Bad News For College Students: Nearly 70 Universities Still Require COVID Vaccines

After more than three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools are easing up on mask and vaccine requirements. However, as the new school year approaches, a few colleges are sticking to their COVID-19 vaccine rules for incoming students.
Initially, some states planned to enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for school-aged students, but all those plans seem to have been dropped. California, for instance, intended to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for middle and high schoolers in October 2021 but canceled the mandate in February 2023. In Illinois, a college student-specific mandate was abandoned in 2022, while D.C. public schools repeatedly postponed a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students 12 and older before ultimately shelving the idea.
On May 1, 2023, President Biden officially lifted most of the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates following the end of the national public health emergency for the coronavirus. This decision affected federal workers, federal contractors, foreign air travelers, health care workers, and noncitizens at U.S. land borders. However, against all science and logic, some states and private employers may still impose vaccine requirements.
As of February 2024, certain states continue to uphold vaccine mandates for specific categories of workers or patrons, particularly within the healthcare sector. Predictably, most of these states are blue, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Moreover, some states also mandate boosters or require healthcare workers to maintain “up-to-date” vaccine status. Conversely, several other states, such as Texas, Florida, and Arizona, have enacted laws prohibiting employers from mandating vaccines for their employees.
But some University students may be in for an unpleasant shock. Sixty-eight colleges, including Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, and Harvard, have kept their vaccine mandates for students in place. Other colleges include numerous progressive-leaning colleges in California, New York, and other locations, alongside a substantial representation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Lucia Sinatra, the co-founder of No College Mandates, pointed out, “There is no other country in the world where 68 colleges are still requiring COVID vaccines for students, but in the US, the herd mentality on these campuses is so prevalent that compliance is well over 90%.”
The continuation of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on campuses in February 2024, years after the reported public health emergency, suggests that ulterior motives may be at play, as there is no longer an apparent necessity for college students to receive COVID-19 shots. Sinatra explained that the reason is apparent. “I believe this is because over 1000 colleges initially mandated COVID vaccines; captive populations with the most to lose are the easiest to coerce and manipulate.”
Sinatra points out that these vaccine mandates function as ideological screening tools. Surveys reveal significant disparities in mRNA uptake among different ideological groups—individuals who identify as conservative or Republican show little interest in future COVID boosters. Moreover, adherence to COVID-19 shot mandates serves as status virtue signaling within the community.
The mandates would extend to staff and faculty if it were truly about student safety. But they don’t, in the case of at least one Ivy League university.
Harvard requires students to provide proof of the initial COVID-19 vaccine series or the latest booster shot. It’s a requirement that doesn’t apply to the university’s teachers or staff.
Sinatra questions the rationale of this policy from a public health viewpoint, arguing that it’s discriminatory, arbitrary, and unfair. She suggests that students willing to accept this policy reflect a prioritization of ideological beliefs over seeking truth.
Historical precedents show that it is easier to comply if a student wants a coveted university degree.
According to reports from the New York Post, Rutgers University barred an unvaccinated student from participating in virtual classes. Additionally, Politico reported that Quinnipiac University imposed fines of up to $200 per week on unvaccinated students and restricted their access to the school’s internet services. Per USA Today, Xavier University and the University of Virginia disenrolled unvaccinated students.
And many colleges aren’t stopping with vaccines. In the summer of 2023, it was revealed that some colleges continued requiring students to wear masks. On SDSU’s website, students were told that they would be asked to leave if they refused to wear face coverings in instructional settings. In Maine, one college imposed a $50 fine for not wearing masks.
Similarly, Wellesley still mandates masks in classrooms, although they are optional elsewhere on campus.

America is continuously told to follow “the science,” but the science has shown that enforced COVID-19 protections did little to control the transmission of the virus. Even among the elite universities, science doesn’t matter as much as control. Grooming future Democrats is as easy as enforcing arbitrary policies, especially for those seeking advanced degrees.