Housing & Local Area Information

Housing & Local Area Information

Legal Information

Moving Out

Army, Navy and Air Force students should make moving arrangements through the transportation office at the nearest military installation. Even if you plan to move yourself, you must contact a transportation office before you leave in order to be reimbursed for your moving expenses. All students, regardless of service, should refer to the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office, Washington DC Area (JPPSOWA) website.  Every service family has its own set of moving tricks, but here are a number you will want to consider (or reconsider) as you plan for the move.

  • They are YOUR belongings--don't let the packers or movers convince you otherwise. Watch them carefully; if you don't like the way they packed something, ask them to do it over.
  • You must allow the packers to pack your breakable items if the moving company is to insure them against damage. A box will be considered "packed by movers" if, after you pack the box, the mover inspects and seals the box.
  • Make sure all of your belongings are marked with a number and recorded on the inventory sheet created by the movers.
  • The movers will inspect your furniture before they move it and note any damage. Don't let them mark down damage that isn't there. Look very carefully at the agreement before you sign it.
  • Hand-carry some emergency items (i.e., kitchen items, bathroom items, clothing). You can't be sure when your goods will actually arrive at your new home, even though you may be given a specific date.
  • Develop a personal inventory of your property and hand-carry this when you move. Take photographs or create a video inventory of any particularly valuable items (e.g., artwork or furniture). This is a good idea not only for losses due to moving, but is helpful for insurance purposes if you ever experience a loss from fire, flood, theft, etc.
  • You may purchase extra insurance beyond what the government offers to cover your belongings. You should move photographs and items that cannot be replaced and any other valuables personally.
  • You will be given a telephone number of a government moving inspector at both ends of your move. If your movers don't respond to your requests (this includes not packing things the way you want or insisting on marking damage with which you disagree) call the inspector immediately.

House Hunting Trip

Many students prefer to make housing arrangements before arriving for school in August. This will probably require a house-hunting trip. Contact the housing office before you plan your trip and take advantage of the temporary lodging facilities or discounted rates at several of the very nice hotels nearby.

Housing Costs and Allowances

The Washington, DC, area can be very expensive and a rule of thumb is the closer to the university you live, the more you will pay. If you have a family, you'll need a larger place to live, and that can be costly in the immediate area; however, within a half-hour commute you can find larger places to accommodate you. You must balance the cost vs. location trade-off: how much are you willing to pay and how far are you willing to travel?

Remember, when you are talking cost of housing, mortgage or rent these are not the ONLY payments you'll be making. There is insurance (either home owners' or renters'), utilities (gas, electric, water and sewer, and trash), and perhaps additional expenses (possibly a homeowners' association fee, cable television, or taxes). You will be able to live nicely on your salary and entitlements, but know what you're getting into and plan ahead!

Your salary will include a non-taxable housing allowance--a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). This will vary based whether or not you have dependents. The following examples reflect the 2016 rates.

O-1   BAH
New to service or prior service officer, with no dependent(s) $2,100.00

New to service or prior service officer, 
with dependent(s) $2,316.00

O-1E Prior service enlisted (over 4 years), with no dependent(s) $2,268.00

Prior service enlisted (over 4 years), with dependent(s) $2,682.00

Again, these figures may vary with your particular prior service experience. Check the above website for further details.

Applying for Military Housing

Military housing (referred to as "on-base housing" by Navy and Air Force personnel and "on-post housing" by Army personnel) is available to military students at some of the military installations in the area. On-base living puts you in a safe community close to frequently used military services (exchanges, commissaries, hospitals, daycare, etc.) and with other military families. Some people appreciate that environment, while others prefer living out in the civilian community.

One negative about on-base living here is the distance to USU. Most USU students who get the opportunity to live on base do so at either Ft. Meade (Army, Navy, and Air Force students) located about 25 miles away or Andrews AFB (Air Force students only and if units are available) located about 25 miles away. While both commutes are on major interstate freeways, they will take an average of 30 to 60 minutes each way, depending on traffic, and many of the students living there will carpool each day. Contact the housing offices at these bases to obtain information on how long of a wait there is to get in and how to apply for base housing.

If you are successful in obtaining on base housing, you won't, of course, receive a BAH in your pay. But neither will you receive any utility bills, since the government pays for these.

