UW System offers students a chance at $7K to get vaccinated

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System won’t be requiring it’s students to get vaccinated this fall but officials are hoping to motivate them to get the shot with a new incentive program.

It’s called “70 for 70” and under the program students who attend university that achieve at least a 70% vaccination rate will be entered into a drawing to win one of 70 scholarships each valued at $7,000.

UW System President Tommy Thompson said this program is a much better way to reach students than mandates.

“Even if you order it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to do it,” Thompson said. “But what we’re trying to do is try to encourage, have a little fun doing it.”

The way the initiative works is simple: Students who are vaccinated will let their university know they’ve gotten their shots. Once a school’s student body has reached the threshold, those vaccinated students will be entered into a drawing for a number of the 70 scholarships proportionate to the university’s enrollment. Students must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 to qualify for the scholarship.


If any universities don’t reach the 70% threshold, the number of scholarships for other schools will increase. All universities in the UW System will be participating in the program with the exception of UW-Madison.

UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith Mcglone said, in a message to News 3, the Madison campus is already on path to reach an 80% vaccination rate among students.

“I’ve been vaccinated for everything that was required since I was a kid and I think you can just add this one to the list,” said Computer Science major Ben Raffel.

Mcglone also noted the University’s education efforts and access to vaccines have been achieving good results but future incentives are not out of the question.

“I think maybe a good idea would be football tickets or something like that. I know a lot of people who didn’t get football tickets this year,” Raffel said. “A few tickets to a game doesn’t seem like something too hard for the university to throw out there.”

The 70% vaccinated marker was chosen based on estimates for the amount needed to reach herd immunity.

The vaccination campaign is expected to cost the UW System roughly $500,000.