Rhodes College Set To Charge Unvaccinated Students $1,500 Who Return In The Fall

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Daniel O'Keefe Contributor
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Rhodes College in Tennessee announced on June 8 that it would be charging returning students who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine an extra $1,500 in fees.

“The college fully intends to require the COVID-19 vaccination immediately upon FDA approval,” a June 8 letter sent out by the Vice President for Student Life reads. The vaccine “will be required for students, faculty, staff, vendors, and campus partners,” according to the letter. 

“In anticipation of FDA approval, we are strongly recommending all students to be vaccinated this summer in order to not prevent or delay your return to campus in August. Immediately following FDA approval, students will be required to be vaccinated to access the campus.”

The letter also says that those who plan on returning to campus in the fall without receiving vaccination will be required to pay a “$1500 per semester Health & Safety fee to cover the costs of mandatory testing as outlined below.”

Unvaccinated students will be required to undergo regular testing throughout the course of the Fall semester, whereas vaccinated students will only be required to receive a test if they show symptoms of the virus, according to the letter.

Rhodes’ policy allows for students wishing to exempt themselves from the vaccination requirement, due to medical or religious reasons, to submit a request to the school that will be reviewed by Student Accessibility Services. The school is also allowing international students who “may not have access to vaccinations prior to returning” to document their intent to receive the vaccine upon their arrival to campus. (RELATED: ‘The Time Is Now’: Biden Admin To Hold Summit For Reopenings As Education Secretary Urges Schools To ‘Act Immediately’)

The State University of New York (SUNY) system announced back in April that COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all in-person students. Rutgers University will likewise require full vaccination for its entire student body.

“While our campus commitment to masking and distancing guided our success in spring, it will be our campus commitment to campus-wide vaccinations that helps us achieve a successful fall semester,” the letter from Rhodes College states. “A campus-wide commitment to vaccination will mean that we can move towards full capacity and reduced masking allowing for the intentional in-person campus life experience that we all love about Rhodes.”