Residency Requirement & Exemptions

Residency Requirement

The George Washington University requires all first-, second-, and third-year students to reside on campus unless they are approved for a residency exemption.

Since 2006, GW has been in full compliance with the D.C. Zoning Commission Residency Policy and its stipulations on DC schools that require all first and second-year students to reside in on-campus housing. Several years ago, GW made an institutional policy to further require all third-year students to reside in on-campus housing. Collectively, GW's residency requirement is intended to foster community development and best support the undergraduate experience at GW.

Beginning Fall 2023, third-year students will not be required to live on-campus. First- and second-year students will remain required to live on-campus in Fall 2023.


Exemptions to the Residency Requirement

For students eligible to apply for an exemption, the Residency Exemption Request Form will be available via Campus Living eServices.

  • Rising second-year students:
    • Supporting documentation must be uploaded at the time of submission.
    • Request form open throughout spring semester
  • Incoming first-year students:
    • Students need a GWID and must have claimed their UserID and password before the application is accessible. 
    • Request form opens mid May
  • Transfer Students: Application available throughout the summer.

If you have questions regarding the Residency Exemption Request process, please contact [email protected].

Residency Exemption Criteria

Status description supporting documentation
Commuter If the student, parent(s), or guardian(s) live outside the Foggy Bottom/West End area and within a commutable distance. For all students, this address needs to be established prior to initial enrollment. A copy of any document that verifies the student's residence (i.e. utility bill, identification card, or lease agreement). If the student is residing with a guardian or family, they must explain their relationship with that individual.
Permanent Resident If the student, parent(s) or guardian(s) live inside the Foggy Bottom/West End area. For all students, this address needs to be established prior to initial enrollment. A copy of any document that verifies the student's residence (e.g.. utility bill, identification card, or lease agreement). If the student is residing with a guardian or family, they must explain their relationship with that individual.
Married Students who are either married or in a civil partnership. A copy of a government-issued certificate recognizing the partnership (i.e. marriage license or domestic partnership certificate).
Disability Students with disabilities which cannot be accommodated with the residence hall living environment. Students must have registered with Disability Support Services (DSS) and received an accommodation recommendation for an exemption to be considered. A student's condition must first meet the general eligibility criteria to request any accommodation as a student with an ADA recognized impairment. Review details on the DSS website. The DSS process can take several weeks. You need to submit your request to DSS before the housing exemption deadline.  A copy of your approval letter from DSS is required.
Religious Beliefs Students with religious beliefs which cannot be accommodated within the residence hall living environment. A personal statement explaining how the student's religious beliefs cannot be accommodated within the residence halls. An additional letter from a religious leader elaborating on the student's beliefs is required.
Veteran Students who are veterans of the armed forces who are 20 years of age or older at initial enrollment.

A copy of any government-issued document verifying service. For example: certificate of release or discharge (DD-214), GI Bill® certificate of eligibility, etc.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Exemption requests submitted during the Academic Year will be reviewed, but are rarely granted. If a student fills out a Housing License Agreement and is assigned to housing, they are bound to the agreement and must live on campus. Students are not able to request an exemption from the residency requirement after receiving their housing assignment unless they have had a change in circumstances in one of the areas listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions: 2023-2024 Residency Exemptions

No, rising 3rd-year students are not required to take any steps or submit an exemption request to live off-campus. 3rd-year students are not required to live on-campus.

Beginning in early February, rising 2nd-year students will be able to request an exemption. Note that there is a limited set of criteria that GW is permitted to approve an exemption request for.

No, there will be no strict deadline for a current first-year student / rising second-year student to request an exemption, and if approved for an exemption, housing for the 2023-2024 Academic Year will be cancelled without a cancellation fee. If you are a current first-year student / rising second-year student, we encourage you to evaluate your circumstances relative to the criteria GW is permitted to use in approving requests for exemptions to our first- and second-year residency requirement.