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Students at Coastal Carolina University could receive thousands in scholarships if they become fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, the university announced Wednesday.

The new initiative is part of the university's Teal Nation Vaccinations Incentives Program.

Students have the chance to win two different scholarships. According to a release from the university, the program will award four $2,500 scholarships each week for 10 weeks during the fall semester and 10 weeks in the spring. Two lucky Chanticleers will be selected and awarded the Grand Prize Scholarships, which includes full tuition, room and board for one semester, the release said.

Students who are fully vaccinated can enter to win one of the four $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded weekly. Fully vaccinated students can also be entered to win the Grand Prize Scholarship that is awarded at the end each semester of the 2021-2022 academic year.

The winners of the weekly $2,500 scholarships will be announced every Friday from Sept. 24 through Dec. 3, with the exception of Thanksgiving week. It will continue weekly in spring 2022. The Grand Prize Scholarship winners will be announced on Dec. 6, and on April, 28.

Both the weekly winners and those of the Grand Prize Scholarship will be contacted via email, the release said.

The incentives program is being supported by the university’s allotted CARES Act funds.

CCU president Michael T. Benson said that he had read about other institutions offering these kinds of incentives but didn't think that they were doing it as aggressively as Coastal.

“We have been talking about ways that we can make our campus safe, so the board of trustees approved our putting aside $300,000 to use to incentivize students," Benson said in a release. "We are pretty excited about it. And I hope students will take it seriously.”

James Solazzo, CCU’s vice president for student success, enrollment management, and student affairs, led the campus committee charged with developing the incentives program. 

“The vaccines work. We want to encourage everybody to take advantage of the fact that we offer vaccines right here on campus," Solazzo said in a release.

The release said that ensuring the campus community is safeguarded against COVID-19 remains a high priority for the university in the upcoming academic year.

CCU does not mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for its students, faculty and staff. Benson added that getting the vaccine is a personal choice, one that he understands.

"We are trying our best to think collectively of our entire campus community and to encourage students, if they choose to, to get vaccinated," Benson said. "It’s the best way to protect yourself.”  

Students who are already fully vaccinated are also eligible to participate in the vaccination incentives program. They can upload their vaccination card/document online or email it to shsmedrec@coastal.edu.

CCU’s Student Health Services (SHS) was recently approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. CCU students are now able to receive the Moderna vaccine conveniently on campus free of charge. The vaccine, which is recommended for individuals 18 years of age and older, is administered in two doses spaced 28 days apart. The efficacy rating of the Moderna vaccine is very high, according to SHS, and recent studies have shown that it is also very effective against the new Delta variant.

Students who would like to get vaccinated on campus are asked to make an appointment online or call SHS at 843-349-6543. Students who have been fully vaccinated at SHS are automatically entered into future drawings. Individuals who visit SHS are required to wear a face covering/mask, over nose and mouth, at all times while inside the building.

Reach Ian Livingston Brooking at 843-248-6882 for any story ideas or news happening in your area.

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