October 3, 2021
Jordyn Locks couldn’t believe the call she got from a Rider University administrator: The sophomore won a full year of free tuition, valued at more than $46,000, just for being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I was like, ‘What? This has to be a joke,’ ” said the exercise science major from Bear, Del. “When I submitted my vaccination card, I didn’t even know that was a thing.”
Locks was one of three students out of a potential pool of about 2,700 to win that honor under an incentive program by the New Jersey university to encourage students to get vaccinated before the school year started.
As universities grapple with how to keep a typically invincible-feeling population safe and in-person, other area schools have dangled carrots, too — albeit less exciting. Pennsylvania State University offered drawings with cash prizes, gift cards, and footballs autographed by coach James Franklin. West Chester University offered a chance at scholarships. Nationwide, motivation has included everything from laptops, photo shoots, concert tickets, and free parking to pizza parties and therapy dogs.