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‘VaxU’ to Award $1M in Scholarships to Vaccinated Young Marylanders

Drawings for $50K Awards to Start Next Week, Hogan Announces During Campus Visit

By Liam Farrell

Larry Hogan and Darryll Pines at a news conference

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Gov. Larry Hogan was joined by UMD President Darryll J. Pines on campus today to announce a new initiative awarding scholarships to young Marylanders vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state of Maryland will award 20 college scholarships of $50,000 apiece in a new effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations among young residents, Gov. Larry Hogan announced today during a visit to the University of Maryland.  

Similar to the recent state lottery campaign that gave out a total of $2 million to eligible adults, vaccinated Marylanders ages 12-17 will be automatically entered and randomly selected for the scholarships, which will be provided through Maryland 529 college savings accounts. 

The VaxU Scholarship Promotion, a partnership between the Maryland Department of Health and Maryland Higher Education Commission, will distribute $1 million in federal funds over 20 drawings starting next week through Labor Day. Each $50,000 award covers the cost of four years of tuition and fees at a public, in-state institution of higher education.

“All you have to do is get vaccinated for COVID-19 here in the state of Maryland … The sooner that you do, the more scholarship drawings you’ll be eligible for,” Hogan said. “Go out and get your shot to have a shot.”

While more than 75% of Maryland adults have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination, state health and education officials are continuing to look for ways to promote its use among teens and pre-teens, whose rates are still lagging.

The scholarships can be used at any higher education institution, though University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman, M.D., encouraged all winners to look at what state colleges and universities have to offer.

“Every student can find a home and a community,” he said. “As a physician and an educator, (the new program) couldn’t be a better, more perfect marriage.”

When introducing the governor, UMD President Darryll J. Pines noted that 70% of the total UMD faculty, staff and student population have already been vaccinated. Among those coming to campus each day during the summer, currently 80% are vaccinated.

“Higher education provides opportunities for the next generation of Marylanders to tackle the grand challenges of our time and thrive in an ever-evolving world,” said Pines. “The promise of higher education opportunities as an incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is an outstanding effort from Governor Hogan. We applaud his ongoing commitment to research-based, data-driven decisions throughout this public health crisis, and the University of Maryland is a proud partner in working to end the pandemic.”

Hogan noted that in June, unvaccinated residents accounted for 95% of new COVID-19 cases, 93% of new hospitalizations and 100% of new deaths.

“It is clearer than ever before that these vaccines are extremely effective,” he said. “Those who are unvaccinated remain at risk.”

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