Requirement for Vaccination Against Bacterial Meningitis for Entering Students

Handbook of Operating Procedures 9-1510

Requirement for Vaccination Against Bacterial Meningitis for Entering Students

University of Texas SealEffective September 17, 2015
Executive Sponsor: Vice President for Student AffairsPolicy Owner: Director, University Health Services
I. Policy Statement 

The University of Texas at Austin (University) requires all entering students, as a condition of enrollment, to provide proof acceptable to the University that they have been effectively immunized against bacterial meningitis; or that they are either excepted by, or meet the exemption requirements provided in this policy.

II. Reason for Policy 

The University complies with Texas Education Code §51.9192, the "Jamie Schanbaum Act and Nicolis Williams Act,", which requires certain entering students of a Texas institution of higher education, including transfer students, to show evidence of immunization for bacterial meningitis prior to enrollment.

III. Scope & Audience 

This policy applies to all first time University students who have been admitted to the University.

IV. Definitions (specific to this policy) 

A student has registered for classes during the semester and is otherwise eligible to attend classes during the semester.

Entering Student:

Any student admitted to the University

  • for the first time on or after January 1, 2014, including a transfer student from any other institution, including another UT System institution;
  • a dual-enrollment student other than a high school student described in “c” below in this definition; or
  • a returning student who previously attended the University and who is re-enrolling following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester.


For purposes of this policy, the term entering student does not include

  1. a student who is twenty-two (22) years of age or older on the first day of the semester they enter the University;
  2. a student who is enrolled only in online or other distance education courses at the University;
  3. a high school student who is concurrently enrolled at the University as a dual-enrollment student in dual-credit courses held at a Texas high school;
  4. a student participating in a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved continuing education program or course that consists of less than 360 contact hours;
  5. a student participating in continuing education corporate training; or
  6. an individual attending any other continuing education program or course offered by the University that does not require approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Justifiable Circumstances:

Circumstances over which an entering student has no reasonable control that prevented him or her from providing proof of the required vaccination or an exception as set forth in Section VII.C prior to registration.   Neither failure to receive the notice required by Section VII.D of this policy or a claimed general lack of knowledge of the vaccination requirement will be considered to constitute justifiable circumstances. 

Online or Other Distance Education Course:

A correspondence course or a course in which students receive web-based instruction. A course that requires any face-to-face contact, such as meeting in a testing lab or for a special presentation, is not an "online or other distance education course."

Register (Register for Classes):

The act of registration.

Registration (Registration for Classes):

The official process by which a student signs up to take a class or classes offered by the University for the semester. It may include either online registration or in-person registration.

Required Vaccination:

An initial vaccination or booster dose recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as effective for the immunization of an individual against bacterial meningitis.

V. Website (for policy)
VI. Contacts 
Contact Details Web
University Health ServciesPhone:512-475-8349Website:
Office of the RegistrarPhone:512-475-7654Website:
VII. Responsibilities & Procedures 
  1. General Requirements
  1. Responsible Party

The president of the University delegates authority to the director of university health services, or designee, as the responsible party (RP) to receive, review, and determine acceptability of documentation required under this policy.  This includes documentation of the required proof of vaccination or documentation submitted for an exemption.


Documentation of the required vaccination or an exception made will be securely maintained by the RP on behalf of the University in compliance with applicable federal and state confidentiality laws and regulations, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


  1. For purposes of this policy, no entering student will be considered to be enrolled in the University unless the entering student has first registered for classes for the semester.
  1. No entering student will be permitted to register for classes for the semester until the RP has accepted evidence submitted by the entering student, or on behalf of that student, that establishes the entering student has either
  • received a required vaccination  that was administered no longer than five (5) years before the first  day of the semester; or during the five (5) year period prior to but no later than ten (10) days prior to the first day of the semester; or
  • demonstrated circumstances that justify an exception allowed under Section VII.C below; or
  • met one of the exceptions set forth in Section VII.C of this policy.
  1. Upon submission of proof that establishes justifiable circumstances acceptable to the RP, an entering student may be granted an additional period of time in which to provide either documentation of the required vaccination or proof that he or she meets an exception as set forth in Section VII.C of this policy. This extension of time will not extend beyond the 10th day after the start of the semester. Decisions granting extensions of time will be made by on a case-by-case basis, are deemed final, and are not subject to appeal.
  1. Failure to submit documentation of the required vaccination or an exception set forth in Section VII.C of the policy in the timeframe allowed by this policy does not alleviate the entering student's responsibility under any contractual relationship between the University and the entering student relating to payment for on-campus housing or other similar obligations. An entering student who fails to comply with the applicable deadline will not be permitted to register at the University for the semester.
  1. Documentation of Required Vaccination: Form and Maintenance
  1. Acceptable documentation is
  • the signature or stamp of the physician, physician's designee, or public health official who administered the vaccination that shows the month, day, and year the required vaccination was administered;
  • an official immunization record issued by a state or local health authority; or
  • an official record received by the University directly from a Texas school official or a school official in another state.
  1. The documentation submitted must
  • be in English unless otherwise acceptable to the RP;
  • state the name and other information to sufficiently identify the individual who received the required vaccination; and
  • clearly identify that the required vaccination was administered to the individual.
  1. Documentation of Permitted Exceptions
  1. An entering student is exempted from the requirements of this policy if he or she submits one of the following to the RP
  • an affidavit or certificate signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in the United States that indicates the physician is of the opinion that the required vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the entering student; or
  • an affidavit using the "Conscientious Exemption Form" promulgated by the Texas Department of State Health Services that is signed by the entering student or parent/guardian, as appropriate, stating that the entering student declines to have the required vaccination based on reasons of conscience, which may include the entering student's religious beliefs. The affidavit must be submitted to the RP no later than the 90th day after the date it is notarized.  This exception will not be accepted, at the discretion of the University, during a disaster or public health emergency, hostile or paramilitary action, or extraordinary law enforcement emergency affecting the University as declared by an appropriate official or authority from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  1. The University will not recognize or grant any other exceptions to the vaccination requirements of this policy.
  1. Information to be Provided to Students

The University will include as part of the materials provided to individuals being accepted for admission to the University

  • written or electronic notice of the right of a student, or, if a student is a minor, the right of the minor student's parent or guardian, to claim an exception from the required vaccine as provided in Section VII.C of this policy; and
  • written or electronic notice of the importance of consulting with a physician about the need for immunization against bacterial meningitis to prevent the disease.
XI. History 

Last review date:  September 17, 2015

Next review date:  September 2017


Previously named  "Requirement for Vaccination Against Bacterial Meningitis for Students Residing in On-Campus Housing"; prior HOP #12.D.1