Here's how colleges plan to enforce their COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Students who do not get vaccinated will lose access to campus buildings, classes, and more.

Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are requiring students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. As back to school season heats up, colleges are enforcing their vaccine mandates through a variety of methods. 

Though class registration and access to campus facilities are generally among the first privileges unvaccinated students will lose, many universities have unique caveats to their COVID vaccine policies that will shape the upcoming school year:

Wake Forest 

Wake Forest University has announced that it will begin removing students from courses and housing assignments on August 1st if they have not submitted either proof of vaccination or been granted an exemption. Students who later get the vaccine in time to re-enroll will be permitted to do so, but there is no guarantee that they will be able to get into the same classes they had planned to take in the upcoming semester. 

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Cornell University 

Unlike most other schools that are requiring the shot, Cornell is allowing unvaccinated students to return to campus as long as they have scheduled an appointment to receive their first dose. 

Cornell is taking a three-tiered approach to enforcing its vaccine requirement.   A student who is not fulfilling the requirement, by either providing proof of vaccination, providing proof of an upcoming first dose appointment, or obtaining a medical or religious exemption by August 16th will lose access to some campus facilities, like libraries and gyms, the next day. The student will also be unable to add or drop courses. 

If the student does not comply by September 9th, he or she will lose access the next day to the online portal that hosts reading materials and course assignments. If the student is still out of compliance by September 25th, he will be disenrolled on the 26th and blocked from re-enrolling - which carries a $350 fee - until he is either vaccinated, scheduled for a vaccine, or exempted on medical or religious grounds. 

Virginia Tech

Like Wake Forest and Cornell, Virginia Tech plans to dis-enroll students who do not get vaccinated. According to the university’s web site, “Students who comply after they have been dis-enrolled will need to go through enrollment again. Their class schedule will not be saved for them.” 

Virginia Tech students who apply for religious exemptions at this point in the year will be blocked from receiving any future vaccines at the student health center, not just the COVID shot. 

[RELATED: WATCH: Citing diversity, BYU denies vaccine exemption for student with rare syndrome]


Unvaccinated Stanford students will not be bumped from their courses, but that is because they will not be allowed to register for courses in the first place. Students who have not been vaccinated but have requested either more time to get the shot or an exemption will still be permitted to register for classes. 

University of Maryland and New York University

The University of Maryland has told students that if they do not get vaccinated, they will lose access to campus housing and academic buildings. The school says those students “may face the cancellation” of their upcoming course registrations, though the denial of entry to campus buildings will be the first consequence. New York University has also said that it will cut off campus access first and may escalate to cancelling students’ course registrations. 

Syracuse University

Syracuse students who are not vaccinated and do not have a valid exemption will not be allowed to be on campus.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame has announced that students who do not comply with the vaccine policy will not be allowed to move into campus housing or register for classes.  

Quinnipiac University 

Quinnipiac University students who remain unvaccinated without an approved exemption will be charged weekly fees that increase over time, according to the Quinnipiac University Chronicle. Charges for the whole semester would total $2,275. Students who are vaccinated by September 14 will not be charged, but students still unvaccinated by that date will be kicked off campus wi-fi.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito