Aston residence hall reopens to first-year Law School students

The newly renovated Aston residence hall, just north of Washington Circle, opened its doors to first-year Law School students this fall – with more than half living there for free.

The Law School’s housing program was initially slated to begin in 2007, but unexpected renovations sent officials scrambling to find alternate housing for students with guaranteed housing offers. With construction finished this year, 115 first-year law students moved into the residence hall, with 60 receiving the housing as part of a scholarship package, an official said.

David Johnson, senior assistant dean for student affairs at the Law School, said the new program will help GW attract students that are “torn between two schools, say, GW and Georgetown,” adding that students do not want housing to be an obstacle to their education.

The program is still too new to determine whether it has affected admissions numbers at the Law School, said Anne Richard, associate dean for admissions and financial aid.

Many residents interviewed last week, however, said the free housing was a major catalyst in their decision to attend GW.

Law student Samantha Shinsato, an Aston resident, said the free housing is an “added bonus” to a “financial package that was great from the start.”

Jon Gaffney, a first-year law student, said it was “very helpful to not have to worry about housing” and praised the Aston’s location as both convenient and close to campus.

The Aston, unlike graduate housing at the Hall on Virginia Avenue and Columbia Plaza, is set aside strictly for first-year students. According to Law School officials, the program is meant give new students a place to live as they transition into graduate life. When they return for their second year, the students are expected to find a place of their own.

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