Students overwhelmingly appeal furniture fees

GW Housing Programs added a new move-out fee this year, a much criticized revenue booster that charges students for damaged or missing furniture. Hatchet File Photo.

About 400 of the 500 students billed for damaged or missing furniture after move-out appealed the charges, a University spokeswoman confirmed this week.

GW Housing Programs charged students with fees ranging from $175 to $890, depending on the piece of furniture, for the first time in “many years,” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

Sherrard declined to comment on how many appeals have been granted or the total revenue collected from furniture-related charges.

Based on the number of students charged and the range for furniture-related fees, the housing office could have collected between $87,500 to $445,000. That number is in addition to the $225,000 GW accrued for dirty rooms that needed more than a broom job to clean up, fining nearly 900 students with a $250 fee.

Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said those fees – a $50,000 increase from last year’s broom clean revenue – were used to clean the unkempt rooms.

“Many students have filed appeals of these charges and those appeals are being reviewed and handled on a case-by-case basis based on the documentation which was gathered during check out by GW staff,” Sherrard said in an email, referring to the furniture fees. “Affected students are being notified as promptly as possible regarding the resolution of their appeals.”

She called the fees “a standard practice for collegiate residential systems.”

Sherrard would not confirm or deny student reports that the housing office and maintenance crews did not log which pieces of furniture were missing or damaged.

“We are unable to generalize the reasons for appeals to be granted,” Sherrard said. “Moving forward, we will continue to review and refine the process for both residence hall check-in and check-out to ensure that fines continue to be assessed appropriately and provide ample information to students regarding the items of concern, and that any appeals are resolved as promptly as possible.”

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