Housing prices to increase next year; cheapest room $900 more

The price of the least-expensive room in residence halls will increase by $900 next year as a result of an overall percentage increase in housing costs and the decision to collapse pricing into fewer rate categories.

GW’s Board of Trustees approved a 1.7 percent overall increase in the amount of revenue GW should bring in from room and board costs at its Feb. 10 meeting. Rates for housing were subsequently released by the Community Living and Learning Center late last month and will range from $7,600 to $11,100. Last year, prices ranged from $6,700 to $10,750.

GW Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said last week that the University administration makes a recommendation for housing prices each year to the Board of Trustees. He said that one of the reasons the board approves moderate increases in housing each year is because of high demand.

“It’s supply and demand,” Katz said. “For the most part, our housing is almost 100 percent filled.”

Katz also said the administration’s housing prices are based on market housing prices.

“What we try to do is look at what’s happening in the overall housing stock in the area,” Katz said. “We look at the marketplace. We look at changes in our housing. We look at the demand.”

University Campus Housing Director Seth Weinshel said last week that housing rate increases are common each year. While he said that the board approves an overall percentage increase in the total amount of revenue GW can bring in from campus housing, final building and specific rooms are each treated uniquely when determining costs.

“There were increases in many buildings but there were a couple of buildings where there was actually a decrease,” Weinshel said.

CLLC decided to condense the current 129 different room prices into eight fixed prices depending on rooms’ locations and sizes, Weinshel said.

The eight prices incorporate all possible rooms next year, starting at $7,600 for doubles and triples in Schenley Hall; quads, fives and sixes in Thurston Hall; and doubles, triples and quads in The West End. Housing costs increased in $500 intervals up to $11,100 for singles with kitchens in 1959 E Street, Francis Scott Key, The Aston and International House.

Weinshel said that while the pricing change was a response to the board’s decision to increase housing costs by 1.7 percent, it will also help students understand housing pricing better.

“Last year we had 129 rates and we thought that tended to be confusing for students because we had some rates where in one building the rate was lower than another building when the rooms were comparable,” Weinshel said.

GW has housing rates comparable to those of other market basket urban schools’. Boston University’s Web site reports that for the current academic year, residence hall housing ranges from $6,450 to $11,350. New York University’s room rates are $5,930 to $17,700 for 2006-2007.

However, some GW students said the housing rate increase is excessive, especially with other added costs, including tuition, which make GW the second-most expensive college in the country.

“For how much we pay to attend here, I think the price increase is ridiculous,” sophomore Neema Desai said. “I don’t see how they can justify it.”

Although some students did express displeasure with the rate increase, most said that they plan to continue living in the University’s residence halls anyway.

“I don’t plan to live off campus because I do want to get that college dorm experience,” freshman Marisel Trespalacios said. “I get to live ‘off campus’ for the rest of my life.”

-Katie Rooney contributed to this report.

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