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New intern housing under construction. (from Paradigm Companies)

Hey D.C.—It’s intern season! They’ll be filtering in by the thousands over the next few weeks, and I’d advise finding someplace other than McFaddens or the Hawk ‘n Dove to hang out on Friday nights.

Lately, though, there’s been more talk about the sometimes exploitative and potentially illegal nature of this modern form of indentured servitude. Beyond the hardship of putting in long hours for no money, there’s also the burden of finding somewhere to live near your desired place of employment. Kids coming to work on the Hill or some D.C. non-profit can take their chances on Craigslist, but the easiest thing to do is sign up for summer housing at one of the local universities, putting them in close proximity to the rest of the interning hordes.

Of course, convenience comes with a price. At George Washington, you’ll pay between $231 and $329 per week, depending on how many people you want to live with, amounting to a rough monthly rate of $924 – $1,316. Georgetown charges a flat rate of $256 per week, which puts you at $1,024. Which seems a little steep for living in dorms, especially when there are sublets to be had just a little ways up the Green Line for $800 or les.

The most egregious example, however, is Washington Center‘s just-completed intern housing building, which offers 94 units and 348 beds at $354 per week, or $1,416 per month. And this is a program that college students are already paying for. Certainly, ambitious young folks are entitled to live in comfort if they’ve got the dough, but Housing Complex would probably find a much nicer studio on Capitol Hill for that kind of rent.