Campus Life

Student results of COVID-19 vaccination survey released

Data shows promising vaccination rates for student survey respondents

Among the undergraduate and graduate students who completed the survey, 88% of University Park respondents and 73% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated. Credit: Penn State Health / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — To help inform COVID-19 contingency plans for fall 2021 and promote health and safety, Penn State students and employees received brief, anonymous surveys regarding individuals’ current COVID-19 vaccination status or their plans to get vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.

In July, the Office of Planning, Assessment and Institutional Research (OPAIR) sent the survey to 87,783 undergraduate and graduate students across the University. The survey closed on Aug. 6.  

Employee results of the survey, also from July, were shared with the Penn State community during the Aug. 3 Town Hall. Out of an abundance of caution, the University announced required masking, effective Aug. 4, for all individuals regardless of vaccination status while inside campus buildings. 

“I am grateful to those who took the time to complete the anonymous survey, as this data is vital for the success of our fall return to campus,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of the University’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center. “The survey results evidence progress with student vaccination rates, which we are pleased to see. The safety of our University community is of utmost importance, and we continue to strongly urge all to get vaccinated.”

The student survey garnered a 65% overall response rate from students at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses, with a 71% response rate from University Park and a 56% response rate from Commonwealth Campuses. The response rate for World Campus was 20%.

Among undergraduate and graduate student respondents:

  • 88% of University Park respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated

  • 73% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated

  • 84% of World Campus respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated

Among undergraduate student respondents:

  • 83% of University Park respondents report being fully vaccinated

  • 67% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

  • 76% of World Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

​Among graduate student respondents:

  • 79% of University Park respondents report being fully vaccinated

  • 75% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

  • 91% of World Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

The University requested that individuals complete the survey regardless of whether they already submitted their vaccination status through myUHS or the Salesforce Health Cloud.

The results of the student survey with self-reported vaccination rates are promising, officials said. However, as with the employee survey results, OPAIR cautions that there is the potential for response bias in the survey results, as vaccinated individuals may be more likely to respond to the survey than unvaccinated individuals, which could lead to lower vaccination rates in the non-respondent population. Nevertheless, the survey provides sound estimations of the range of vaccination rates in the student community. 

University leadership continues to strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to get a vaccine as soon as possible and share with the University that they have been fully vaccinated.  

Individuals seeking a vaccine can use the CDC's map of vaccine providers, which includes hospitals, urgent care centers, doctors’ offices and pharmacies. 

Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law can upload their vaccination records through myUHS. Employees and World Campus students can share their vaccination status to the University using Salesforce Health Cloud, a secure online platform for collecting health data.

After providing proof of vaccination, students and employees who wish to participate in the incentive program must also complete an online form to become eligible for weekly drawings, such as a $1,000 payment (subject to taxes for employees), $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble or a football signed by Penn State head football coach James Franklin. Drawings for the vaccine incentive program will be open until Aug. 23.

The latest vaccination information for University community members is available on Penn State’s virus information website.


Last Updated August 13, 2021