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The Census Comes to Drew

How the 2020 census impacts Drew students

April 2020 – It’s time for the 2020 census!

The decennial census is a count of every person living in the country. It determines how many people live in a specific area, which enables the federal government to make important decisions, such as how to distribute resources for the people who live there.

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Lynn Vogel from the Office of Campus Life and Student Affairs spearheaded Drew's census reporting.

The federal government allocates billions of dollars of funding for academia, community programs and critical services such as roads, fire departments, hospitals, schools, and public safety based on certain details of the population.

Lynn Vogel, Drew’s executive administrative assistant to the VP of Campus Life and Student Affairs & Dean of Students/Deputy Title IX Coordinator, was the key reporting contact for the University.

We caught up with Lynn to discuss the census process, and what it means for Drew.

Why is the census effort important for Drew and its students?

Our census data will benefit Drew students through allocation of significant federal funding for federal student loans, federal research grants, legislation, campus improvements including labs, buildings and classrooms and health and social services. It will also benefit our students’ future careers, as many professionals are dependent on federal funding (e.g., medicine, social work, nursing, science, research and public health).

How do college students count towards the census?

The Census Bureau includes college residence halls as part of their Group Quarter (GQ) target groups. The goal of GQ enumeration is to count every person who lives or stays in Drew’s residence halls most of the time. For our students, since they primarily live and sleep at Drew’s campus, they are counted in Drew University’s reporting data as of Census Day, April 1, 2020. This also includes our international students and any family members, non-family members and staff/faculty living in Drew’s campus student residences.

Although a significant number of our students were not living on campus on April 1st of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau required that we report our full resident population data prior to the COVID-19 situation.

"Federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties, academia, and communities are allocated based on the information that is provided to the Census Bureau. Billions of dollars are at stake!"

How many people were involved in reporting data?

Collaboration was key! Alex McClung, director of institutional research, and Steph Mazzarella, director of student engagement, were instrumental in compiling housing rosters and specialized, extensive reports to assist in proper data collection for more than 1,300 Drew residents.

Where did Drew’s census information go?

We worked directly with the local and federal Census Bureau offices and their representatives. The process began in early January this year with discussions regarding initial Drew population counts and direction/details for formal reporting procedures. We submitted our final data on April 24.

What was the end result of the census?

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties, academia and communities are allocated based on the information that is provided to the Census Bureau. Billions of dollars are at stake!

Additionally, every 10 years, the population of every state as counted in the census also determines how many representatives/seats each state is given in the U.S. House of Representatives. After each census, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts.

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