US Census important for funding By Zack Colman Mar 14, 2010 The Census is coming. And if all the commercials, letters to parents and billboards haven’t been enough reminder, here’s another one — the Census is coming. The 2010 Census will arrive in mailboxes as early as Monday, and the slimmed down, 10‐question survey must be mailed back by April 1. Students have been urged to mark their East Lansing address as place of residency, as that is where they spend more than half the year. An accurate count of East Lansing residents will ensure a proper amount of federal money is awarded to the state, which will, in turn, keep tuition costs down as the state struggles to maintain current levels in the face of declining revenues and increasing expenses. “If no one fills out the Census, we’re in trouble,” said Lindsay Bacigalupo, a public relations junior and team director of the Bateman Case Study Competition, a public relations contest that focused on the Census for this year’s competition. “I didn’t realize when I got into it how important the Census was. It’s something a college student hasn’t been exposed to yet; last time there was one we were about 10 years old.” With about $400 billion in federal funds available through it, the Census is an essential source of funding for the next 10 years. East Lansing City Councilmember Nathan Triplett said each East Lansing resident counts for $1,500 annually through Census dollars, or $15,000 during the 10‐year period. The Census has direct benefits for students other than keeping tuition costs somewhat stable, as it also determines the amount of Pell Grants for low‐income undergraduate students distributed in each city and supports transportation projects such as the Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA.
Although people are instructed to choose the residence where they spend most of the year, many operate under the myth that insurance and income taxes will be affected, when in actuality those issues are unrelated to the Census, city officials have said. Triplett said students also should realize marking their East Lansing address — whether or not they live in the area for the next 10 years — will guarantee an accurate city count for future years when new MSU students replace those who graduate. Michelle Hooks, an English and creative writing junior originally from Detroit, said she would have put Detroit as her residency had her parents not received a letter from MSU urging her to choose East Lansing. Still, Hooks said she has a strong allegiance to her hometown. “I do feel inclined to put Detroit,” she said. “I went to (Detroit Public Schools) since elementary school, and I see how it has declined with budget cuts and teachers laid off. I still do represent Detroit.” Ritchie Altamirano, a Lansing Community College junior who originally is from Chicago, said he has been inundated with information about the Census and that helped him decide to use Lansing as his address. He said he sees about five or six TV commercials per hour about the subject. He said he didn’t remember being exposed to as much Census information 10 years ago, but advertising campaigns have been effective this year. Altamirano said the lighter questionnaire — in 2000, the Census contained 53 questions — will encourage students to complete the Census. “It’s not a big deal,” he said. “You sign a quick form, 10 minutes. If it was a big pamphlet, though, I probably wouldn’t do it.”