New York State’s newest vaccine incentive offers full scholarship for 50 young people


(WIVB) — Fifty New Yorkers between the ages 12 to 17 could graduate debt-free thanks to the State’s “Get a Shot to Make your Future” program.

Governor Cuomo announced this latest vaccine incentive this week, saying those in that age group can enter into a random prize drawing when they get their vaccine. If chosen, they’ll receive a full scholarship, including room and board, to any SUNY or CUNY school.

This comes as the national student loan debt continues to climb. Currently, more than 45 million Americans total $1.7 trillion dollars in student loans.

Financial advisor Paul Coleman told News 4 graduating with loans can often lead to other financial issues in the long run.

“A lot of these younger people are saying ‘I am in a steady relationship, I’m ready to buy a home, I want to get married, I’m ready to start a family,’” he said. “They also follow it up with ‘I don’t feel that I can with this student loan debt hanging over my head.”

As part of this vaccine incentive program, the state will select 10 winners each week for five weeks from the random drawing.

Cuomo said this federal COVID-19 relief will be used to cover the cost of this program.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.