Students Count for Big Bucks in the D.C. Census
Census workers in D.C. are trying to convince college students, a chronically undercounted group, to register for the census so that D.C. can access more federal funding. The district is home to nine universities, and an estimated 23,000 students.
"What's at stake is nearly $2.5 billion in federal funds that could potentially go to the District," said Harriet Tregoning, director of the D.C. Office of Planning. "A low response rate equates to millions of dollars lost over a 10-year period for vital community services and development, over $3,500 per resident per year, while a high response rate will ensure we can fund needed services."
Adam Wise, a junior at George Washington University, is helping to aid in the census counting process. He said that making students aware of the census can feel like an uphill battle.
"The biggest hurdle to educating students about the census has been apathy," Wise said. "We're college students. We're naturally lazy."
Letters are currently being sent out to students in the first of several waves, Wise said, and students who don't receive a form will be able to pick one up on campus. Wise said he is also working to get a local drop site for forms set up.
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