2020 Census needs college students to participate

Photo courtesy the United States Census 2020

Every 10 years, Census questionnaires are mailed out for residents to complete. College students are generally uncertain as to whether they can fill out a census or whether the mailman made an error by dropping it in their mailbox. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, students’ priority is staying focused while on a Zoom call, then, ‘How was I able to receive this nice amount in Pell grants?’

Many college cities do not receive the statistics they require because most college students are unaware as to how the census significantly benefits them in college.

Take Annaya Morrison, a professional pharmacy undergrad at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University who thinks the survey is a means of knowing how students behave, but not the full extent of the services that come from participation in census.

“I think it’s essential for students to fill out census because it gives the overall staff and employees a certain outlook and perception from the students. A census is a way to get information about students and how they’re feeling,” Morrison said.

College cities all over the country rely heavily on census feedback from the students regardless if a student is on-campus or off-campus. The Census outcomes aid the amount of funding that the community will receive for the next 10 years.

Infrastructure, public transportation, healthcare, special education, student wellness programs, Head Start programs, social service, adult education grants, affordable housing, and federal money such as Pell grants and student loans are some of the resources that come from the census data received. The calculation affects federal funds that communities obtain if multiple students don’t participate in the census. Students may receive less funding for school than the previous semester.

Assistant Regional Census Manager Marilyn Stephens addressed the completion process for college students and ways to fill out census form.

“The question we as residents have to ask ourselves is, will are numbers support our needs in the next 10 years? There are three different ways the 2020 census can be completed: by phone, by mail, and online. For the first time in history, residents can reply to the census online. For students who live off-campus in a rental apartment or house have to respond to the census themselves by filling out one questionnaire per household, counting all roommates that live or sleep in that facility majority of the time. For students who live on campus, a representative from each building fills one form out including the statistics collected from the administrative records,” Stephens said.

The 2020 Census questionnaire is efficient and effortless to answer, and the feedback given is covered by the law. The questionnaire starts by asking four questions about the number of people staying or living in that home, additional people staying in the home on April 1, whether it’s an apartment, house, or mobile home, and contact information in case the official Census Bureau needed additional information.

Each person within that household will need to fill out one part on the census questionnaire, including their first and last name, gender, age, date of birth, race, and if the person commonly lives or resides somewhere else.

Senior theater FAMU undergraduate, Morgan Freeman, shared her experience when filling out the 2020 Census questionnaire.

“My experience was quick and understandable. The questions it asked were simple such as, my race and age, and how many people lived in my household. I understood what census is which, is collecting data and demographics to ensure that the correct funding would designate to that area. It took 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire,” Freeman said.

The 2020 Census will marks the 24th time the nation has  undertaken a census count. Online, by mail, by phone, it is not too late to fill out the 2020 Census questionnaire to help your community gain more funding for resources. The 2020 Census will end on Sept. 30.