Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Housing Eligibility Confuses Juniors

Changes to housing eligibility have caused confusion among students seeking university housing for a fourth year, as juniors currently studying abroad no longer receive preferences for senior housing eligibility.

Previously, juniors spending a semester abroad were given priority in senior housing eligibility, in addition to other special interest groups. Under the new housing rules, only students with high financial need and junior transfer students are given preferences in the eligibility process, while students studying abroad are no longer prioritized.

Executive Director for Residential Services Patrick Killilee said that this change came in response to student feedback.

“Based on recommendations from a student working group, with representatives from Georgetown University Student Association and InterHall, extra points for seniors studying abroad in the fall was discontinued this year,” he said.

Allison Blankenship (COL ’16), who is studying abroad in Copenhagen this semester, was placed on the eligibility waitlist. Blankenship said she is unhappy with her housing result and she considers the system unfair for juniors studying abroad.

“I’m not happy with my housing result because I have the highest amount of points possible, but still can’t seem to get on-campus housing,” Blankenship wrote in an email. “It doesn’t seem fair to me. The people who studied abroad in the fall should have some sort of priority in choosing on-campus housing since we weren’t part of the previous housing selection process.”

Blankenship said that the eligibility process’s randomness and lack of transparency have become frustrating for her.

“The eligibility system is like a numbers game that you can never win,” Blankenship wrote. “People always try to put together the best group that will (hopefully) get them the greatest amount of points and give them eligibility, but no one really knows their chances. We try to outsmart this system that no one truly even understands.”

Violet Wey (SFS ’16), who is currently studying abroad in Shanghai, received eligibility for on-campus senior housing, but said that her financial aid status helped to secure this. She said that despite her success in the eligibility process, there is a lack of access to information for students abroad.

“I didn’t think the application process was extremely difficult,” Wey wrote in an email.”I was just a bit confused or unsure about some things, and the time difference being abroad made it difficult for me to ever contact anyone over at Georgetown for help, so that made me nervous and hesitant when it came time to actually submit for eligibility.”

Issues regarding senior housing extend beyond students studying abroad, with other juniors also expressing concerns about a confusing system.
Joseph Laposata (COL ’16), who is living on campus his junior year, also received waitlist status. He said that the university did not explain its policies well and that the system is misleading.

“The university has set up an incentive that makes us want to live on campus. If we applied for housing, we are likely to get apartments or townhouses. Those are wonderful housing options that we would definitely want,” he said. “But we don’t know that we can even get eligibility to get those excellent points. So it’s hard to make this a plan if it’s not guaranteed to all.”

Killilee however, said the Office of Residential Life has not received this negative feedback.

“We make every effort to make the process as simple and transparent as possible. We have involved students and student leaders from GUSA and InterHall over the past few years to review these processes and make recommendations for improvement,” Killilee wrote. “We have not received any real complaints. We receive a lot of questions about individual situations.  We try to work with students to resolve those individual concerns.”

After the university changed its housing policy this spring, requiring three years of on-campus housing beginning with the Class of 2017, Laposata said that current juniors became confused about their eligibility and options for senior year.

“This is just causing mass confusion,” Laposata said. “For one thing, I have no idea if my number is good. I have no idea if I should expect to receive eligibility.”

Killilee said he believed that the three-year housing requirement would only help rising seniors receive better on-campus housing.

“The third-year mandate should not make much of an impact on students requesting senior year housing,” Killilee wrote. “Rising seniors with eligibility will have first pick of townhouses, apartments and residence halls during selection. In the past, juniors had first pick. More seniors will be able to live in townhouses than in the past.”

While acknowledging the university’s limitations, Laposata said he remains dissatisfied with the current eligibility system.

“I realized that this is just a messy interim period,” Laposata said. “The university isn’t trying to disadvantage seniors. … But also it’s worth acknowledging that it’s incredibly inconvenient and there are mixed incentives because they want us to live on campus but they can’t tell us if they will let us live on campus.”

Killilee said that the Office of Residential living does not have plans to make major policy changes for senior housing in the future.

“Due to limited housing capacity, we are not able to guarantee or require four years of campus housing,” Killilee wrote. “Historically, about 25 percent of seniors have lived on campus. That number will increase slightly as we add more housing in the next two years.”

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