Many students have been displaced as a result of universities closing their campuses in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is all taking place right as the US Census Bureau is completing the 2020 census. It is important for students to know how they will be counted and what impact being counted has on their community.

The US Census Bureau wants Americans to know that though many lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that everyone complete the census and understand their residence criteria. College students living off-campus should complete the census for their off-campus living arrangements. These students may fill out the census online at

Students who live in student housing and living on campus on Census Day are counted with college/university student housing. However, due to the effects of COVID-19 shutting down campuses, the US Census Bureau has issued a statement that college students will still be counted as living on campus even if they were home on April 1st.

Parents of students filling out their own census should not include their children if they were living on a college campus. On-campus students should not complete a census individually; HINU will complete the census on the student’s behalf as part of the Group Quarters Enumeration operation with the US Census Bureau.

It’s important for census data to be reported accurately because census information affects community federal funding. It’s vital that students are counted in the communities they are going to school in because they provide funding for roads, public transit, and health clinics according to the US Census Bureau. It is important then to make sure that HINU has updated contact information for students, so students may be contacted in case additional information is required to complete the census.

While HINU has not indicated it’s method for completing the census for students. There are two likely methods according to the US Census Bureau—a student housing representative will “complete one form listing all students, compiled using data from administrative records. The representative has the option to complete a version of this form online using a secure portal, or to have a census taker pick up a paper version ” or the representative may “give each student a questionnaire and collect them after they are completed. Then, the census taker will return to pick them up from the representative.” HINU and off campus students have until August 14th to complete the census.

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