Friday, February 6, 2009

GW Housing Needs Change

University housing costs do not make sense. As a junior or senior, a student has the option of living with 3 of his friends in a quad in Ivory Tower or City Hall for eight months out of the year at a cost of $10,815. Or they could live a block or two off of campus in an apartment where the rent costs nearly as much total money -- for the entire year.

Living in an apartment, students also wouldn't have to deal with spending a fortune to keep their belongings boxed up in D.C. over summer.

Four students living together two blocks away from campus at Winston House or the Savoy (where utilities are included) would each pay about $870 per month. Each would pay more than $1,300 a month in a smaller setup in a GW dorm. How can GW explain this enormous difference in cost?

Unfortunately, some nearby complexes have implemented policies that either intentionally or unintentially bar most students from renting there. A recurring issue I've found in my hunt for a home for next year is that many seemingly affordable apartment complexes have adapted to tough economic times by changing their policies to prevent guarantors (i.e. parents) from paying a student's monthly rent.

There are ways to get around this policy, but only if you have a large chunk of money in your own bank account.

I recently toured an apartment at Columbia Plaza, conveniently located on 23rd St., and was disappointed to find the complex has such a policy. GW actually has a deal with Columbia Plaza that allows parents to pay for their child's housing there, but this only applies to graduate students.

With the economy in shambles, it's time for GW to meet its students needs by providing more affordable housing on campus and working with nearby apartment buildings to develop policies work for students.

If you agree, please join the GW Housing Needs Change Facebook group.

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