Northwestern urges students to be counted in 2010 census

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Northwestern urges students to be counted in 2010 census

March 2, 2010

Students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University are being encouraged to participate in the 2010 Census in order to gain a voice in the future of their community and the country.

Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said Northwestern is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to make sure students are included in the national count that is required by the Constitution to occur every 10 years.

“Nationally, about 70 percent of the population completes and returns their census forms,” Cunningham said. “But the response rate in Oklahoma is below the national average. College students are a hard-to-count group so it is necessary that Northwestern take an active role to educate students about the importance of the census.”

Cunningham said that more than $400 billion in annual federal government funding to state and local governments is tied to population counts as well as government representation. She noted that after the 2000 Census, Oklahoma lost a seat in Congress because of the state’s population.

“There are estimates that every person not counted costs state and local governments about $1,000 annually in lost federal funding,” Cunningham said.

According to census regulations, students that live in Alva in dormitories or off-campus housing are to be counted as Alva residents since they live in the community for the majority of the year. Students who attend the Enid and Woodward campuses will be counted in their city of residence since those campuses do not offer on-campus housing.

The Census Bureau will mail forms to every physical address in Alva and to campus dormitory mailboxes. Those forms are scheduled to be mailed on March 19.

Northwestern’s AmeriCorps VISTA office, led by Christi Vickers, will spearhead the effort to gain student participation in the census. Vickers said the Census Bureau will staff informational tables on campus but she did not know the dates that personnel would be in Alva. 2010 Census forms will be available at these informational tables to any student who did not receive one in the mail.

By law, information collected by the Census Bureau cannot be shared with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

Students who want to learn more about the 2010 Census may contact Vickers at cmvickers@nwosu.edu  or log on to www.2010census.gov.

-NW-