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          Make it count: a guide to the 2010 US Census

          Tiffany Oliver

          Issue date: 3/5/10 Section: News
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          Faculty and staff at Case Western Reserve University are aware of how challenging it can be to get students to fill out surveys such as course and faculty evaluations. It can be difficult to track students down at the end of the semester and force them to spend the ten minutes filling out the survey. The U.S. government feels their pain: every ten years, encouraging college students to fill out the U.S. Census is, in many ways, even more of a challenge.

          Census takers have been plagued by poor participation from college students for decades, but many students are unaware of the census because they have not yet participated in the process themselves. Previously, parents provided census information, and as young adults, college students are submitting their first census survey. There is also confusion as to where students who attend school in another state should list their residence: their home state or the state in which they attend college. According to the census website, students "should be counted where you live and sleep most of the time," and thus must be counted in the state in which they attend school.

          The lack of participation by college students can have a drastic effect on state funding. States such as South Carolina suffered serious decreases in funding due in part to the negligence of college students in filling out the census survey. South Carolina had the second-worst census participation rate, and government officials estimated that the state lost roughly $1200 of funding for every person who failed to complete the census survey. Colleges have responded by advertising the census and attempting to inform students of the importance of completing and mailing the census.

          Additionally, the data is used to decide how many representatives each state has in Congress, with a state receiving one representative for every 30,000 residents. The census is also used to appropriate funding for state and non-state institutions, such as hospitals, schools, public works projects, emergency services, and job training centers. Overall, the census helps determine how the federal government allocates nearly $400 billion based on the states' official populations.
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          In This Issue


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          • Have you heard about Undergraduate Student Nursing Association
          • LGBT center slated to open in April
          • Make it count: a guide to the 2010 US Census
          • SEC considering proposals concerning Greek funding


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