Housing deadlines approaching – be prepared

Q: How can students learn how to use the new iHousing system?

A: There are a number of ways – one where a student doesn’t need to leave their room, they can go onto the GW Housing Programs Web site, and there is an entire section on iHousing with FAQ, screen shots, policy information, procedures, the calendar of information sessions. The Web site should be a student’s first start.

Once the student has looked at the Web site, we are then doing information sessions, the first of which was Tuesday, Jan. 23, essentially every Tuesday night.

Q: When does the housing application go live?

A: Rising fourth year students can fill out the housing application Feb. 12-16. Rising third year students can fill out the application Feb. 19-23. Rising second year students call fill out the application Feb. 26- March 2.

Q: What residence halls will be available to which years?

A: Rising second year students will be assigned to Potomac House, Mitchell, Fulbright, Building JJ, Strong, Pelham, Schenley, Guthridge, FSK, JBKO, Munson, West End and 2109 F Street.

Rising third year students will be assigned to the Dakota, New Hall, City Hall and International House.

Rising fourth year students will be assigned to Ivory Tower, 1959 E Street and the few singles with kitchens and bathrooms on campus.

It is important for students to keep in mind that 6 percent of rising second-year students will live in doubles and only 19 percent in quads. This information is available because we are trying to set up real expectations for students by making it as simple and consistent as possible. GWHP wants each year’s housing options for a given year to be similar and as a student moves through the years, he will eventually end up living in the best that GW has to offer senior year.

Q: How will Housing Programs deal with rising juniors who want singles?

A: We are in a very precarious situation where we just don’t have a lot of singles. In the entire housing inventory 9 percent of everything we have to offer are singles.
One of the reasons we don’t have that available is that we are no longer able to house undergraduate students in the Aston. Law students will be housed in the Aston, which is a loss of 114 singles that we are not able to replace. We don’t anticipate another building coming on for the next two or three years. This year there are very few singles available.

The majority of the singles will be in Mitchell Hall where about 100 second-year students will live. There will also be about 30 singles with either kitchens or private bathrooms available in 1959 E Street, the first floor of Mitchell and International House for rising fourth-year students.

We only have about 40 to 50 singles with a private bath and we believe that those rooms should go to our rising fourth-year population. We can’t produce something that doesn’t exist. To rising third-year students, go through the process and see what you get and you may end up happy. We wish we had more singles; we just don’t.

Q: What should students do now to prepare to complete their housing application?

A: Students should be checking our Web site and reviewing the information, talking with their house staff members, thinking about who they want to live with, going to the information sessions, going to tabling events, going to the hall tours. RHA is conducting hall tours on Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m.

Q: What should matter more to a student’s preference – the people they would like to live with, or the house they would like to live in?

A: What we are trying to get students to do is how to best preference on the application. If 60 percent of rising second year students preference quads, 40 percent of them are not going to get it because only 19 percent of second year buildings have quads, so rising second year students may not want to look for groups of four because the likelihood of getting one is less. We want students to understand the inventory and their chances of getting particular housing, and ultimately students find the best situation for themselves.
Q: How many preferences should a student list?
A: We recommend that rising second year students list 10 to 15 preferences. Rising third year students should list seven to nine, and rising fourth year students should make five to seven. The application will allow a student to do as many preferences as he wants, which is to the student’s benefit.

Q: What kind of options other than roommates and hall choice will be on the application?

A: The application will ask students to select a Colonial Cash plan, for their roommate ID number, and 12 lifestyle questions about smoking and tidiness in the room. Students can rank them with how important a given factor is to them. Saying “no preference” does not mean that you don’t care about a certain feature – just that iHousing will not limit certain rooms based on your response.

Q: Are rising second-year students required to live in campus housing?

A: Yes, the District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment requires GW to house all first and second year students in specifically defined on-campus housing. Rising second year students cannot select or be pulled into any rooms in the City Hall or 1959 E Street.

Q: What are the options for third- and fourth-year students who want to back out of their housing assignment?

A: Housing is not guaranteed for third- and fourth-year students. We make every effort we can not to turn students away. If a student is flexible, he will get an assignment. The cancellation deadline is April 2 with no penalty. Students can cancel before May 4 with a $300 fine. This fee is much better than holding students responsible for a full-year housing bill.

Q: Who is eligible for squatters’ rights?

A: Squatters’ rights is a benefit to rising fourth year students, and this year we have to limit the number of students eligible to squat to 300 students. In the past we have automatically approved squatters, but now be will only be able to randomly approve 300 students. Students who wish to squat may not live in Scholar’s Village Townhouses, staff rooms, the Aston, a single room, any current or future first-year hall, or Focus on Fall Abroad (Living and Learning Cohort) rooms. Squatters need to apply by Feb. 16 to find out if they are approved.

Q: If a student is considering living in a Greek house, what are his options?

A: Students should speak with their house manager directly. It is important to remember that any student who wants a housing assignment must fill out an application.

Q: If students are unhappy with their assignment, what are their options?

A: Students have the option of finding another student with whom they can make a direct switch. We also have a wait list to change assignments, and as random spaces appear here and there, we will make the switches we can. We usually can’t, however, swap a whole room of people.

Q: Why did the switch occur to this system, and why did it occur this year?

A: The Residential Management System software is the premier housing assignment software used by over 250 schools that are similar or larger in size to GW. This past year we installed the program and have tested it out with the self check-in, which is another feature of the program. We worked with SASS to find something that students would be able to relate to and understand. We are hoping that students will be happy with their assignments and that the system will keep roommates together.

Q: Did students request this new housing system?

A: Students, the RHA and parents gave feedback about the old system and said that it was time-consuming and stressful. They didn’t like the stressful aspect of watching rooms disappear and the necessity of having to fill a room in order to request a certain room.

Q: How will Housing Programs plan to accept student feedback to the new system?

A: We have a customer log, and we read every letter and e-mail. We listen to the feedback from large student organizations like the house staff and the Student Association. We think students will have positive feedback about the new system, for example, your RMS ID, which will stay with you for four years, so you do not need to relearn one every year.

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