GW nixes fall abroad housing requirement

GW’s fall abroad community will no longer require participants to be housed together, hoping to drum up participation as it braces for a campus housing crunch next year.

The Focus on Fall Abroad Community, which offers tuition breaks, priority registration and Amsterdam Hall quads for students who travel to GW programs during the study abroad off-season, will allow students to pick their own apartment or residence hall for the first time.

The program launched in 2005 with 16 students to help balance the number of students who go abroad in the fall and spring. Participation soared, and now includes GW-hosted programs in Europe and Latin America.

But since 2009, growth has slowed. As of last week, applications are on target to rise just above last year’s 281-student high. The deadline for the program is Feb. 6.

Study abroad adviser and FOFAC coordinator Anna Levinger said she hopes the changes will entice students who had plans to live off-campus or with friends in another dorm.

“I think it’s a big change for us, but I think it also has the potential to be a very positive change because it means we can include so many more students in the community,” Levinger said.

Space in residence halls will be tighter next semester when GW starts construction on the 800-bed superdorm, taking three underclassman halls off the grid. With some sophomores moving into Amsterdam Hall to ease the crunch, FOFAC will only be allotted about 200 beds in the typically junior and senior hall.

Instead, GW Housing Programs will offer “spring only” housing in any hall. Students can also choose to live off campus.

The live-in program in Amsterdam Hall will still be available for interested students, along with $1,500 in program savings and early registration.

Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel agreed that the switch will give the University more flexibility and help students coming back from abroad or other semesters away from GW.

He said students will be able to stop worrying about applying for housing or being paired with students whom they don’t know.

“We want to try and reach every student so each can ultimately be happy and comfortable in their assignment. It will ultimately make them a more successful student,” Weinshel said.

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