New York University opens D.C. campus

One of GW’s fiercest admissions rivals opened a D.C. study away program Monday, opening its new academic and residence hall complex just 14 blocks from Foggy Bottom.

New York University’s newest off-site program, at 1307 L St., NW, gives students the chance to spend up to three semesters in the nation’s capital before they return to the bustle of America’s largest city.

The newly constructed building includes classrooms, dorm rooms, offices and a 140-seat auditorium. The program includes about 25 students this semester, but NYU spokesman John Beckman said the school’s enrollment could surpass 120 students per semester in the next few years.

Like a study abroad program, NYU students who live and take classes in D.C. will pay the same price as they do on its main campus.

Media Credit: Carolyn Wallace | Hatchet Photographer

Out of GW’s 14 market basket schools, or similar institutions, 11 have programs that allow students to spend a semester in D.C. But NYU is the first to build a home within the Beltway.

To make use of the D.C. location, Beckman said the campus will focus on government and journalism – some of GW’s strong suits academically – in addition to art.

Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, said NYU’s decision to move to D.C. “merely underscores” the fact that GW’s location gives students an advantage.

“Our students keep getting better by nearly every measure. So while it’s good to have additional competition, we’re very confident that we are now and will remain the go-to place for the study of media and public affairs in Washington and beyond,” Sesno said.

John Sides, associate professor of political science, said he thinks students who want to be in D.C. will still choose GW, because the University gives them the chance to live in the area for four years, rather than just the length of an internship.

In 2011, the most recent National Research Council ranking, GW’s political science program came in as No. 24 compared to NYU’s No. 5 ranking.

Kathryn Napper, associate vice president and dean of admissions, said the new campus would not be competition for the University, even though many students who apply to GW also apply to NYU.

“We have the ‘pure thing,’ ” she said. “We are a four-year experience. We have better resources to take better advantage of, as opposed to one building in the middle of Washington D.C. that is a one-semester or two-semester thing.”

Napper said she is always conscious of competition among colleges, but she said the University has retained its popularity despite other schools’ programs cropping up in the District.

NYU has built up its international reputation, with study away programs on six continents, Beckman said.

The school also has a full-fledged campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and it is building one in Shanghai.

GW has also been building up its international scope – recently acquiring campus space in Suzhou, China and working on a four-year degree program that spans D.C., China and France.The construction for NYU’s study away building was funded by a $10 million donation by an NYU alumnus and owner of a real estate company. The land, valued at $5 million, was donated by a shareholder in a government relations firm.

NYU ranked more than 20 spots higher than GW in the U.S. News & World Report this year, with GW coming in at No. 51. It also received double the number of applications GW did.

The college’s endowment has long dwarfed GW’s, though the admissions rates remain similar. In 2011, NYU’s endowment was valued at $2.7 billion while GW’s peaked at $1.3 billion.

Cory Weinberg contributed to this report.

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