Census return rate for students exceeds 98 percent

April 19, 2010 | News, UToday
By Staff

On-campus residents recently were asked to complete a U.S. census form, and more than 98 percent of them returned the form to census workers earlier this month.

According to Elaine Turner, associate director for administrative operations for the Office of Residence Life, 3,587 of the 3,646 students living on campus returned their completed census forms by April 1, the national deadline for returning the document.

“We had a 98.38 percent return rate,” Turner said. “This is phenomenal. We’re really pleased with the results. We worked hard at getting the word out, and only 59 students living on campus didn’t complete and return their form.”

Dr. Shanda Gore, assistant vice president for equity and diversity and U.S. census liaison for UT, said the fantastic return rate was due to the hard work by residence hall staff.

“We owe much of the success of our census efforts to Elaine Turner and her staff in the Office of Residence Life,” Gore said. “They were out on the front lines, interacting with students every day, telling them of the immense importance the census will have on their life and the University’s life for years to come.”

Gore added that because this year’s census will not include a margin of error in its results, a high return rate was more important than ever.

“We needed to make sure every student was counted and every voice was heard,” she said. “We’ve come closer to doing that than we ever have before.”

The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years and is designed to produce an accurate count and location breakdown of the U.S. population. The data collected by census enumerators is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives; determine how many Electoral College votes a state receives; and help federal and state governments and other organizations award research and grant funds.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the data is used to determine where to send upwards of $400 billion in federal funding for schools, roads, hospitals and job training centers.

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