Three hundred more students applied to live in GW housing next year, an increase that housing officials attribute to a new University residence hall and the worsening economic conditions. The increase coincides with lower housing rates next year for some underclassmen.
As of Friday, when registration for third- and fourth-year students closed, 4,833 students had registered for on-campus housing, compared to 4,552 last year, said GW Housing Assignments Director Seth Weinshel. That number does not include incoming freshmen.
Weinshel said the administration and the Board of Trustees considered the recession when deciding on next year’s housing rates.
The rates for Lafayette Hall and quads in Crawford will decrease more than $2,000 from $8,755 to $6,720. Rates in 2109 F. Street and Building JJ will be reduced from $9,785 to $8,050, while residents of Schenley Hall and the West End will also see a decrease of nearly $1,000.
But the majority of students living on campus, particularly upperclassmen, will experience the normal increase of between $200 to $400.
“The economic climate is hard for many people, and students make the best decisions for themselves,” Weinshel said. “Some of the rates specifically the Board tried to keep low, keeping in mind the economic times in order to keep GW affordable.”
Weinshel attributed the increase of students living on campus to the economic downturn and the addition of the new 2135 F Street residence hall.
“The number is above average,” Weinshel said. “I think we’ve seen an increased number of rising fourth-year students. Some of that is because we’re opening 2135. I think that has certainly helped and that number is a little higher than it has been.”
Sophomore Bari Hirschberg, who lives in International House this year and hopes to get a room in New Hall next year, said she can see why the economy would entice students to stay on campus.
“Living on campus can be more cost effective,” Hirschberg said. “I definitely want to try and stay on campus senior year because I love the social aspect of dorm life.”
The program GW uses to assign students to rooms, iHousing, was created three years ago to accommodate the influx of students during registration period and has been modified each year to address student concerns.
For the first time this year, students can use the program on Macintosh computers and few problems with it have been reported, Weinshel said. He added that 82 percent of students have been assigned to one of their top three choices since iHousing began. Weinshel said the biggest complaints GW Housing receives are from students unhappy with their assignments.
Next year will mark junior Imran Mahmud’s fourth year in GW Housing.
“In previous years, the program seemed buggier,” Mahmud said. “Granted, a lot of those issues seem to have been addressed.”
This article appeared in the March 9, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.