March 19, 2010
College and census officials are making a concerted effort to make sure that college students fill out their census forms this year.
Including college students in the census can be challenging for a number of reasons, reports USA Today: One problem is that forms are sent in March, just before spring break, and follow-ups take place in May, when many students have already left for the summer. Additionally, many people mistakenly believe that college students are supposed to be counted in their hometowns, and international students often believe that they are not supposed to complete the form at all.
The financial consequences for not reporting an accurate count can be significant. The 25,000 students at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, for example, make up nearly a fifth of the city's residents. Each person counted brings in about $880 a year in federal funding in the next decade.
"You start to do the math--what happens if you miss one or 10 or 1,000 students?" said Ken Waldo, the city's chief planner, who was quoted by USA Today. "It adds up pretty quick."
That's what happened during the 2000 count, when the U.S. Census Bureau skipped a number of residence halls at the