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Be a college student who counts

It’s that time of the decade again: census time. The US census is basically a set of statistics about the people who live in the United States. But this decade, this census will be a little different than the ones before. Now, for most college students, the census doesn’t sound like that big of a deal and just another thing for us to do.
Your parents may not have completely kicked you out of their house, but the Census Bureau wants you to claim you are. The bureau is encouraging all college students to fill out the forms with the information of where they live rather than where their parents live.This way, they can count every citizen and only count them once.
Of course, this census form has changed in and of itself now for many students; that doesn’t really mean much because we were counted on our parents’ census forms before and they filled out all the information. The Census Bureau is making the census form short, sweet and to the point, asking for name, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, and whether you buy or rent your home. All the other information that was once included—the questions that go more in depth about how we as Americans live—are now covered yearly by a subsection of the Census Bureau.
So why does it matter if you fill out the census form? Because the census information helps determine how all the federal funding is distributed to state, local, and tribal governments. Completing your census at VSU (if you live in the residence halls or in fraternity house) or in the city of Valdosta (if you’ve got a house or an apartment off-campus) will help better our community.
The census information will help governments determine where to build hospitals, schools, and roads. It will tell business owners where to place retail stores, housing, and similar things. The reports help business owners know where to look for future employees. For those 75 percent of students who don’t live on campus, the census will help to ensure there are fair-market rents and fair lending processes in housing around Valdosta.
The benefits are worth the less than 10 minutes required to fill out the form. The forms will be mailed out to those that live off-campus in March, and housing staff is required to distribute and collect census forms to on-campus residents and those in group housing, like fraternity houses, between April 1 and May 21. The government is making this super easy for anyone to do, so take a few minutes and make sure you count.

This editorial was written by Amy Johstono (acjohstono@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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