West Virginia Wesleyan College will fine unvaccinated students $750 starting this fall.
Additionally, if they contract COVID-19, they will be charged $250 if they need to quarantine on-campus, reports The Daily Mail.
Founded in 1890, West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private, coed institution. The campus is about 110 acres and an estimated 1,500 students are enrolled. As of 2019, the school’s endowment was over $51.9 million and tuition and fees were roughly $32,252.
An announcement on its website said “while the College is not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine at this time, WVWC will be reviewing this decision once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally approves the COVID-19 vaccines for use beyond the current emergency use status. The FDA decision could come as early as September 2021. The College’s review and decision regarding a possible vaccination mandate would follow immediately.”
The college reports that nearly 90% of its faculty and staff are vaccinated and that “a large percentage of students have already confirmed vaccination as well.”
Vaccinated students, faculty, and staff are not required to wear masks while on campus, but masks are required for those who are unvaccinated. Weekly COVID-19 tests are required for students and faculty who do not get vaccinated.
Dean James Moore said in a statement that the fines collected would “be used to cover the expenses that will come with increased testing and other resources that the college will have to utilize and deploy to keep every student safe.”
“In June, Rhodes College, another small private institution in Memphis, Tenn., announced it would charge unvaccinated students a $1,500 fee starting in the fall,” says NPR. “In an email to students, Rhodes said the decision to charge the fee aligns with ‘our long-standing practice and policy requiring health forms and vaccinations,’ adding it would require all students to be inoculated ‘immediately upon FDA approval’ of the vaccines.”
COVID-19 vaccination requirements vary greatly across the country. In some states, like Texas, public universities can not mandate students to be fully vaccinated but private institutions can.
NBC News notes that “thirteen of the 14 states that do not currently require vaccinations at their colleges or universities voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Arizona is the only state that voted for President Joe Biden that does not require students to get vaccinated.”
So far, major public university systems in Indiana, Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts are facing federal lawsuits filed by students over vaccination requirements.