by her college

It Depends on the State

Whether or not your college or university is requesting COVID-19 vaccinations first depends on the state. Some states have barred schools from asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination including:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming.

Indiana states that schools can request the vaccination but cannot demand proof.

All states also have accommodation for students who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons and almost all states also allow for exemptions for religious reasons. However, getting the exemption may be difficult and some schools may require you to study off-campus if you do not have the vaccine by the start of the semester.

It Depends on the School

Even in states where the school can ask for proof of vaccination, it does not mean every school within that state will make it mandatory. Each college will have its own requirements regarding health and safety. Three colleges that have already stated it’s required are Columbia University, Princeton University, and Rutgers University.

Some schools are actually offering the ability to win scholarships or prices to vaccinated students, even if they don’t require the student to be vaccinated. The public university system in Ohio, for example, offered a lottery system for 12 to 17-year-old students who got their COVID-19 vaccination. Winners were granted full-ride scholarships to the schools in the system. New York has a similar, ongoing raffle (until July 7th).

It’s Changing Every Day

Requirements for the COVID-19 vaccination are changing every day. As the shots become more available, especially to younger students, and the vaccines earn full FDA approval, more and more schools may be added to the required list. Laws can also change within states in the coming weeks.

It’s important to keep in touch with your intended college about required vaccinations. Following their social media is an excellent start as they will often post updates to their policy to these sites. Many schools will also publish updates regarding COVID-19 policies on their website. Some may also send letters and emails about their latest guidelines to current and incoming students.

Are Colleges Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations?

If you have any questions about whether or not your school requires the COVID-19 vaccination, their exemption rules, or other COVID-19 policies, it’s essential to reach out as soon as possible. This is especially the case as you may have to wait for your vaccination appointment and if you opt for one of the two-shot vaccinations, it can take a month for you to be fully vaccinated. You don’t want to wait until the middle of August and find out it’s required to attend.

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