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Count Us In!

As the 2010 census gets underway, faculty, administrators, and other campus leaders should do everything possible to engage one of our nation’s most elusive census groups: College students.

Colleges and universities have much to gain from an accurate count of this year’s census. Every ten years, the government uses the results of the census to not only distribute federal aid ($400 billion this time around) and seats in the House of Representatives, but also to determine levels of college tuition grant and loan programs. Census data also informs agencies regarding support levels for faculty, student, and librarian research, and about funding for services in academic communities, like transportation, public safety, medical care, and road repairs. For college towns of all sizes to receive fair and sufficient funding, higher ed students must fill out their census forms from where they live most of the year: Campus. 

“It’s important for students to have adequate services in the community where they live, work, shop, and eat nine months out of the year,” says Laura Waldon, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. “Faculty members should also want to see that money coming back into the community where they work.”

Parents are instructed to omit students from their forms, even if they return to live at home after they leave college. “Otherwise, students will be counted twice,” Waldon says.

Census questionnaires are being delivered or mailed to residential addresses this month and next. Individual questionnaires will be delivered to on-campus housing in April and May. Census takers will coordinate with residence life and housing staff to distribute and collect the questionnaires.

Your partnership as a campus leader sends a strong message to your community about the importance of the census and the benefits of being counted. The 2010 questionnaire is one of the shortest in history and takes about 10 minutes to complete. By partnering with the Census Bureau, NEA members and others faculty can help by:

  • Assuring people that it is safe to answer the 2010 census. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share questionnaire responses with anyone, including other governmental agencies, courts, and law enforcement entities.
  • Posting 2010 census messages on campus marquees, at events, and in campus lobbies.
  • Planning awareness and visibility events during Census on Campus Week in March.
  • Hosting a census information table at fairs, festivals, orientations, and sporting events.
  • Including census information in class discussions, Blackboard pages, Web sites, blogs, Facebook pages, email announcements,
    and college or university newsletters and newspapers. There’s more information at

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