Most CSU students have never filled out a Census form before this year. The forms, which are issued every 10 years, help allocate seats in the state and national houses of congress and determine the distribution of funding to communities.
Numbering more than 25,000, CSU students make up a large percentage of Fort Collinsâ€™ population of just more than 137,000. Though many students donâ€™t consider Fort Collins their home, they spend nine months out of the year here, driving on roads and using public transportation funded by the city.
â€œItâ€™s really important that students are counted in the town they go to college in,â€ said Deborah Cameron, a spokesperson for the Census Bureau in Colorado. â€œThe funding supports the hospitals they go to and the roads they drive on.â€
Fort Collins also receives about $1 million a year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the creation of affordable housing and social programs like day care, job training, meals on wheels and homeless care and prevention said Ken Wado, chief planner for the city of Fort Collins.
â€œWe depend on several federal and state programs that are based on part on the population of the city,â€ Wado said.
Courtney Sullivan, the director of community affairs for the Associated Students of CSU, said that students in violation of the cityâ€™s housing occupancy ordinance should not worry that they will be punished for providing accurate information.
The city canâ€™t get a hold of Census data until 72 years from submission. By that time, any current violation will be irrelevant, Sullivan said.
â€œThere is a fear that students violating 3-Unrelated will be caught based on the information they give on the Census,â€ Sullivan said. â€œWe want students to fill it out honestly because it will benefit the community.â€
Students living on campus will be given the 10-question form by their resident assistant or a member of his or her Greek house the week of March 29. Off-campus students should have already received the form, which is due April 1.
_Staff Writer Allison Welter can be reached at email@example.com _