Contrary to popular belief, Georgetown students count as D.C. residents toward the population count for U.S. Census 2010, which will soon arrive at Georgetown’s campus.

Andy Pino, director of media relations for the university, said in an e-mail that the university will have census forms within the next few weeks and the university will coordinate the distribution. Georgetown University is legally unable to submit census information due to privacy laws, resulting in the need for individual census forms.

“We expect to have the forms in the coming weeks,” he said. “Once we have them, Residence Life staff will coordinate with the students in the residence halls to make sure everyone fills out and returns their forms.”

Students are instructed to fill out their forms here, instead of having their parents fill out their forms, as their Georgetown University residences at Georgetown or in the surrounding area are considered their primary residences. College students, unless they are living at home, should not be counted on their parents’ census forms.

“Under law, everyone is required to reply to the census. Census counts are used in determining representation in the House of Representatives – though, in the case of the District of Columbia, there is one non-voting delegate, not subject to the normal calculations,” Scott Fleming, vice president for federal relations, said in an e-mail. “Census counts are used to allocate funds under federal programs that are allocated based on population and inform decisions such as, for example, need for schools in particular areas.”
The census 2010 Web site emphasizes the importance of the accuracy of the census, as it affects estimations for the distribution of funds for infrastructure and other public services.
International students, regardless of their citizenship status, should still complete the form so that the District is given proportional funding for student-based or community-based activities.

USA Today reported on March 17 about the importance of college students responding to the census, citing the prime example of Colorado State University.

“Colorado State University’s 25,000 students represent 18 [percent] of the city’s 140,000 residents. That translates to more than $200 million in potential federal funding in the next decade,” the USA Today article said. “The state’s demography office estimates that each person counted brings in $880 a year.

Census officials cite the generation gap as a challenge to reaching the college student demographic. For a group of students who live in a world of instant news access and Facebook, a census form delivered through the mail could seem outdated.

According to the census 2010 Web site, the District of Columbia is currently reporting a 21 percent mail-back report, which is higher than the national mail-back rate of 20 percent.

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