For the 2020 U.S. Census, Everyone Counts

census 2020It’s the law: The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years, and 2020 is a census year. The demographic information that the U.S. Census Bureau gathers helps determine how billions of federal funding dollars are allocated for financial aid, community mental health services, infrastructure, research grants and also impacts congressional representation over the next 10 years.

This is the first year individuals can respond online or by phone as well as by mail with the U.S. Census Bureau’s assurance that the process is accurate, confidential, and secure.

WCU Students

Regardless of where they are living during the COVID-19 pandemic, college students must be counted at the school address where they had spent most of the spring semester and intended to be living on April 1, 2020.

West Chester University (WCU) students who were living in on-campus housing (both University and affiliated) and intended to do so on April 1, 2020, do not need to complete a census form. Their parents are not to include these students in their household counts since the University will submit a complete count known as “Group Quarters” on behalf of on-campus students.

The only student data that will be provided by the University will be in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). WCU will be providing directory information only (name, date of birth, address) in its census submission; directory information does NOT include race/ethnicity or gender. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect this information and is not permitted to publicly release responses in any way that could identify anyone.

WCU students who live in non-WCU housing (rooms or apartments in the borough or elsewhere) are required to complete the census reflective of that location. Students who share non-WCU housing must designate one person to complete the online form for their address.

WCU students who live at home during the academic year and commute to classes should be counted at their home addresses.

Employees of the University are also encouraged to complete the census and can do so online.

The Chester County Census 2020 Complete Count Committee can also provide information: 610-344-6285 or Please feel free to contact Julie Dietrich, executive director of WCU’s Office of External Relations, with any questions at


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