Massachusetts Congressional Delegation Asks Census Bureau to Clarify Its Use of College & University Directory Information

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The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey and Sen Elizabeth Warren’s offices. Both were elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. Both are Democrats.

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BOSTON – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), William Keating (D-MA-09), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) and Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), urged the U.S. Census Bureau to promptly respond to Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s request for clarification of their use of college and university directory information in the 2020 Census. 

This letter is a follow-up to two previous letters from the Massachusetts delegation urging the U.S. Census Bureau to allow colleges and universities to report on all their students using directory information in the wake of campus closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Census Bureau adopted the policy changes requested by the delegation, committing to use directory information provided directly by colleges and universities “to assist in enumeration of addresses for which we have received neither a completed self-response nor an interview with a census taker that would indicate the address was occupied on April 1, 2020.”

This additional information is crucial to ensure that students who have relocated during the pandemic are counted in the correct location, whether they normally live on or off campus. 

In a letter to the Census Bureau on October 14, 2020, Secretary Galvin thanked the Census Bureau for committing to use this directory data, but raised concern about a number of unanswered questions on how this information will be used to achieve a complete count for Massachusetts in the 2020 Census. 

“We ask that you promptly respond to Secretary Galvin’s letter and answer his questions,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“The accurate enumeration of college and university students living in communities across the Commonwealth is vital to ensuring the people of Massachusetts have access to the federal funding, representation, and resources that they deserve,” the lawmakers wrote. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the difficulty of counting college and university students, the use of the directory information provided to you by institutions of higher education can help to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on data collection for both on and off campus students.”

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