Dr. Samuel Stanley came to LIMBA to share his thoughts on what is happening at Stony Brook University and what the future looks like.
Stony Brook University has an annual budget of $2.7 billion. A major part of that is healthcare, which is $1 billion. The university’s extensive medical practice comprises of $500-600 million of that budget.
The university’s economic impact on the region is $5.5 billion. Stony Brook is the largest, single- site employer of Long Island, with 14,000 employees on its main campus alone. It also added 1,500 more employees when it took over Southampton Hospital.
There are currently 27,000 students who attend Stony Brook. Dr. Stanley pointed out that the university is becoming more competitive academically; last year, the university received 38,000 applications for 3,300 slots. Of the student body, 1,500 are transfer students, mostly from Suffolk County Community College. In addition, Stony Brook is accepting more New York State residents than it has in the past, and is accepting more international students as well.
Dr. Stanley said Stony Brook has been able to increase enrollment while maintaining quality of education. In the last five years, the on-time graduation rate increased from 40% to 60%. The retention rate has also remained high.
He also said that Stony Brook is a nationally recognized when it comes to quality and value. Forbes ranked Stony Brook No. 25 among STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) based universities, and 18th among all public universities nationwide. Money magazine ranked Stony Brook No. 22 in value.
Many of the students receive financial aid. According to Dr. Stanley, 46% attend the university tuition-free as the result of Pell Grants, Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Excelsior program, and one-third of the students are eligible for a Pell Grant. When asked if most of the students are taking advantage of the Excelsior program, Dr. Stanley said that 850 students are in the state-run tuition-free program; he added the number is so small because there are other forms of financial aid that students can qualify for.
With the growing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) among current and graduating high school students, Stony Brook has seen a 70% increase in enrollment of its engineering program. However, because there is not enough classroom space in its engineering buildings, many qualified applicants are turned away. To expand its program, the university is undertaking a $100 million project to construct a facility that will house more of its engineering department.
Dr. Stanley said the major focus points for the university are research and medicine. In the research department, he said Stony Brook is putting an emphasis on generating knowledge. This, in turn, brings money to Long Island through National Institutes of Health grants. He added the university has attracted top academic talent in its assistance. Eight faculty members have been awarded by major federal agencies.
Stony Brook is looking to modernize its buildings for its medical department. This includes the construction of a medical research and translation building featuring classrooms and a state-of- the-art cancer center, as well as the first stand alone children’s hospital, in which each child gets their own room and beds for the parents to stay with their children overnight.
In looking to expand its medical and scientific research, Dr. Stanley said he is reaching out to form partnerships and collaborations with other Long Island institutions – including Northwell Health, the Feinstein Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Dr. Stanley did not want to finish without mentioning its athletic program. He pointed out that the Seawolves are the only Division I football team on Long Island; last year, the team finished 10-3 and went to the FCS. This past spring, the women’s lacrosse team was ranked No. 1 in the country. Dr. Stanley predicted they will be named champions of the 2019 season.