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Guidelines for Incoming Students

Dear Incoming Students,

Welcome! Here’s some introductory material. Please e-mail back or call if you have questions about it or other things.

First, The Basics:
From cradle to grave (so to speak, as we call your MSTP training from arrival to graduation with the dual degree), your tuition, healthcare insurance, and in some years, miscellaneous fees (students are responsible for fees during Year 4, 5 & 6), will be covered*. In addition, you will receive a stipend for living expenses (and some other perks here and there).

* Assuming you progress normally. Should you need extra years to complete medical school (like if you fail a year or need to take a large amount of personal time for some reason), or fail to arrange a rotation or find a lab, or if you leave the lab you are doing your Ph.D. in without arranging to join another lab, there may well be some issues re coverage, or lack there of, that we will need to discuss. But these sorts of things are quite rare, and we will assume because we know that you are all excellent students whom we are excited and delighted to have join the program that these are exceedingly unlikely to ever apply to you.

Details: (since most students eventually get curious about this, and there are two important points):

- The NIH MSTP Training Grant for Stony Brook actually supports only two years of training for the subset of students that are on it (generally, the first two years: Years one and two of medical school). Since NIH is (intentionally) parsimonious with its funds, the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University helps out during this period, covering part of the costs of tuition and some miscellaneous stuff for those students, and footing the entire bill for the remainder of the students. Note that this is how MSTP awards work at all medical schools, not just Stony Brook.

- A stipend of $29,000 and a tuition scholarship for the academic year, 2018-2019, have been awarded to you. In most (perhaps all, now) programs, you will be able to raise the stipend even higher if you can succeed in obtaining a fellowship during the Ph.D. years. This is good for you (maybe $ in your pocket, looks good on your c.v., and increased early attention from your advisor that will help you focus your thesis project and develop your thesis proposal), good for your advisor (less $ to cover you, good for his / her c.v.), and good for us, so we encourage you to try and will help you with the application when the time comes in a couple of years.

- During the remaining Ph.D. years, your expenses will be covered by your advisor (as would be the case for any other graduate student) or fellowships.

- Upon re-entry to medical school, the Dean’s office picks up the tab for the final 1.5 - 2 years.

The Two Important Points:
1)  Getting a fellowship during the Ph.D. years is good. More on this later.

2) Your source of funding will sometimes split between multiple accounts. Please pay attention to e-mail messages from us that ask you to sign or fill out things. If you don’t, you could conceivably fall through the cracks and wind up having your paychecks delayed or losing health insurance coverage temporarily. We are pretty well organized and hopefully will catch all this. But your odds of having things go smoothly will increase greatly if you help us out by cooperating with the infrequent splurge of paperwork that needs your signature.

What You Need To Be Working On Now:

1) MSTP fellows may arrive at SBU the summer before they matriculate in medical school to undertake a research laboratory rotation, but this period is very short (typically ~ July 1 – Aug 5), so it is considered an informal rotation. This can, though, facilitate choosing a thesis laboratory by the time graduate school begins in year 3. 

2) If you want to do this, rotations can be set up with just a few days advance notice in most cases (but in some cases, especially with the more popular labs this may not work out). A month would be enough time to work things out for most labs. Please start by reviewing the graduate program faculty listings, and conferring with current students (who will be glad to be helpful), faculty, and the Director. Once you have a short list of faculty that you would potentially like to work with, contact the Director to discuss them (The Director will indicate the suitability / priority of the candidate labs and may decline to approve some faculty as appropriate rotation mentors due to financial or other concerns about their labs). You can then contact the faculty member to determine if their lab would be available for a rotation. Make sure to inform the researcher that you are an MSTP student and your salary (stipend) is covered by the program.

3) Students must do at least one of the two mandatory rotations at SBU (unless waived by the Director).  Only one rotation can be performed at CSHL. If a third or more rotations are needed, they should be performed at SBU.

4) The first formal rotation will be performed in the summer after year 1 of medical school, and the second after taking Step I. If need be, a third rotation can be performed in the summer of year 2. Again, note that lab rotations require approval from the MSTP Program Director.

  


There Are Several Ways To Look For Housing:

1) If you are interested in housing / roommates, or looking to sublet for the summer, please e-mail the SOM Admissions Office (somadmissions@stonybrookmedicine.edu). They put together a housing package in the beginning of June for the incoming medical class. The SOM PreOrientation is held on a Friday in early June, from 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM. This program can familiarize you further with the HSC and Medical Center complex, the curriculum, housing and financial aid, and will provide the opportunity to get to know your future classmates better and meet potential room/housemates. It is not required for MSTP students to attend, but if you will be in or near the area, please feel free to do so. Please note the MSTP program does not reimburse travel and hotel expenses for this event.

2) E-mail the MSTP <mstp_administrator@stonybrook.edu>  to ask for your name to be forwarded to the program students; many live in group houses and apartments and need to find new share-mates each summer, or would be open to forming a new shared living group.

2) If you would like to start looking for housing before the beginning of June, please click on the below link for on-campus housing information on graduate housing: http://studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/res/apartments.shtml.

3) Lastly, please click on the link for a listing of Stony Brook University Off Campus Housing: https://och.stonybrook.edu/

What You Need To Do Now:
Come to my office on your official start date to fill out your Fellowship / Stipend Appointment and Direct Deposit of Salary Form Package. You will need to provide a voided check for your Direct Deposit of Salary Form. For your health insurance enrollment, you will need to provide a copy of your birth certificate OR passport and a copy of your social security card, and marriage certificate (if applicable). These documents are required by the Department of Civil Service. All documents must be in English or an English translation.

