Vaccine incentives: Miami students offered hockey tickets, laptops, free tuition and more

Miami University officials just announced they are doing their own version of a coronavirus vaccine incentive program by offering more than 80 prizes - including a chance at free tuition, free school meals, hockey game tickets and more - to students returning to classes in August for the start of the new school year. The vaccine incentive program, say school officials, is designed to increase the number of vaccinated students on is main Oxford campus and its regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown.  (File Photo\Journal-News)
Miami University officials just announced they are doing their own version of a coronavirus vaccine incentive program by offering more than 80 prizes - including a chance at free tuition, free school meals, hockey game tickets and more - to students returning to classes in August for the start of the new school year. The vaccine incentive program, say school officials, is designed to increase the number of vaccinated students on is main Oxford campus and its regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown. (File Photo\Journal-News)

Free tuition, school meals and hockey tickets among the prizes vaccinated students could receive.

Officials from Miami University have taken a page from state officials’ playbook in offering prizes as incentive for students returning to campus in August to get a coronavirus vaccination.

School officials are offering more than 80 “prizes” to full-time students returning to classes at the main Oxford campus and the regional schools in Hamilton and Middletown.

“Because vaccination remains our most effective and important tool to fight the spread of COVID-19, we want students to get vaccinated and report that they received their vaccinations,” said Miami President Gregory Crawford.

Crawford said school officials are eager to welcome back more than 20,000 students on all three campuses but also are encouraging safety during the on-going pandemic.

ExploreMiami University to increase tuition for 2021-22 at different levels

Under the plan, which has the same general goal as Ohio’s recent incentives to persuade more residents to receive the coronavirus vaccines, full-time students may win a free semester of tuition, a free year of school meals or box seats at a Miami hockey game.

State officials recently used its new Vax-a-Million program that is awarding five $1 million prizes to any Ohioan at least 18 years old who’s vaccinated and a college scholarship to any state school for anyone between 12 and 17 years old who receives a vaccine.

Last month state officials said the state had more than 3.4 million Ohioans who entered their names for a shot at the Vax-a-Million, up from the 3.3 million who had registered for a prior week’s drawing.

Though Vax-a-Million is over, Ohio is working on additional incentives to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

While Gov. Mike DeWine didn’t announce any new initiatives, he hinted that the next program could include smaller, but more prizes.

After the Vax-a-Million program was announced in mid-May, state officials reviewed the data of those who either started the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Governor’s office spokesman Dan Tierney said there was an overall increase of 44% from the week before the announcement to the week of the announcement. That does not include the 12-to-15-year-olds who were eligible to take the Pfizer vaccine for the first time.

Miami’s new incentive program would see both the Oxford and regional campuses each run a vaccine incentive program. All full-time students are eligible to participate if they meet all of the following requirements:

· They are registered as a full-time student in the fall semester (12-plus credit hours undergraduate, 9-plus credit hours graduate).

· They have received at least a first dose of a two-dose vaccine or have completed a single-dose vaccine.

· They upload proof of their vaccination into Miami’s online medical portal.

Prizes include: bursar credit equal to one Tuition Promise semester of in-state tuition and fees (maximum value $8,352), bursar credit for a Miami meal plan for one year (maximum value $3,000), VIP box tickets for the student and nine friends to a Miami hockey game, cash prizes, laptops, and bookstore gift cards.

Miami officials said no taxpayer or tuition dollars are being used to fund the prizes.

For more information see Miami’s website.