Beds cheaper for some freshmen

The least-expensive rooms on campus next fall will cost about $6,500, a decrease of $1,500 from the current cost of the cheapest rooms, the University announced this month.

The decrease in housing costs is part of University President Steven Knapp’s plan to make GW more affordable for the incoming freshman class. Initially, only students receiving need-based financial aid will have access to the 1,000 reduced-price beds. If some eligible students do not choose the cheaper beds, the University will make those beds available to all incoming freshmen.

“If you talk to any student, they are going to talk about affordability. This is one of President Knapp’s concerns and the Board has talked about it, (too),” said Seth Weinshel, a director of GW housing. “Reducing the cost of these 1,000 beds is one way the issue is being addressed.”

Increasing affordability is sweeping through institutions of higher education across the country. On Wednesday, Stanford University became the latest school to take steps to make schools more affordable by offering free tuition to students whose family earns less than $100,000 a year.

Currently, the least-expensive rooms at GW are in Thurston Hall where rooms with four, five or six occupants cost about $8,000 per resident. Starting next semester, the least-expensive tier of housing will cost $6,520. This price will apply to doubles and singles in Cole, Clark, Merriweather and Hensley Halls on Mount Vernon; suites in 2034 G Street; and quads, five-person and six-person rooms in Thurston.

The next tier of housing – which includes rooms in Thurston, Mitchell, Crawford, Lafayette and Somers Halls – will cost about $2,000 more than the least expensive rooms.

Housing costs at New York University range from about $6,000 to $18,000 per year for undergraduates. At Boston University, housing costs between $7,000 and $12,000 for undergraduates.

University officials said they are not advertising the new plan to prospective students, but said that they will mail information about the reduced-cost beds to students once they are accepted.

Conor Rogers, a high school senior who got accepted to GW early decision, said he has concerns about the way people perceive the University’s high sticker price. He added that reducing the cost of beds may help change this perception.

“The whole thing is very expensive, and housing just factors into it,” he said. “It could probably help to dispel the idea that GW is the most expensive school.”

Joe Lynn, a high school senior from New York, took a tour of GW with his parents last Sunday. He said he is considering attending GW, but also said he has heard from alumni that GW may not be worth the cost.

Joe’s father Jim said that while he would prefer his son not live in a room with five other people, the significantly reduced cost of some beds may be enough to persuade his son to live in a more crowded room.

“The cheaper the better . If it’s a big enough price difference, then yeah .” he said.

Jami Mevorah, a freshman living in a Thurston quad, said her family feels the strain of GW’s high housing costs. Mevorah will not benefit from the cost reduction. She said, “The cost of housing at GW is a concern to me because it serves as an additional monetary burden on my parents, who are paying for much of my tuition, all of my textbooks and my GWorld.”

Elise Kigner contributed to this report.

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