Note from the Director - Keep in mind that despite our experience with the transition process, speed bumps are occasionally encountered. Rest assured, if you are one of the infrequent, mildly-inconvenienced individuals, that the problem will be fixed rapidly and all will work out in the end! Also keep in mind (very important) that the people working to fix the problem are not generally the cause of it - so a polite demeanor and a professional attitude would be your best way to encourage them to help you with the greatest degree of enthusiasm. Consider it on-the-job training for your future role as an academic physician in which you will supervise many individuals varying in intrinsic capability who regrettably but nonetheless irrevocably and impacably stand between you and your goals.

Dept. of Social Security Office
75 Oak Street
Patchogue, NY 11772

1-800-772-1213
Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

What’s Up Coming Soon:
Optional rotation will begin around July 1st, plus or minus some days through August 7th.   

Stipend Start Date:
Upon arrival. Incoming students cannot be appointed to the NIH Training Grant before the start of the new budge year (July 1st).  In some cases, we may be able to appoint students earlier using other funding sources; in others, July 1st will be the earliest possible date of appointment.  As needed, inquire for details.

There will be a week of MANDATORY medical school orientation that starts in the second week of August (for more information, please contact The Student Affairs Office at (631) 444-2341).

The first day of classes is in mid-August.


- As part of the orientation process, you will get a Stony Brook ID card by going to the Health Sciences Center, 3rd floor, Student ID Office and request a "Campus Card Application." The campus card can be used for all services on campus (e.g. library card, pass for student facilities, gym/lounge).

- Meal plans, if desired, can be obtained at the Student ID Office (minimum purchase, $50.00). The plan, which is detailed at the Student ID office, goes from June - May.

- Finally, for the HSC parking pass, only MD students with badges can use the Heath Sciences Center parking garage. To get a badge, fill out a "Student Campus Card and Badge Application" Form (can be obtained from the Student ID Office), bring it to me for authorized signature, and then back to the Student ID Office. The HSC garage is the only close one you can park in. The garage office hours are from 7:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. You will probably need to pay for your parking fee (~$23.00 / month) upfront, as per Student ID Office (x4-8151).

- MSTP students in the medical school component of the program are automatically enrolled in the clinical SHIP (the University Health Insurance (RSHIP) Coverage), and this will show up as a charge on your account when you register. To remove the charge, you will need to fill out a waiver on SOLAR stating that you will be receiving coverage through the Graduate POMCO-RF fellows Insurance. We provide insurance using that mechanism, and you should therefore not in parallel also have clinical SHIP Medical Student Health Insurance.

- The only way medical students can opt out of this coverage is if they have private, outside insurance, such as that provided by a parent or spouse. Such students in the medical school portion of the program must provide to the Office of Student Affairs proof of their outside insurance coverage (a copy of a valid insurance card).

Per the Student Health Insurance Office, please keep in mind you MUST check your SOLAR account several times at the START of each semester, read all messages, and take whatever actions are stated. There are no longer any paper bills! If you register for 12 or more credits in a semester, you will be billed for the required health insurance plan, and you will need to complete a waiver on SOLAR at the start of the academic year. Waivers are NOT automatic, and are not mailed in! Please print out and save the confirmation message you receive after you submit the waiver. Neither the MSTP Program nor the Dean's office can cover fees that should have been removed through the waiver process.

Please stay in touch and let me know what your plans are as they evolve - looking forward to having all of you here - best regards.

The below information applies to Incoming Out-of-State Student(s):

State Residency
: Stony Brook University is state supported. As such, tuition determination is dependent upon sufficient documentation of New York State residency. If your principal or permanent home has not been in New York State for a 12 month period immediately prior to the date you intend to enroll, you will be considered an out of state student for tuition purposes. It is imperative students change their documentation (drivers license, car registration, voter registration etc.), upon entering the university. At the end of your first year, please complete and submit an Application for New York State Residency for Tuition Billing Purposes. The application will require you to submit documented proof that you have been living in New York for a period of at least one year. This application must be completed in order to be considered for New York State resident tuition rates. To obtain the application, or for additional information regarding the application process, please visit: http://www.stonybrook.edu/bursar/residency. Please note Student Accounts Office cannot change your residency without an application, so please refer to the application by visiting the link.

Mail the application along with the supporting documentation, to:

Residency Applications
Student Accounts Office
254 Administration Building
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-1301

I will try to remind you of these things at the appropriate times. It is your responsibility to pay close attention to the due date and to follow-up on your State Residency Application. Please keep this e-mail readily available so that you can refer to it.

If nonetheless you do not apply for NYS Residency Status, and there is not some ultra compellingly good reason why, you will be asked to be responsible for the resulting tuition balance. Per Student Accounts, if a student decides not to change their documentation until later in the semester, they will not be considered a resident for the Spring term. The MSTP training grant covers only part of the tuition costs for each of you and we have to ask the Dean's office for the rest. We can not, in good conscience, ask them to cover out of state tuition payments that could have been changed over to in-state tuition through the Application for New York State Residency Status process.

Any students with questions regarding the residency policy should review the detailed information provided on the Bursar's website. Students with further specific questions regarding the residency policy should contact the Office of Student Accounts at (631) 632-2455.