Monthly Archives: December 2017

National Survey Suggests Ways to Increase Flu Vaccination in College


Nearly half of students who do not typically get vaccinated say they would reconsider if provided a tangible incentive

Bethesda, Md. (December 6, 2017) – Although most college students in the U.S. (70%) believe it is important to get an annual influenza (flu) vaccine, less than half (46%) say they typically get vaccinated. This is according to results from a new National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) survey conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,005 U.S. undergraduate college students ages 18-24. The national survey, which looked at student attitudes toward flu vaccination, also uncovered new insights into increasing participation in vaccination programs on campuses, with access to the vaccine at low or no cost (61%) and incentives, such as free food or gift cards (61%), rising to the top of offerings that students say would have a lot of impact on the likelihood of getting vaccinated.

College students are at particularly high risk of getting, and spreading, flu because of frequent exposure to high-touch areas like common living spaces and classrooms, and participation in social activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), annual vaccination is the best way to reduce the chance that an individual will get flu.1 Yet, on U.S. college campuses, flu vaccination rates remain low, falling dramatically short of the 70% Healthy People 2020 target recommendation.2 Motivating college students to get an annual flu vaccination remains difficult.

“As a healthcare community, we’ve long known that college students are profoundly under-vaccinated. This new research indicates that a combination of education and incentives may be an effective way to reach college students who have been apprehensive about vaccination in the past,” said NFID Board member, Lisa S. Ipp, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine, Associate Director of Adolescent Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital. “We now plan to work with academic, health, advocacy and student leaders to share these insights and uncover additional best practices to drive improvements in flu immunization efforts on campuses.”

Notable highlights from the survey include the following:

Misperception and fear are key barriers to flu vaccination. Among students who do not typically receive a seasonal flu vaccine, the top reasons for not getting vaccinated include a mix of misperception, fear and skepticism: 36% say that they are healthy and don’t need it; 31% say they don’t like needles; and 30% say they don’t think the vaccine works. Additionally, nearly three in five students (59%) seem to think that the flu vaccine can cause the flu and 59% don’t think it’s likely they’ll get the flu in the next 12 months.
Making flu vaccines more accessible may increase the likelihood of vaccination. More than three in five students (61%) believe that access to the vaccine at low or no cost would increase college students’ likelihood of getting vaccinated by a lot. Nearly half (48%) say the same about having the vaccine available in multiple locations on campus. Interestingly, students residing in the South are the most likely to believe that access to the vaccine at low or no cost would affect the likelihood of students getting the vaccine by a lot (68% vs. 58% Northeast, 57% Midwest and 58% West).
Providing incentives may be one of the best ways to increase participation in flu vaccination programs. When it comes to increasing college students’ likelihood of getting a flu vaccine, students say that offering an incentive is key. More than three in five students (61%) say that a monetary or other incentive would affect the likelihood of students getting the vaccine by a lot. Furthermore, students say that free food (31%) and a big campus event with free food/music/etc. (26%) would be most effective at encouraging more students to get vaccinated. Among those who do not typically get the flu vaccine, 49% agreed that the only way they would get vaccinated would be if a tangible incentive (e.g., cash, gift card, free food, etc.) was offered.
Family and healthcare professionals all play an important role in flu-related decision-making. When it comes to flu vaccine decision-making, college students note they rely a lot on the advice of a parent/guardian or other family member (48%); healthcare professionals (44%); the student health center on their campus (24%); and friends/peers (20%).

In 2016, NFID convened a College Influenza Stakeholder Summit to discuss the challenges of increasing flu vaccination rates on college campuses. This survey serves as a next step in better understanding the attitudes of college students related to flu. Additional information about flu on college campuses can be found on the NFID website A visual summary of the survey results are also available in an infographic form online here.

About the survey
The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) within the U.S. between October 12 and 31, 2017 among 1,005 college students ages 18-24 who are currently attending a 2-year or 4-year college or university. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, household income, household size and enrollment status were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit for more information.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu). Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. Accessed November 13, 2017
2. US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020. Immunization and Infectious Diseases. Accessed November 13, 2017

Contact Information: 
Joanna Colbourne
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
202-538-7072 (mobile)

Cengage Launches First-of-Its-Kind Subscription to Offer Unlimited, On-Demand and Affordable Access to Digital Course Materials

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Cengage Unlimited Gives Students Total Access to More Than 20,000 Digital Learning Products; Transforming How They Buy and Use Course Materials

BOSTON, December 5, 2017 — In a bold move designed to lower student costs and improve access to learning, Cengage, an education and technology company, today announced Cengage Unlimited. This first-of-its-kind subscription gives students access to all the company’s digital higher education materials—more than 20,000 products across 70 disciplines and more than 675 courses—for $119.99 a semester, no matter how many Cengage materials they use.

“High costs are limiting too many students from being able to access and succeed in their learning,” said Michael Hansen, CEO, Cengage.  “Students are either spending hundreds of dollars a year on materials, or else put off buying them altogether because they can’t afford them.  And, for many students who do find a way, it is because they are taking on student loan debt that will impact them for years.

“With Cengage Unlimited, students finally have an alternative to the traditional and costly approach of paying for each course’s materials individually.  We are taking unprecedented action to break down cost barriers and end the cycle of students having to choose between course materials they can afford and the results they want,” Hansen continued.

Beginning in August 2018, students at U.S. higher education institutions can subscribe to Cengage Unlimited at  After paying a one-time subscription fee, students will access a dashboard offering unlimited access to the company’s comprehensive library of content that includes renowned authors such as Gregory Mankiw and the late James Stewart. A subscription includes the award-winning digital learning platforms MindTap and WebAssign; students using these platforms also will have the option of free print rentals.  When their subscription ends, students will retain reference access to their key course materials for the first year for free.  Cengage plans to work with its partners at on-campus and off-campus bookstores, and online retailers, to make subscriptions available to students.

Cengage Unlimited underscores how students are the primary focus of everything we do at Cengage.  Knowing that cost is among the highest hurdles facing students, we embarked on a very deliberate path to find a solution. A subscription to Cengage Unlimited gives students access to all of our best-in-class authors and learning products at significantly lower cost than they might pay otherwise,” said Fernando Bleichmar, EVP and Chief Product Officer, Cengage.  “Today’s announcement shows how Cengage can quickly scale and adapt to customers’ needs, and how we are best-positioned to be the catalyst for change in our industry.”

Underscoring the company’s transition from traditional print publisher to a digital company, Cengage recently announced its strategic goal to be a 90 percent digital company by 2019. The company has pioneered multiple initiatives to provide students more value in their learning, including Cengage Inclusive Access, which can save students up to 55 percent and ensures they have access to their course materials on the first day of class; and OpenNow, a suite of low-cost, technology-enhanced OER products for general education courses.

For more information, visit

About Cengage

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher ed, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service.  We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.



Media Contacts:

Susan Aspey

Lindsay Stanley