Get your shot — at free college tuition - RED - Relevant. Essential. Denver.

Get your shot — at free college tuition

The ‘Rowdy Return Scholarship’ vaccine drawing will award tuition to 5 MSU Denver undergrads who have received at least one dose of any of the three authorized Covid-19 vaccines.

June 8, 2021

By Cory Phare

Metropolitan State University of Denver is joining the State of Colorado in providing financial incentives for getting a Covid-19 vaccine.

The University announced today the launch of the ‘Rowdy Return Scholarship’ vaccine drawing, which will award tuition to five MSU Denver undergraduate students who have received at least one dose of any of the three authorized Covid-19 vaccines.

“When we set the goal for a full return to campus for fall, our hope was that our students would answer the call, get vaccinated and help us reach that goal,” said President Janine Davidson, Ph.D. “Our goal is now on the horizon, and the Rowdy Return Scholarships are one way for us to reward our students for their commitment to public health.”

Qualifying undergraduates are eligible to win one of five scholarships for the cost of tuition and fees not covered by financial-aid awards for the 2021-22 academic year, up to $8,164 for the full year ($4,082 each semester). The drawings will take place after Aug. 1.

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In addition to supporting vaccination uptake to ensure a safe full return to campus in the fall, the scholarship initiative can also help the University carry out its access-driven mission, said Mary Sauceda, associate vice president of Enrollment Management at MSU Denver.

“The focus is on rewarding the responsible actions of building a safer community from those who have been vaccinated, as well as motivate those who plan to but haven’t gotten around to it yet,” she said.

To be entered in the drawing and eligible to receive a scholarship should they win, students must:

  • Complete a vaccine-verification form, sent this month to all students via email, by Aug. 1.
  • Have received their first vaccine by July 19, if they indicated on the verification form that they have not yet been vaccinated but intend to do so.
  • Be registered for the fall semester.
  • And have filled out a 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid and/or Colorado Application for State Financial Aid form. 

The five winners’ vaccination statuses will be verified with the state’s immunization-information database prior to award distribution.

Final scholarship amounts will vary by individual and are structured to cover the gap between financial-aid awards (grants/scholarships) and the amount owed, often covered by a combination of “self-help aid” of loans, work-study and out-of-pocket payments.

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“We see students who are in that difficult spot of being just beyond the threshold of qualifying for programs like Pell grants but who also aren’t able to meet the estimated financial contributions,” Sauceda said. “Those are the students who could benefit most from an incentive like this.”

“It’s always a good idea to support our Roadrunners financially, help them get their degrees and move along the path to their dream careers,” she added.

MSU Denver students should complete an emailed vaccine-verfication form to qualify for the Rowdy Return Scholarship. For more information on the program or the University’s Safe Return to Campus, email

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