Beginning with the class of 2018, the George Washington University will add two semesters to the on-campus residential requirement to further support students’ academic and campus experiences. Under the university’s current policy, students are required to live on campus for four semesters.
“As a residential community, we believe students who live on campus an additional two semesters will benefit academically as well as be more engaged and connected to their overall GW experience,” said Peter Konwerski, senior associate provost and dean of student affairs. He added that more than 60 percent of students already choose to live on campus an additional two semesters--typically during their junior year.
Students, parents and community members said they support the decision.
“The new on-campus housing options on Square 77 [where a new residence hall will be built] will provide students with further opportunities to live in affinity housing, small communities of their friends with whom they choose to live in an enhanced community setting,” said Julia Susuni, president of the Student Association. “This will provide additional support for student organizations, Greek life and other groups of GW students who choose to live together.”
Kyle Webb, president of the GW Residence Hall Association, said the new policy will “bring the GW residential community closer.” Mr. Webb said he looks forward to representing the additional on-campus students and “giving them added resources that they would not have living off campus.”
The cost of on-campus housing, which covers all utilities, furniture and programming costs, will continue to be comparable to off-campus properties.
“The requirement for additional semesters will lessen worries about trying to find a place to live during their third year and bring peace of mind for both parents and students about not having to struggle with finding housing for most of their time on campus,” said Dan Curran, president of GW’s Parents’ Association Advisory Council.
Britany Waddell, director of community relations, said another benefit of the added year of students living on campus will be the enhancement of the university’s commitment to limiting impacts of undergraduates living in the adjacent residential community.
“With the opening of the new Crawford, Schenley and West End residence hall in 2016 and the discontinued use of City Hall for undergraduates, all GW provided undergraduate housing will be within our campus boundary. By requiring that students live six semesters on campus, we’re taking another important step to minimize impacts of students living in the surrounding neighborhoods,” she said.
Time spent in study abroad will count toward the three-year requirement, and students studying abroad won’t have to worry about finding short-term leases when they return, said Seth Weinshel, director of housing.
“We know students who live on campus are more engaged, and this allows the Division of Student Affairs to focus on student programming and support services for third-year students as well as increase certainty for students and parents with respect to housing availability,” Mr. Weinshel said. “We’ll continue to address the issue of affordability by providing options for students.”
Students who are already exempt from the current on-campus housing requirement, such as commuters, veterans and students who are married or have children, among others, will continue to be exempt under the new policy.
The new requirement is made possible due to an efficient use of existing space in residential halls and expansion plans that will add more beds to campus, Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller said.
“From the recent openings of new residence halls like Potomac House, South Hall and West Hall, to the upcoming new residential hall that will incorporate Crawford, Schenley and West End in 2016 to create nearly 900 beds, the university knows the value of having students live on campus and is working to make that happen,” Mr. Miller said.