KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan colleges are offering incentives to students, faculty and staff who get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Albion College will be offering a year of free tuition to a member of the community.

Western Michigan University is giving vaccinated students the chance to win scholarship money.

Diane Anderson, the vice president of student affairs at WMU, says many students are already entering for the scholarship by uploading proof of vaccination to the health center web portal.

“We designed this incentive program for students, knowing that students need help with the cost of college, and so we felt like those would really be incentives that would speak to students,” Anderson said.

Western is offering five scholarships of $10,000, 10 scholarships of $2,500, 25 scholarships of $1,000 and 20 scholarships for $500.

Albion College is requiring the vaccine for students, faculty and staff this fall. The college came up with ideas to encourage community members to get vaccinated, especially middle and high school students.

“We have sort of reached a plateau in the uptake in vaccines,” Johnson said. “We’ve included a variety of incentives including a year of tuition, a semester of tuition, free books.”

The tuition amounts will be the difference in the cost after subtracting certain financial aid. For one year, that could be up to a $50,000 value, according to Johnson.

Community members can attend designated clinics in June and July through a partnership with the Calhoun County Health Department and the Battle Creek Family YMCA.

The following are clinics for the first dose of the vaccine:

  • June 26 at Albion College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • June 28 at the Battle Creek Family YMCA from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • June 29 at Marshall High School from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Parents, grandparents or legal guardians can also transfer the year of free tuition if they are selected. It must be used within five years.

Both Albion College and WMU say vaccination is the path to having a successful fall term of in-person instruction.

“We believe vaccines are the best way to keep our campus community safe and healthy,” Anderson said.