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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Census officials to knock on UA doors

Friday is the last day to turn in your census form before a government official comes knocking.

The 2010 Census has a higher response rate from tracts around the city compared with the UA campus, which is promoting a final push on campus before students leave for the summer. If forms are not filled out by Friday, the cost to taxpayers goes up 13,333 percent, from the 42 cents in mailing costs to $56 for a census taker to knock on students’ doors and ask the same questions themselves.

“”The only reason that anybody would want to do that is knowledge, power and money,”” said Dave Taylor, demographics adviser for the Pima Association of Governments. “”We learn a lot about our community by taking the census. It’s very valuable because governments are needing priorities for resources, and this is the way we level the playing field in the House of Representatives, it’s the way we divvy up the political power.””

Taylor said there are a lot of myths about the census.

“”This was never any kind of an overbearing plot by the government, this is a well-visit to the social doctrine,”” Taylor said. “”This is how we find out more about our nation and what it needs, because if people aren’t counted, they lose political power. If people aren’t counted, their community loses shared revenues, which amounts to $25,000 per person over a decade.””

Many are hesitant to fill out the census, but Taylor’s message is simple.

“”To not take part is to give your tax dollars to someone else,”” Taylor said.

Sheila Storm, communications director for the Pima Association of Government, agrees.

“”If people mail their forms by Friday, they are less likely to have someone knocking on their door for the same information,”” Storm said. “”Another thing is that when students graduate from college, they might be using some of that statistical data from the census. They will have more accurate information to do their future job better.””

The UA is doing its part to get students, especially those who live on campus, to participate.

“”We’ve been in works with Census 2010 for about two months to make sure that everybody who lives on campus is counted in the census,”” said Torry Brouillard-Bruce, assistant director of hall operations with Residence Life. “”(Residence Life) is doing everything we can to make students realize they are part of the U.S. population and the census is working to count everybody. We’ve been doing education around what does the census mean and why it’s important.””

Funding is essential to alleviate some of the major pitfalls of state government funding for local governments, which gets allocated to schools. Many worry that if students leave for the summer without filling the census out, the UA will lose out.

“”You’d hate for the state to lose out on the budget it needs because students didn’t fill out the census,”” said Laura Cummings, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. “”If those students are counted (in) the place where they don’t spend the majority amount of the year, the funding will go to that state and not the school that they are attending.””

Cummings stressed that filling out the census is worthwhile, especially from a student perspective.

“”If you care about your tuition and college costs going up, fill out your census form because it will help the state get the funding that it needs to fund these things,”” she said.

 

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