UJ students counted as Jamestown residents for census
University of Jamestown students who lived on campus will be counted as Jamestown residents even if they had left the community at the time of the census due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We reached out to our students on April 17," said Karen Crane, senior director of marketing and communications for the university. "We positively wanted the students counted for Jamestown."
For census statistics, the community a person lives in is usually based on where he or she reside on April 1 of the census year. This year, that was adjusted for college students displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Even if they are living with parents now," Crane said, "they could be counted where they live the majority of the year."
That means about 750 people who might not have been counted as Jamestown residents will be, according to Dustin Jensen, vice president for student affairs at the university.
"The bulk of the students haven't been around since March 7," he said. "There are a few that didn't have any place to go, but most left at spring break."
For Jamestown, the 750 student residents amount to about 5% of the city's population.
Many federal programs for local governments are based on population, according to Dwaine Heinrich, Jamestown mayor.
"It's huge," he said. "... they say it amounts to $1900 per year in federal allocations of funds for all governments from the state on down to the local city and county."
The 750 University of Jamestown students mean about $1.4 million each year in federal dollars for the state and other local governments including the city of Jamestown.
While the funding associated with the students being counted as Jamestown residents helps the community, it also helps maintain the accuracy of the census.
"I think without this situation (coronavirus pandemic) they would have been counted to Jamestown anyway," Heinrich said.
It is also important for the University of Jamestown.
"We're happy to be part of the community," Jensen said. "It is just another connection for the college and the city."