COVID-19 impacts MSU students counted during the 2020 census

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — When Michigan State University switched to online classes due to COVID-19 a lot of students left town. Now, state and MSU officials are working to make sure those students fill out their census forms so the city doesn’t lose out on millions of dollars in federal funding.

2020 Michigan Census Executive Director Kerry Ebersole Singh said, “This is the easiest way you can help your community today.” She also said that $30 billion dollars are at stake in the state with this year’s census.

Singh said, “And we’re not in a place we can leave any resources on the table.”

New this year, Janet Lillie with MSU said universities were able to submit data for each student living on campus to the census.

Lillie said, “That’s really critical because that does allow a university to essentially provide a very accurate count of those who are living on campus.”

That’s 15,100 students being recorded at MSU. Lillie said this number is higher compared to the 2010 census.

Singh said, “Generally speaking it’s about $3,000 per person per year so that’s $30,000 over 10 years.”

Before, students living on campus would fill out this information themselves. Lillie said there are about 13,000 students living off-campus in East Lansing.

Lillie said, “We started messaging with them directly through email on March 18th.” The state is also encouraging universities to reach out to students by texting them and using social media.

“But I’ll tell you right now, Just do it today,” said Singh.

The deadline to fill out the census has been pushed back to October 31.

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