Free college tuition? NY to raffle scholarships to 12- to 17-year-olds who get vaccinated

teen covid vaccine new york

Justin Lemus, 15, poses with his vaccination sticker after getting his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Mount Sinai South Nassau Vaxmobile parked at the De La Salle School in Freeport, New York on May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — Several New York children who get vaccinated have the chance to receive a full-tuition college scholarship under a new incentive Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Under the “Get a Shot and Make Your Future” incentive, 12- to 17-year-olds who receive the COVID-19 vaccine can enter a prize drawing with the chance to receive a full scholarship to a CUNY or SUNY college, Cuomo said.

The incentive was set up to encourage more children between 12 to 17 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Vaccination rates across the state are beginning to slow and our greatest need is with young New Yorkers who make up a large percent of positive cases and have the lowest vaccination percentage in the state,” Cuomo said. “To better reach this population and defeat COVID once and for all we need to get creative in our efforts. We’re offering all 12- to 17-year-olds a potentially life-changing opportunity—a full scholarship, room and board at any public college or university in New York—in exchange for getting vaccinated. And the earlier you get vaccinated, the more chances you have to win—it’s free, there’s no appointments and you also have a chance to win a full scholarship, so if you haven’t already done so, go get vaccinated.”

There will be a total of 50 winners who will receive up to four years of full-time undergraduate study or five years in an approved five-year bachelor’s degree program which includes the following: 

  • Tuition: An amount equal to tuition at the State or City University of New York’s in-state tuition.
  • 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.

The raffle begins Thursday and runs through July 7. A weekly drawing will be done every Wednesday.

Gov. Cuomo also said this would be a great incentive for parents as they may not need to worry about getting their children a college education. 

To enter, visit

Those who get vaccinated will be eligible for every weekly drawing, Cuomo said. Those who receive the shot earlier have a greater chance of winning.

Currently those between 12 and 17 are the least likely to get vaccinated, but have become the population driving the COVID positivity rate, according to the governor. 

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