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Being Unvaccinated For COVID Will Cost Students At A Small College An Extra $750

West Virginia Wesleyan College won't require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they arrive for classes this month — but the small Christian liberal arts school says it will charge a hefty $750 fee for anyone who hasn't received at least a first shot.

The private college, which has about 1,500 students, says that about 90% of faculty and staff and "a large percentage of students" have already been vaccinated.

However, students who don't show proof of vaccination by Sept. 7 will incur the fee, according to the college's website.

"For the College to truly return to a new normal and deliver a high-quality educational experience, we encourage all of our students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated," the college says.

The school, based in the town of Buckhannon, W.Va., says it will also require any student who is unvaccinated to submit to weekly testing and wear a mask indoors. Those students will also "be limited in the use of facilities and other indoor venues for the protection of the health and safety of the campus community."

The college says it "reserves the right to change its policies at any time in order to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community, the city of Buckhannon, and Upshur County."

In June, another small private institution in Memphis, Tenn., Rhodes College, announced it would charge unvaccinated students a $1,500 fee starting in the fall.

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.

Beginning last year, several schools, such as the University of Michigan and Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., charged special fees to cover the cost of coronavirus testing of the student population. And a number of colleges and universities now require students to be vaccinated.

According to The Wall Street Journal, more than a dozen students across the country have sued schools over vaccination mandates.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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