Temporary Quarters

Whether visiting the area for house hunting or just getting into town for school, you may want to consider the relatively inexpensive temporary quarters located at and maintained by most military installations in the area. The temporary quarters you and your family will be eligible to use include Guest Houses (GH) and Visiting Officers' Quarters (VOQ). Their prices and maximum lengths of stay vary with facility, and it is best to reserve well in advance. The closest of these to USU is the Navy Lodge, on the grounds of WRNMMC and a block from the University. First priority for reservations is to family members of in-patients at the hospital, but newly arriving service personnel have second priority; you may reserve a room by calling (301) 654-1795 or (800) NAVY INN (toll-free) two months in advance. The GH and VOQ at WRAMC, also relatively close to USU, works on the same priority system. Several other military temporary quarters in the area and their phone numbers are listed on the following page.

Andrews AFB, Camp Springs MD GH/VOQ (301) 981-4614/4624
Bolling AFB, Washington DC GH/VOQ (202) 561-2558
Fort Belvoir, Alexandria VA VOQ or (800) 295-9750
Fort Meade, Odenton MD GH (301) 677-5884 or (800) GO ARMY1
Fort Myer, Arlington VA VOQ (703) 696-3576 or (800) GO ARMY1 
Washington DC Navy Lodge (202) 563-6950 or (800) NAVY INN
WRAMC--Main Post, Washington DC Malone House (202) 726-8700
GH (202) 726-8700

Moving In

Military Officers will work through the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO), located at Fort Belvoir, VA, just south of Washington, DC. This is the military transportation office servicing this area and is where your household goods will arrive. Contact that office (703-806-4900 or 800-762-7186) when you arrive and let them know where you can be reached. As soon as your household goods arrive, JPPSO will contact you and, if you have your housing available, the goods can be delivered directly rather than be offloaded and put into temporary storage; this, of course, avoids significant delivery delays and wear and tear on your belongings. If the goods must be put into storage, you will need to make arrangements to have them delivered once you are ready to move into your new residence. You may even find it advantageous to call several weeks before arriving in the local area and set up a date for move in if you know exactly when you will arrive and where you will be living. When you contact JPPSO be patient and persistent; the phones are always busy and you may be on hold for a long time even after you get through to the office.

When your belongings are delivered, be certain that every item listed on the inventory has been brought into your home before signing for them; if items are damaged or missing, note those on the forms that the movers will have you sign. The movers are to unpack your belongings if you wish; some families prefer to do this at their leisure, but the movers must do it if you wish.

If you find that any of your belongings have been lost or damaged during your move, pick up from the University's Office of the General Counsel, copies of the government claims forms to be reimbursed for the loss or damage. Follow through on this immediately. It takes some effort to fill out the lengthy forms, but it is well worth it to receive the money to which you are entitled.

For further information on shipment of household effects coming into or out of the Washington, DC area, the following telephone numbers and addresses are provided:

1. Incoming Shipments:
Customer Service: (703) 806-4900
Toll Free: (800) 762-7186
FAX: (703) 806-4550
Fort Belvoir
9325 Duston Road
Suite N110
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5580

2. Outgoing Shipment/General Information/?DDTY? Moves Claims:
Customer Service: (202) 433-3561
Claims: (202)685-1194 Thur 1197
Anacostia Naval Station
Building #414
Washington, DC 20374

3. Vehicle Shipment:
Call: (800) 631-5751 (Baltimore, MD)

4. Household Goods Help Line: (NAVSUP)
(0800-1900 Eastern Standard Time; Monday-Friday)

Hopefully this and the following information will make your relocation an enjoyable experience, with minimum hassles. Let the personnel in the Military Personnel Office, the Office of the Command, or the Office for Student Affairs know if you need further assistance during the move or settling in to the area.

About Bethesda

The Uniformed Services University is located in Bethesda, Maryland. The community is a thriving metropolis that lies just northwest of Washington, D.C. in Montgomery County.

The city borders the U.S. Capitol, the Potomac River and Rock Creek Park. This diverse geography is appealing to nature lovers and city dwellers alike.

Bus and metro rail transportation are easily accessible and provide routes throughout the city and beyond. In fact, there is a metro stop located a short walk from the campus grounds and many students choose public transportation as a convenient and cost effective mode of travel.

This same transportation provides access to a wide variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues located in downtown Bethesda. Art and music festivals attract students and other visitors as well as annual events such as The Taste of Bethesda and Strut Your Mutt.

Various health organizations and federal complexes also call Bethesda home. The National Institutes of Health is across the street from the University and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is next door.

To learn more about this vibrant city, visit the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce.