Students excited to head to Stony Brook University next year and live on campus have received emails saying their housing offer was rescinded. NewsdayTV’s Shari Einhorn reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

A “significantly higher” than expected number of students signed up for on-campus housing at Stony Brook University for the upcoming fall term, forcing the university to rescind housing to incoming students who live about 30 miles or less from the college. 

About 300 students have been placed on a housing wait list and that number could decrease "as we work to address each student's needs and receive housing cancellations," according to a notice posted Friday on the school's website.

Incoming students received word of the change this week and were refunded a $200 housing deposit. But the restriction comes after Stony Brook's commitment day May 15 and after decision days have passed for several other schools, leaving families no choice but to deal with the change.

Dolores Falco, of Copiague, said her son, Andrew, 18, had signed up for housing and received an email from the school Tuesday. Their home is just under 30 miles from the school, which is not easily accessible by bus or train. It's also about an hour's drive.

“No one ever said anything about this being an issue,” Falco said. Her son had been accepted to other colleges and she said he may have chosen them if he knew he could not live on the Stony Brook campus.

She said her son has been put on the wait list for housing. 

In a statement Thursday, Stony Brook officials said: “We apologize for this disruption and are committed to providing a high-quality first year experience. A significantly higher percentage of students accepted our offer of admission and requested on-campus housing than in previous years. While this may positively reflect Stony Brook University's increased appeal, we know this doesn't address the housing concern for our students and their families.”

The university said it may seek to create temporary housing by converting some residence hall rooms to house three students instead of two.

In the notice posted Friday, university officials said: "Historically, there has always been a high demand for on-campus housing, so information about the strategies, such as tripling and the radius policy, that Campus Residences may implement if incoming students' applications exceed demand is communicated in the housing application." 

According to the email that students received, the university is implementing its “Housing Demand Above Standard Occupancy” procedures, which includes a radius policy. Under this policy, students with a home address within a certain distance from the university — in this case about 30 miles — are ineligible for housing.

The email also noted that students will automatically “be added to a priority waitlist for campus housing” and a status update will be available by June 30.

Students had to commit to Stony Brook by May 15, about two weeks later than in prior years. The State University of New York system was among several colleges and universities that postponed the May 1 enrollment decision day due to several delays in the federal financial aid process.

"Given the extended May 15 commitment deadline, a significantly higher percentage of students than anticipated accepted Stony Brook’s offer of admission and requested on-campus housing," school officials said in the notice.

In fall 2023, about 77% of first-year students lived on campus.

According to the school's website, there were 25,865 total students — including more than 17,000 undergraduates — enrolled in fall 2023. The school has 33 residence halls and 27 apartment-style buildings. About 9,868 students live on campus. 

Data from the SUNY system showed there were more than 1,100 first-time undergraduates from Long Island enrolled at Stony Brook in fall 2023.

According to the university's radius policy on its website, “If and when space becomes available, residents excluded from receiving housing due to the radius policy would have priority to have on-campus housing during the same agreement period over individuals who are on our general on-campus housing waitlist. Additionally, continuing residents in corridor-style buildings may be reassigned before arrival to suite-style vacancies to create additional spaces in first-year housing.”

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