Before leaving for spring break, students are reminded to fill out and return their census forms by April 1.
Residency causes the most confusion, since parents sometimes list children who are away at school. In the 1990 census, there was an overcount of 5 percent among 19- to 20-year-olds nationally.
“One of our problem areas is higher education,” said Will Craig, associate director at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and chairman of the Minneapolis Complete Count Committee. “Students get confused about whether or not to respond.”
Basically, if a student is living away from home, it’s the campus address that counts.
Census forms are mailed to addresses and not to individuals; responses are completely confidential.
Dormitories, fraternity and sorority house residents receive census forms through a residence staff member. In households, one person should take charge of completing the form.
Students receiving forms while at hotels over break should list their campus addresses.
Foreign students, non-citizens and non-permanent residents also count in the census.
Lorien Mueller, Middlebrook Residence Hall director, said the hall has reminded its residents of the census in the residence newsletter. Currently, she receives forms daily and puts them in student mailboxes.
Middlebrook residents are responding. Mueller said she regularly sees forms in the outgoing mail.
Students who are confused may call the Census Bureau for help.
Robert Burks, a telephone questionnaire agent with the bureau, advises, “read the instructions,” and don’t “read too much into the questions.”
That failing, students should call 1-800-471-9424 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week, or visit www.2000.census.gov.
— Robert Koch