Today, during a COVID-19 briefing at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center in Westchester County, Governor Kathy Hochul announced new efforts to support vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds, including the launch of a new vaccine incentive program – ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ – for young New Yorkers. Parents and guardians of children ages 5 through 11 who receive their first vaccine dose by December 19th can enter the State’s incentive program for a chance for their child to win a full scholarship to any two- or four-year SUNY or CUNY college or university; the scholarship includes tuition, room, and board. Ten winners will be announced each week beginning November 24th, with a total of 50 winners being selected over the five-week period.
“Finally, the COVID-19 vaccine is here for young New Yorkers age 5 through 11, “Governor Hochul said. “Our critical work to make the vaccine accessible and available to all eligible children and their families is underway – and we will creatively support and celebrate those who get vaccinated. The ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ program is an extraordinary opportunity for children to win free tuition to a SUNY or CUNY college or university, and I urge parents and guardians to help their children get vaccinated and enter into this once-in-a-lifetime program.”
Winners of the State’s incentive program will receive two or four years of full-time study in any SUNY or CUNY Associates or Bachelor’s degree program, which includes the following:
- Tuition: The full cost of in-state tuition at a New York State or City University.
- Non-tuition Costs: Room and board and allowances for books, supplies and transportation up to the average cost at SUNY colleges.
- Residence: Students living on campus will receive a higher room and board allowance than commuter students. If housing is not available for students on campus, they will receive the same allowance as students living on campus
CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “Expanding vaccine eligibility to children as young as 5 years old gives us even greater confidence that we will effectively subdue COVID-19 and put the conditions in place for New York’s full economic recovery. The ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ program will further incentivize parents and guardians to get their children protected, and we strongly encourage them to do so. We thank Governor Hochul for encouraging more New Yorkers to get vaccinated and for leveraging CUNY’s strong reputation to help lead the State’s resurgence.”
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “Vaccinations were the key to a more normal academic and campus experience throughout SUNY. Now that even younger individuals have an approved vaccine option, this is another huge step to seeing the finish line of this pandemic, and we must continue to do all we can to encourage everyone to get their shot. I applaud Governor Hochul for offering this new incentive along with an opportunity to attend one of our campuses tuition free. We truly hope families across our state take advantage of this offer.”
Our critical work to make the vaccine accessible and available to all eligible children and their families is underway – and we will creatively support and celebrate those who get vaccinated.
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation President Dr. Guillermo Linares said, “I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership in expanding vaccinations to 5- to 11- year old’s and for her action to encourage even more of New York’s youth to get vaccinated. Launching the ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ Vaccine Incentive Program will enable New York to drive down the overall number of positive COVID cases and ensure all New Yorkers are protected. With more opportunities available for young people to receive a full scholarship to one of New York’s world-class institutions, there is no better time than now for kids 5-11 years old to get vaccinated.”
In order to be eligible, children must be between the ages of 5 to 11 and be residents of New York State. Pursuant to federal law, children must be lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens in order to be eligible. Federal COVID-19 relief and outreach funds will be used to cover the cost of this vaccination incentive program.
Parents and guardians can enter on behalf of their eligible children here and those without internet access may call 1-833-697-4829 to submit an entry over the phone. New York State will administer the random drawing each week, and winners will be verified by the New York State Department of Health and New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.
Only one entry per child will be accepted, and children must have received their first COVID-19 vaccination at least one day prior to their entry. Entries will be carried over through all the ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ program’s drawings. Additional information is available in the Official Rules.
Parents and guardians are also encouraged to visit the State’s new website, ny.gov/vaxforkids, for information, frequently asked questions, and new resources about the COVID-19 vaccine and children. The State has recently added ready-made materials to support pediatric providers and localities administering the vaccine to children on-the-ground, including new posters and stickers available here.
New Yorkers looking to schedule vaccine appointments for 5- to 11-year-old children are encouraged to contact their child’s pediatrician, family physician, county health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers, or pharmacies that may be administering the vaccine for this age group. Parents and guardians can visit vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations. Make sure that the provider offers the Pfizer-BioNTechCOVID-19 vaccine, as the other COVID-19 vaccines are not yet authorized for this age group. At this time, New York State’s mass vaccination sites are currently being utilized for people aged 12 and older, while our #VaxToSchool pop-ups are focused on 12- to 17-year-olds. Additional programming and events focused on 5- to 11-year-olds will be announced soon.