Bevill State to help community with census completion

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 2/21/20

Bevill State Community College will be doing its part to ensure an accurate census count in communities served by the college.   

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Bevill State to help community with census completion

Posted

Bevill State Community College will be doing its part to ensure an accurate census count in communities served by the college.   

On Jan. 29, leaders with Bevill State, along with representatives from 23 other community colleges in the state, attended a meeting and rally at the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Office in Montgomery to discuss census efforts and launch the community college's Alabama Counts! efforts for 2020 Census participation.

Alabama Counts! is a statewide initiative aimed at census completion. 

According to a press release from the ACCS, an $80,000 grant was awarded from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to ACCS for the establishment of help centers on college campuses and adult education sites to aid in census completion in communities across the state.

"As trusted members of their communities and with locations throughout the state, Alabama's community colleges are perfect partners as we seek to make it as easy as possible for Alabamians to participate in the 2020 Census," Kenneth Boswell, director of ADECA and chairman of Alabama Counts!, said in a press release from ACCS.

The release further states that Alabama community colleges depend on federal funding for student and community programs — funding that is determined by the census count.

If census participation is not 80 percent or greater, according to the release, billions of dollars in federal funding could be lost, in addition to at least one congressional seat. 

"Our colleges serve more than 174,000 students each year and when combined with our more than 9,000 employees in every corner of the state, it is evident that the ACCS can have a significant impact on Alabama's 2020 Census count," Jimmy Baker, ACCS chancellor, said in the press release. "We are not only committed to ensuring that every student and employee at our college is counted. Community is in our name, and it's important that we help educate Alabamians in communities across the state on the importance of the census and provide avenues that assist with completion."

"Bevill State Community College, as part of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), is engaged alongside state and local partners to help with the 2020 Census Alabama Counts! Campaign," Tana Collins-Allred, director of public relations for Bevill State, said. "Ensuring that everyone in Alabama is counted in the 2020 census protects our legislative delegation and serves to maintain our federal financial support, including programs such as Pell Grants, a vital resource to students of the community college system."

She continued, "For every person counted in the census, approximately $1,600 in federal funds comes to Alabama. This equals around $13 billion dollars. This census impacts everyone — education, healthcare, infrastructure, so many initiatives that are imperative to the continued growth and success of our state." 

Collins-Allred said Bevill State is going to help people who live in rural communities in Walker County to participate in the census. She said each Bevill State campus will have designated computers for community members to complete the census online.

"They can actually get assistance if they need help to do this," Collins-Allred said.

The 2020 Census marks the first time that the census can be completed online. People may still participate by phone or mail as well.

Between March 12-20, households will receive a mailing that details how to respond to the 2020 Census. Census Day will be observed nationwide on April 1 as a push for completion.

In addition to providing centers for census completion, there will also be a link on the Bevill State website to encourage participation as well as a noticeable push on social media. She said the college may do some other community outreach efforts as well to help encourage census awareness.

"In the last census 10 years ago, 100,000 kids weren't counted. That's a lot," Collins-Allred said. "That impacted our state funding, and it's so important that we get everyone to complete the census."