This year, the COVID-19 outbreak will cause confusion for many, and that is understandable! Your student is probably home from college right now. The guidance from the Census Bureau is that students are counted where they reside on April 1, 2020 AND spend most of their time, which means that the majority of students should be counted in their college community.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that may help clarify things:
Q: My student is home from college right now, and I already filled out the form claiming them as a resident in my home. What should I do?
A: First of all, thanks for filling out your Census form! Technically, your student should be counted where they spend most of their time during the year, which in this case is their campus address. Confusing, I know. If your student has time, please encourage them to fill in this form which gives permission for Residence Life and Housing include them in a count of “group quarters”. This is the easiest way to make sure they are counted – if they usually live in University-owned housing.
Q: My student lived in an off-campus house, what should they do?
A. Off-campus students can still respond to the Census. The easiest thing to do is to log on with this page, and click on the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” Then follow the prompts, but enter in the off-campus address as your residence. Yep, it will ask where you are living on April 1st…super confusing. The guidance from the Census bureau right now suggests you should still list your off-campus residence: “Even if they are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time, which is their college residence.”
Q: But what about double counting?
A. Good question! The Census has ways of removing duplicate responses, so don’t worry about an individual getting counted twice.
Q: My student lives at home during the entire year, and I have already claimed them on my Census form. Do I need to do anything else?
A. Nope. If your student usually lives at home year-round, you are fine. Thanks for responding to the Census.
Q: Why should my student be counted in Fredericksburg, when they are still my dependent?
A: Census data helps determine funding for hospitals, roads, and schools. A rule of thumb is that a person should be counted where they live most of the year, and where they use most public services – including roads and hospitals. We enjoy this Census video that helps explain the importance of the Census – featuring our very own Dean Rucker!
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.