Study abroad applicants: There’s no need to fret over housing
Fear, panic, and sadness came crashing down on sophomores planning to study abroad in the fall late Monday night following the creation of a Facebook event that told tales of a new housing policy that would shatter any hope of studying abroad in the fall.
The event page quoted an addition to the University’s housing selection handbook, which states that students studying abroad in the fall “will not be able to select housing,” as once their study abroad applications are accepted, “their eligibility will expire.”
The creators of the event had seen this policy after the Office of Residential Living sent an email Monday, Will Simons (COL ’16), one of the event creators, told the Voice. On the Facebook page, the creators wrote that they believed students studying abroad would not be able to enter the housing lottery for the spring and would “have to wait until they are abroad in the fall to determine their housing situation, at which point they are not guaranteed housing or a specific space.”
This worst-case scenario, however, is more like a same-case scenario, as the change does not alter the previous housing selection process all that much. The change serves to update the previous spot-filling process to fit the new selection timeline in which rising juniors and seniors select housing at the same time as rising sophomores in the spring (previously juniors and seniors had done so during the fall semester).
Before the change, a group of four rising juniors would select an apartment in the fall, even if some were considering studying abroad. If, for example, two of the students had been accepted to a study abroad program, they would withdraw from the apartment and they would select two other students to live in the apartment or housing would either fill the spots. When the two students returned from study abroad, the students place-holding would then withdraw. This process, however, is entirely voluntary and student-facilitated. Housing would not enforce any of the agreements the students had made amongst themselves.
According to Patrick Killilee, Executive Director of Student Housing, the new process is not very different. The main change is that because students find out about study abroad prior to selection, the two students they pulled up would instead become part of their group going into selection. And because the switch before spring semester was facilitated by students in the old process, the same switch can still occur in the spring.
Killilee said that while upperclassmen, according to the policy, are not guaranteed housing on campus, Student Housing works to make sure that students returning from study abroad have a place.
“There’s no guarantee but we give try to give a strong preference to students coming back from abroad to house them somewhere on campus because it’s really hard to come back and find an off campus lease for a semester,” Killilee said. “We really try to get all the students we can housed who need it.”
The only problems that could arise in the new process are for groups where all the students plan on studying abroad in the fall (in which case they would search for whatever spots are available in the spring) and for groups using sophomores to place-hold. Sophomores would lower the number of housing points for groups going into selection, which could leave them with lower lottery picks.
Photo via Georgetown University