Coastal Carolina University to launch COVID-19 vaccination program with weekly scholarship drawings


CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina University (CCU) is launching a vaccine incentives program that provides an opportunity for students vaccinated against COVID-19 to win two different scholarships.

The program will award four $2,500 scholarships each week for 10 weeks in Fall 2021 and 10 weeks in Spring 2022; and two Grand Prize Scholarships – full tuition, room, and board for one semester at CCU.

The incentives program is being supported by the University’s allotted CARES Act funds. More details about the program can be found online.

“I have read about other places and other institutions that are doing this but I don’t think that anyone is doing it quite as aggressively as we are,” said CCU President Michael T. Benson. “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. We are pretty excited about it. And, I hope students will take it seriously.”

James Solazzo, CCU’s vice president of student success, enrollment management and student affairs, said the program benefits the entire community.

“This was really a fun and exciting event where we could do something positive for the community and really encourage students to get vaccinated,” Solazzo said.

Ensuring the campus community is safeguarded against COVID-19 remains a high priority for the University during 2021-22 academic year. CCU does not mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for its students, faculty, and staff.

Benson added: “It’s a personal choice, and we understand that. We are trying our best to think collectively of our entire campus community and to encourage students, if they choose to, to get vaccinated. It’s the best way to protect yourself.”

Winners of the weekly $2,500 scholarships will be announced every Friday from Sept. 24 through Dec. 3, 2021, with the exception of Thanksgiving week, and will continue weekly in Spring 2022. The Grand Prize Scholarship winners will be announced on Dec. 6, 2021, and on April, 28, 2022.

Students expressed winning one of the scholarships would relieve some financial stress.

“It would mean a huge weight off the shoulder — a chance to pay off a little student debt,” CCU junior Genevieve Pietrzak said. “It’d just be incredible and something so easy that it doesn’t take much to do. To be able to win that would be nice.”

How the incentives program works:

• CCU students who have been fully vaccinated can participate in a weekly, random drawing to win one of four $2,500 scholarships.

• Weekly scholarship drawings will be conducted for 10 weeks each semester during the 2021-22 academic year.

• Weekly winners will be contacted via email.

• Scholarship winners will be officially announced each Friday.

• CCU students who have been fully vaccinated are also eligible to win one of two Grand Prize Scholarship Awards, which will be announced near the conclusion of each semester during the 2021-22 academic year.

• Winners of the Grand Prize Scholarship Awards will be contacted via email.

CCU’s Student Health Services (SHS) was recently approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. The University’s 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. SHS says the efficacy rating of the Moderna vaccine is very high, and recent studies show that it is also very effective against the new Delta variant.

James Solazzo, CCU’s vice president for student success, enrollment management, and student affairs, led the campus committee charged with developing the incentives program. He said, “The vaccines work. We want to encourage everybody to take advantage of the fact that we offer vaccines right here on campus. The goal is to safeguard the campus, encourage people to get vaccinated, with the hopes that we can remain open and safe for the whole academic year.”

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.

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

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