Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the 'Get a Shot to Make Your Future' incentive for 12- to 17-year-olds to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Participants can enter into a random prize drawing and potentially receive a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY college beginning May 27. Winners receive a full scholarship to any public college or university, including tuition and room and board. New York State will administer the random drawing and select 10 winners a week over five weeks for a total of 50 winners. Federal COVID-19 relief and outreach funds will be used to cover the cost of this vaccination incentive program.
"Vaccination rates across the state are beginning to slow and our greatest need is with young New Yorkers who make up a large percent of positive cases and have the lowest vaccination percentage in the state," Governor Cuomo said. "To better reach this population and defeat COVID once and for all we need to get creative in our efforts. We're offering all 12- to 17-year-olds a potentially life-changing opportunity—a full scholarship, room and board at any public college or university in New York—in exchange for getting vaccinated. And the earlier you get vaccinated, the more chances you have to win—it's free, there's no appointments and you also have a chance to win a full scholarship, so if you haven't already done so, go get vaccinated."
The winners will receive up to four years of full-time undergraduate study or five years in an approved five-year bachelor's degree program which includes the following components:
- Tuition: An amount equal to tuition at the State or City University of New York's in-state tuition.
- Non-tuition Costs: Room and board and allowances for books, supplies and transportation up to the average cost at SUNY colleges.
- Residence: Students living on campus will receive a higher room and board allowance than commuter students. If housing is not available for students on campus, they will receive the same allowance as students living on campus.
The New York State Department of Health and New York State Higher Education Services Corporation will verify the vaccination status of winners.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "COVID-19 has challenged our students time and time again, and they have done everything we asked of them over the past year to keep our campuses open and safe. With vaccinations as the key to a more normal academic and campus experience, this scholarship incentive can help ensure our entire campus communities have a safe and full college experience this Fall semester."
CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "It is imperative we do all we can to get as many New Yorkers as possible vaccinated so that we may finally overcome this dreaded public health crisis. We thank Governor Cuomo and look forward to the healthy and safe Fall 2021 semester that a vaccinated student body will help to ensure."
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation President Dr. Guillermo Linares said, "HESC is proud to be a part of Governor Cuomo's NYS Vaccine Incentive to encourage New York's youth to get vaccinated and help drive down the overall number of positive COVID cases in New York State. While we have seen a significant rise in the number of New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated, it is critical we continue to vaccinate as many people, as quickly as possible, to help prevent the spread. With the chance to receive a free, full-ride to any CUNY or SUNY, two or four year college, there is no better time than now to ensure our young people are vaccinated to protect themselves and all New Yorkers."
On May 12, Governor Cuomo accepted the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force's recommendation to immediately implement expanded use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. All 12- to 17-year-olds who have been vaccinated are eligible for the incentive irrespective of when they received the vaccine.