Students reminded to participate in federal survey

June 17, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- All Penn State students, even those on summer break, are reminded to visit to participate in a brief data collection survey required by the federal government of all the nation's colleges and universities.

The collection and reporting mandate applies to all full-time and part-time students, at all levels, at all Penn State locations, including the World Campus.

To comply with new federal requirements for the collection and reporting of racial and ethnic data, Penn State is making changes to its data collection process that involve the immediate participation of all students. Faculty and staff will be requested to participate in the survey later in the year.

The new requirements reflect a change in the government's data collection policy and are designed so that federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education can collect information that more accurately reflects the increasing diversity of the nation's population.

Penn State is re-collecting data from all current students using a two-part question that will allow each respondent to identify his or her ethnicity and race.

When students visit to participate in the data collection, they will be asked a question about ethnicity and then asked to identify their race from a multiple-choice list. Respondents may select more than one race.

"Complying with this government mandate is a top priority for Penn State, and we ask each student to make it a personal priority," said University Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson.  "The University's eligibility for various kinds of federally funded student financial aid and for federal grants and contracts depends on compliance with this mandate."

Erickson emphasized that the University will keep all individual information confidential and will report only aggregate totals in each category.

Students who have questions about the process should contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 23, 2009