As juniors moved into new housing at the start of this academic year, the weight of finding a living space for senior year was already upon them. While the university can’t be expected to provide housing next year for all of these students, it could do more to facilitate such a demanding search.

The Georgetown housing lottery system is designed to give the greatest preference to rising juniors. Housing is guaranteed for only three years, and an earlier housing pick gives rising juniors the best chance at claiming an attractive townhouse or apartment. Seniors are generally granted much lower numbers in the housing lottery. Because of this system, lottery groups made up of rising seniors are seriously disadvantaged. Such groups often don’t even qualify for university housing and must take their search for a home off campus.

Off-campus housing in West Georgetown and Burleith is both scarce and expensive. The process to obtain leases in these areas is extremely competitive, forcing many students to start knocking on doors and talking to landlords a full year before the start of their lease. If soon-to-be seniors prefer on-campus housing — often for financial reasons — they must wait until October or November to find out if they qualify. Those who aren’t granted university housing are then faced with even fewer options and less leverage off campus.

The university should notify students sooner of on-campus housing availability for senior year so as to better align with the search cycle for off-campus locations. While the university’s off-campus housing website provides some rudimentary information, it lacks an extensive list of landlords and houses that would provide more substantive help to students.

It’s understandable that the university expects most seniors to leave the on-campus nest, but it doesn’t have to shove them out of it.

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