WINNIPEG -- Students taking a shot at a college education are being encouraged to get a COVID-19 shot before they start this fall.

At Assiniboine Community College (ACC), new and returning students who show proof of having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine are eligible for a draw to have a year’s tuition of up to $4000 covered.

ACC president Mark Frison said the idea behind the college’s ‘Armed for Fall’ contest was adapted from a similar vaccine incentive offered by the University of Lethbridge.

“The ACC emergency response team was looking for ways to promote vaccine uptake and decided to try this approach,” Frison said.

He said having more students vaccinated makes for a safer campus experience for all, but that’s not the only benefit.

“The hope is that this fall will be a more traditional college experience. There’s an appetite among prospective students to learn in a more hands-on way than what we’ve been able to offer,” Frison said.

“Vaccines are an incredibly important response to our global fight against COVID-19. We feel a pronounced responsibility to do our part as an organization to encourage vaccine uptake across Manitoba, and particularly among students,” Frison added in a statement.

ACC offers programs at 30 sites around Manitoba and draws a total enrollment of around 4,000 students annually. All new and returning Assiniboine students who are registered in a program for fall and have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine before September 6, 2021, are eligible to enter the contest online. In addition to the grand prize of tuition up to $4,000, runner-up prizes include gift certificates to the campus bookstore and college prize packages.

Ashley Fordyce, president of the ACC Students’ Association said the Association is excited to see the college encouraging students to book their vaccine shots through the contest.

“Getting our population immunized takes us one step closer to partaking in exciting events, attending in-person classes, and being able to return to a sense of normalcy. This effort requires all of us, and I truly believe that students can band together to make a difference at Assiniboine, and in Manitoba as a whole,” said Fordyce in a statement.

The contest is open online already at this link.  Entries for the contest will close on September 6, and the prize draw will take place on September 20.