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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee students could give Knoxville and Knox County a population boost in the 2000 U.S. census, UT Provost John Peters said Tuesday.

UT students who live in campus dorms, apartments and fraternity houses will be counted as residents of Knoxville instead of their hometowns and home states, Peters said.

Students formerly were counted as part of the population where their parents reside, but the U.S. Census Bureau has changed its counting procedures for the 2000 census, he said.

“We’ve been working through our complete-count committee to help the Census Bureau get the fullest participation possible,” Peters said. “We’re encouraging students to fill out the forms and return them promptly to get an accurate count.”

Peters participated in a bureau display event Tuesday at UT, reading a proclamation supporting Census 2000. The UT campus count will take place the first week in April.

The U.S. census count is taken every 10 years, mandated by the U.S. Constitution. It helps determine how congressional districts are drawn and how much federal funding state and local governments receive.

Peters said the new count should boost Knox-area population totals. Because the increase is from several localities, it will have little impact on census counts of student’s hometowns, he said.

“In the 1990 census, Tennessee had a large undercount,” Peters said. “Since federal funds flow toward population, the undercount cost the state and Knoxville actual dollars.”

Ted Brothers, manager of the local census office, said the van display at UT is part of the bureau’s effort to catch the attention of student populations.

“The census will count students at the place where they live most of the year,” Brothers said. “If we don’t get at least at least a 90 percent return rate, we’ll have a follow-up visit.”

Brothers said the bureau seeks students to work as enumerators to count other citizens. The work pays well and offers flexible scheduling, he said.