While we are in the midst of taking extraordinary measures on our campus to protect University of Minnesota Morris students, faculty, and staff from the spread of COVID-19, many critical national, state, and University activities continue, one of which is the decennial Census.
The Census determines funding levels for federal appropriations and also determines Minnesota’s number of U.S. House seats and its electoral vote apportionment. For example, for each person who is uncounted in the Census, Minnesota could lose $28,000 in federal funding over the next 10 years. With a poor turnout, Minnesota is at risk of losing one of its eight current congressional districts, meaning you could have less representation in Congress and in the presidential elections.
The Constitution requires a count of every person in the nation, regardless of immigration status, standing as an international student, or country of origin. Each house, apartment unit, and dwelling is required to submit one Census form.
Under federal law, information reported on the Census form is confidential. The Census Bureau is prohibited from releasing any identifiable information about you, your home, or your immigration status to anyone, including law enforcement agencies. The law protects your private data and ensures that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. By law, information about individuals cannot be released by the Census Bureau for 72 years.
How Do Students Ensure They Are Counted?
The Census collects information based on where individuals live on April 1. However, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the address that applies when completing the 2020 Census is the address where you would have lived during this spring semester if COVID-19 hadn’t displaced you.
If your spring 2020 plan was to live off-campus with a parent, your parent should include you on their Census form.
You do not need to complete a separate form. If you are living in that household only because of COVID 19, you should not be included on a parent’s Census form.
If your 2020 spring semester plan was to live in University housing, UMN Morris will complete and submit Census information on your behalf.
You do not need to complete the form. The Census Bureau made this change to capture the most accurate count possible for people living in group housing settings such as residence halls.
If your 2020 spring semester plan was to live off-campus, without a parent, in a rental unit or another arrangement off-campus, instructions are as follows:
- If you are still in your unit, check the mail for the postcard or letter from the Census Bureau with your 12-digit code, which should have arrived between March 12-27. If you are not there currently or haven’t received it, you can complete the Census online with a few additional steps to verify your address.
- Designate a single roommate to complete the Census here. Only one form per dwelling unit should be submitted.
- Each roommate should fill out a sample Census (pdf)and give the information to the person who iscompleting the actual Census form.
- Get your 12-digit code from your census mailing or just begin the process here. Use the information from each roommate’s sample Census to accurately completethe form.
What if my parents counted me at home due to the COVID-19 situation?
You should still fill out the census with your roommates if you live(d) in non-University owned housing most of spring semester. If you live(d) in the residence halls, your census will be submitted by Housing & Residential Life. The census office has a process to identify duplicate information. The Census Bureau will go through duplicate reports and determine which record should be retained. If it is not clear to them, they may follow up with a phone call (or an in-person visit, if social distancing restrictions are lifted).
Are there local resources available to complete the census?
Rodney A. Briggs Library will be a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) for the U.S. Census. This means our librarians have been trained on how to help answer questions about the census. We can help you determine if you should fill out the census and what location you should be using, who should be included on the census form, how to fill out the form if you do not have the code mailed to where you would have lived before COVID-19, and any other questions about the form, the process, or the information needed.
Librarians can be reached for this help via email and chat. Chat services are available from the library website Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Librarians are also available for one-on-one Zoom/Hangouts consultations--contact Naomi Skulan to set up an individual appointment.
Remember, student participation in the Census is very important and helps our University of Minnesota Morris community as well as our city and state.
For more information, please review this Census information for University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff. We strongly encourage you to educate yourself on the Census process, complete your Census form, and be counted.