To ensure students residing on campus are counted as D.C. residents in the 2010 Census, the University will provide the Census Bureau with students’ personal information so federal enumerators can fill out forms for students, Associate Director of Media Relations Emily Cain said Friday afternoon.
The D.C. West Census Office, which has been working with GW Housing Programs and GW’s General Counsel’s Office to reach a solution that would enable all campus residents to be counted, presented the plan to the University.
“This provides a solution that eliminates the need to allow enumerators into the dorms and allows us to count everybody who lives on campus 100 percent towards the census,” Cain said.
The University will provide student information anonymously to avoid privacy concerns, Kent Springfield, the University’s director of Government Relations, said in an e-mail Friday afternoon.
Cain declined to release the total cost spent on marketing and events sponsored by Residential Advisory Councils that were intended to encourage students to fill out and return their census forms.
“Minimal funds were used for the University-wide effort that included both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses,” Cain said.
According to data from the Census Bureau, 52.2 percent of householders ages 18-24 returned the census form in the 2000 Census, the second-lowest return rate after householders ages 15-17, 31.3 percent of whom returned the form.
“This elegant solution will allow us to avoid a number of more drastic methods of counting — including allowing enumerators into our dorms or collecting the rest of the forms ourselves,” Springfield said in an e-mail to GW Housing staff Friday afternoon. “We are also thrilled to report that this means GW is 100 percent counted towards the 2010 Census (or will be in a few days once the enumerators fill out all the forms).”