Dear Bruin Students:

I know that we are all still reeling from both the devastation resulting from a global pandemic and the painful reminders of persistent racial inequality. In the face of these challenges, I want to remind you of a critical event that occurs only once every 10 years and also impacts all of us: The national census. We have an essential role to play in this constitutionally mandated activity to accurately count everyone who lives in the United States and to shape vitally important policy and funding decisions.

An accurate U.S. Census count helps ensure that important programs are adequately funded for the next 10 years. For the university community, it can influence the government’s investment in Pell Grants, research and facilities. Census results also determine the number of electoral votes allocated to the state of California and impact congressional and state representation. Simply put, the U.S. Census affects almost everything that touches the lives of those living in the United States. This can manifest in numerous ways, from funding for school lunches to plans for highway infrastructure, and from support for firefighters to data used by nonprofits filling in service gaps to the homeless.

This year, the COVID-19 disruptions to campus activity have made an accurate count more challenging than usual. Per the U.S. Census, everyone should be counted at the residence where they would have been living in April 2020 if the COVID-19 disruptions had not happened. With this message, I hope to clarify any questions you may have.

The most common student scenarios are:

For students who lived in university-owned housing in April 2020 — OR who would have lived in university-owned housing in April 2020, but left because of COVID-19 disruptions — UCLA will count you in our “group quarters” response. You do not need to complete a 2020 Census form.

For students who lived or who would have lived in non-university group quarters such as sorority or fraternity houses in April 2020 if the COVID-19 disruptions had not happened, you should check in with those in charge of your housing for instructions. If you are not able to reach them, complete the Census form with the address of your Greek house, co-op or other group housing arrangement.

For other off-campus students, you should complete the 2020 Census with the address where you lived or would have been living in April 2020 if not for COVID-19 disruptions.

As we close UCLA’s centennial year, it’s important that every student accurately participates in this once-in-a-decade collection to ensure that our community is correctly reflected. If we do not record the most accurate information possible, our society will not have the needed data to better understand people’s quality of life issues, and our community will not be reflected in policy decisions and funding to solve those issues over the next 10 years and beyond.

Please take a few minutes to participate in this foundational exercise of our democracy and help us ensure that each Bruin student counts in the 2020 U.S. Census.


Monroe Gorden, Jr., J.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs