Census - Photo by Mecklenburg County via Flickr

The relocation of students during spring 2020 lead to inaccuracies, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is asking college students to resend their addresses due to complications arising from COVID-19, and the end date will be extended to Oct. 5.

The Associated Press reported the spring semester relocation of college students deterred students from accurately filling out their census forms.

In the past, college students were told to fill out the address line where they were living as of April 1, ignoring whether they go home for the summer or not. But, since most students were back home as of April 1, they were incorrectly included in that household’s count.

Katie Mihaly, a circulation coordinator at BGSU’s Jerome Library, has been reaching out to students and faculty to remind them to double-check if they completed the census correctly. 

According to Mihaly, students who lived on campus last semester are correctly counted because those numbers are reported by the institution.

But students who lived off campus should check to make sure they reported correctly.

“For example, if they lived in off-campus housing, went home to stay with their parents in mid-March, and now live in a different off-campus residence, they should count (themselves) at the place they were living up until mid-March, because they planned to live there on April 1,” she said.

If the census is not correct, college towns could receive less funding from the federal government.

“That isn’t ideal from the perspective of Bowling Green or Wood County, because that means we are losing out on the federal funding that is based on population, which is a huge amount of money,” she said.  

Maureen Freeman, a junior tourism major, was incorrectly counted under her home address, and should have been counted as residing in Bowling Green. Like many BGSU students, she moved off-campus and back home during the spring semester.

“At the time, my dad even asked me if I should have been counted (at home). I assumed I should be because I was living at home … I guess we were wrong,” Freeman said. 

But for students like Maureen, there is still time to update the from. 

The Census Bureau encourages college students to resubmit the forms correctly.

Kayla Musgrave, a junior accounting and business analytics major, fixed her census information prior to the start of the fall semester.

“I only thought to see if I filled the forms correctly because my grandparents asked me about it,” Musgrave said. “I checked the Census website, saw that they were trying to tell college students to fix it, and changed mine.” 

The process of correcting the information was simple, Musgrave said.

“All I had to do was start a new form, enter my information with the right address, and send it in.”

To learn more about the census or to complete an application, go to www.census.gov.

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