Fewer upperclassmen apply for campus housing

All upperclassmen applicants for campus housing nabbed a spot in residence halls next fall, the first time in nearly a decade that juniors and seniors stayed off the waitlist.

The University must still place about 120 rising sophomores – who are required to live on campus – into rooms. That figure is about the same as past years, and all will receive housing assignments by the summer, Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said.

Weinshel said he thought fewer upperclassmen signed up for housing anticipating a housing crunch because GW will close two sophomore residence halls this summer to prepare for the “superdorm.” Last year, about 350 students opted for the waitlist – all of whom were given housing by the end of May, Weinshel said. In 2011, the waitlist included 700 students.

Sophomores will be shuffled into Philip Amsterdam Hall, which previously housed mostly juniors, and quads in several sophomore buildings that were previously triples after the University shutters Crawford, The Schenley and The West End.

With fewer upperclassmen living on campus, two nearby apartment buildings, The Statesman and The President Condominium, reported an increase in student applicants this year. An employee of the Letterman House Condominiums, which houses about 65 percent students each year, said it has not yet seen an increase, but said most student applications stream in closer to the summer.

The University also saw twice as many students request fall-only housing, tallying 280 applications this year. This is the first year that GW allowed students to leave their housing in the spring – the more popular season for study abroad.

Weinshel said last-minute study abroad decisions are among the most common reasons students cancel housing assignments.

But Weinshel said he does not expect many students to ditch housing assignments. Last year, the office implemented a steep $700 fine for students who dropped their assignments a month or more after the deadline to deter them from seeing campus housing as a fallback.

“We still anticipate a high occupancy rate like we have in previous years,” Weinshel said. “When students want housing, we’ll continue to provide them housing.”

He said that because he does not expect many students to take their names off the list, he doesn’t think rooms around campus will go empty next fall.

“The fact that there are fewer people on the waitlist will not negatively impact us. The fees, regardless of where the funding goes, are meant to be a deterrent,” he said.

Weinshel said he did not think housing prices, which went up about 3 percent this year, similar to past years’ increases, were a factor in students’ decisions because it they are less than the housing market’s yearly inflation.

Colleen Murphy contributed to this report.

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