Mini-Grants to Support Student Ambassador Programs


The Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice (HECCOP) leverages the expertise and resources of its members in a variety of higher education disciplines to create and cultivate a community of practice on the topic of COVID-19 mitigation and response.

HECCOP has produced a toolkit for campuses to use with students to create and enhance student ambassador programs to promote COVID-19 risk mitigation. 

We are awarding 20 mini-grants of $2,200 each  to campuses to facilitate use of the COVID-19 Student Ambassador Toolkit. Vaccination may be one of the strategies addressed, but programs that focus on behaviors such as mask wearing, handwashing, and physical distancing will be given priority. Funding will be given to institutions or campus groups for purposes described in the application. No funding will be given directly to individuals. 

Even on campuses with high vaccination rates, there may be situations or settings where risk mitigation behaviors are still necessary and thoughtful, compassionate response to the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. On campuses with low to moderate vaccination rates, individuals will need to assess personal and community risk on an ongoing basis and may choose to engage in risk-mitigation behaviors even if not required to do so. Campuses will need to be responsive to variants, outbreaks, waning effectiveness of vaccines, and seasonal flu. Student ambassadors can be a powerful component of an overall campus risk-mitigation strategy.

Application Timeline

August 18, 2021, at 11:59 PM ET
Deadline to submit an application

September 7, 2021
Mini-grant recipients announced

December 10, 2021
Summary Reports due 


Applicants must:

  • Be a two- or four-year degree granting, not-for-profit institution of higher education* located within the United States and US Territories.
  • Agree to advance the mission of the Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice. 
  • Secure the approval of an administrator (e.g., Dean of Students, Faculty Advisor, Health Center Director) to apply to the mini-grant program and, if awarded, sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

*Student groups are eligible to apply with the support of their advisor.

Award Requirements

  1. Grantees will be required to submit a W-9 form and an invoice to receive payment of the mini-grant. 
  2. Grantees will be required to submit their program information to the HECCOP Compendium.
  3. Grantees must submit a status report by December 10, 2021.
  4. Grantees will be given 50% of the mini-grant funding at the beginning of the project and 50% at the conclusion of the project.
  5. Grantees may not use the mini-grant funds to purchase food, drink, or items to be raffled. 
  6. Funds may be used for: 
    • Giveaway items as incentives for risk-mitigation, e.g., stickers for laptops, water bottles, t-shirts, etc. to be given out to students complying with campus policy, mask-wearing, etc.
    • Hire student ambassadors to promote risk-mitigation.
    • Social media ads/campus newsletters.
    • Purchase awareness and visibility items (e.g., photo booth and props). 
    • Services and non-food items to create a celebratory atmosphere at vaccination sites or outreach events.
    • Printed materials, banners, signage, buttons, etc.

Scoring Criteria

  • Are the program goals written as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound)? 

Example 1: By the end of September 2021, our group will partner with at least 5 student organizations to host listening sessions to better understand what settings on- and off-campus are perceived as high-risk for COVID transmission.

Example 2: By fall break, we will have identified at least 10 local businesses that will offer discounts to students with proof of vaccination.

  • Is the implementation plan feasible?
  • Does the implementation plan complement other efforts at the institution?
  • Is the evaluation plan comprehensive?
  • Does the program include historically underrepresented groups or marginalized and vulnerable populations?
  • If awarded a grant, will the program be meaningful to the campus?


For more information, please contact:

Heather Zesiger, PhD, MPH, MCHES
Project Director
Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice (HECCOP)