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Several California Community Colleges Offer Incentives For Students To Get Vaccinated

By: Michael Burke

In lieu of mandating that all students be vaccinated against Covid-19, some community colleges are offering cash and other incentives to students who get vaccinated.

At Allan Hancock College in Santa Barbara County, students who show proof that they are fully vaccinated can receive a $250 Visa gift card. The college plans to hand those out to students on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Aug. 23.

Students at Long Beach City College who get fully vaccinated this month are eligible to receive a $300 voucher that can be spent at one of the college’s bookstores.

“The average age of our Long Beach City College students happens to be within the same age range that the Delta variant is affecting the unvaccinated,” Dr. Mike Muñoz, the college’s interim superintendent, said in a statement. “Because of this fact, we need to do our very best to encourage vaccines to keep our entire student body and College family safe.”

The state’s largest community college district, the Los Angeles Community College District, also incentivized students to get fully vaccinated. That district, home to nine colleges, offered cash prizes last month to students who received vaccines.

Unlike at the California State University and University of California, there is no systemwide mandate across the state’s 115 in-person community colleges for students to be vaccinated this fall. The state chancellor’s office overseeing the colleges has urged them to implement those mandates, but whether or not they do so is up to locally elected boards of trustees that govern the 73 community college districts. So far, only some colleges have opted to require students and staff to be vaccinated.

CSU and UC, meanwhile, are requiring that all students, faculty and staff who will be on campuses this fall be vaccinated against the virus unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

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