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 Guarantee, Eligibility Clarified

The university announced a four-year on-campus housing guarantee for students with high financial need this fall, in a move that is expected to help around 150 seniors with high financial need.

Included in the announcement were other housing eligibility changes related to the three-year on-campus housing requirement that will be implemented beginning with the Class of 2017.

The Georgetown University Student Association worked alongside the Office of Residential Living and the Office of Student Financial Services to ensure that students who receive financial aid that covers housing costs will be guaranteed a place to live on campus during their senior year, beginning next fall.

Previously, these students had no choice but to live in off-campus housing if they did not receive housing eligibility.

“Especially for students with high financial need who relied on on-campus housing, losing that eligibility means scrambling to find inexpensive housing,” GUSA President Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) said. “Though the university provides some opportunities to cover the costs of off-campus rent, [it is] certainly not the kind of security and stability that eligibility for on-campus housing provides.”

Students who demonstrate high financial need will follow the same eligibility process as other students.

“The financial aid office will determine which students out of that list qualify for high financial need, and then they’ll send it back to housing and housing will give them eligibility automatically,” GUSA Vice President Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) said.

Executive Director for Residential Services Patrick Killilee said that he does not think that this new policy will increase the number of seniors living on campus.

“There are still a limited number of seniors we can accept. Typically we have had 500 seniors opting to live on campus in the past, and we expect that number to stay the same,” Killilee said.

Joone Wang (COL ’17) receives a full scholarship from the university and said that the new housing policy came as a relief.

“I think the new policy is great. Now I don’t have to go through the hassle of looking for housing off campus,” Wang said.

With this new policy in place, students receiving aid must apply via Housing-at-a-Glance between Oct. 6 and 17 of this year.

The four-year housing guarantee will only affect seniors, as all juniors are guaranteed on-campus housing eligibility due to the new three-year on-campus requirement.

“The [three-year] policy came in two folds — one to fill the new number of beds and second, to create a vibrant residential living experience for students, so that the students living on campus will have that as part of their Georgetown undergraduate experience,” Killilee said.

However, many members of the Class of 2017 were upset when this policy was announced last spring, as they were not aware of it until midway through their freshman year.

Sophomore Sarah Barney (MSB ’17) said she was planning on living on campus for three years, but said that it places a burden on students who were unaware of the policy when applying to college.

“My grade entered Georgetown thinking we’d only be living on campus for two years, but then after our freshman year, this new policy was thrown at us. I think a lot of people in my grade, myself included, think they should have ushered this in with the 2018 freshman class instead,” Barney said.

Additionally, students are concerned with an additional change to the housing process for juniors participating in fall-2015 study abroad programs, as students going abroad in the fall are no longer eligible to enter the housing lottery.

While Barney was undeterred by the new three-year requirement, she said this change will affect her when she returns from study abroad in 2016.

“This new housing program makes it really hard to study abroad junior fall because I can’t enter the housing lottery,” Barney said. “Next year, instead of having a sophomore fill in for my apartment space, I’d get put into a dorm rather than an apartment.”

Tezel and Jikaria have pledged to work with administrators to change the study-abroad housing policy.

“We are still uneasy about the eligibility process for juniors who plan to study abroad in fall 2015, and have voiced this concern to the appropriate administrators,” Tezel and Jikaria wrote in a statement.

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