The Rockefeller University Housing Lottery

Rules and Procedures

Overview of the Student Housing Lottery

The objective of the student housing lottery is to allocate housing to students equitably based on seniority. These lottery rules have been approved by and are subject to change resulting from discussions between the Housing Department, Student Representative Council (SRC), and the Dean's Office. If there are questions regarding lottery policies, please contact Joe Alonzo, email:, phone: (212) 327-7544.

The lottery timeline is as follows:

    April/May - Students register for the lottery rounds in which they would like to participate.
    May/June - Lottery rounds and apartment selections occur. The in-person apartment viewing schedule will be shared with all registered participants via email. Apartment floor plans, when available, are posted on lottery site. Students participating in 2023 RU Student Lottery will be eligible for two offers, if you decline both offers, you will be placed on the wait list. Offers are valid for 24 hours. If you do not respond with-in 24 hours, you lose the offer. Moves must be completed within a reasonable time.

Student Housing Lottery Mechanics

The lottery is administered via the student housing lottery website:

All students who plan to participate in the lottery are strongly encouraged to read the policies and procedures before they register for the lottery. Students must register on the lottery website in order to participate in the lottery. Registration for the lottery will only be possible once the lottery has commenced. Students may use any email account when registering (i.e. rockefeller, gmail, yahoo, etc.), but must have access to this email account throughout the lottery because this email will be the only means for receiving important information about the lottery (i.e. when a lottery round has begun, apartment ranking deadlines, apartment offers/refusals and their deadlines, additional information pertaining to specific lottery rounds, etc.). Also note that the registration information which is submitted will be checked for accuracy and will be changed if any incorrect information is submitted.

Once registered, the "Home" page allows you to sign-up for various lottery rounds, view which lottery rounds are set to begin ("Pending"), view lottery rounds that have begun ("Live"), and also view which apartments are available to be selected ("View Rankings" under the "Lottery Rankings for 20--") once the lottery round has gone "Live." Once a lottery round has gone "Live," students will be able to rank the available apartments and also indicate apartments that they are not interested in. Rudimentary floor plans are also available on the website, giving basic information on the apartment size and the direction the apartment faces. Please note that once rankings are submitted they are final and that the deadlines for accepting and refusing apartments will be strictly enforced.

Students can sign-up for as many lottery rounds as they would like to participate in during the lottery once they are registered. Please note that students must have children to register for the "jumbo 1BR" lottery round and must indicate your roommate(s) to complete the sign-up for the "two- and three-bedroom" lottery rounds. Once an apartment is selected in an earlier round a student will not be able to participate in any later lottery rounds.

The available apartments list is subject to change from year to year, depending upon the needs and resources of the University. Students are not required to enter the lottery each year. If a student does not wish to choose a new apartment, their current apartment can be retained unless it is a two-bedroom apartment with only one roommate staying on (or a three-bedroom apartment with only one or two roommates staying on). Housing rules allow the remaining roommate(s) to identify other Rockefeller University student(s) as roommate(s), but require that the two-bedroom or three-bedroom apartment be released into the housing pool if roommate(s) (i.e. Rockefeller University student(s)) are not found to fill all bedrooms.

The lottery process is based upon seniority and the availability of the apartments the University can provide. Each student accumulates one point for every year in the program at Rockefeller University. The seniority points for students in the MD/PhD program, Training Program in Chemical Biology (TPCB), Training Program in Computational Biology & Medicine (CBM) and transfer students are detailed in the "Other Policies" section. Students who wish to share a two- or three-bedroom apartment will use the seniority points of the highest-ranking student for calculation of placement in the lottery.

Only during the selection process can students indicate "Not Interested" on their apartment rankings for any apartment(s) which they are not interested in being offered during the initial selection phase. An indication of "Not Interested" will not count as a refusal and the student will remain on the waitlist for that particular lottery round.

"Not Interested" is not an option during the waitlist phase. Apartments will be offered to each student on the waitlist in the order that they appear on the waitlist. If a student on the waitlist refuses 2 apartment offers, the student will be moved to the bottom of the waitlist.

Please note that all apartment selections are final.

Following the selection of an apartment, students should submit furniture requests to Marnel Herbert. Furniture will be moved in as part of the move-in process. The Housing Department will confirm move-in dates for selected apartments. Move-ins for apartments selected through the lottery occur during the period from late June through July.

Once a student selects an apartment, the selector's apartment joins the pool of available apartments. Students will be asked to show their apartment to any interested students.

Order of Housing Lottery Rounds

The lottery rounds for various types of apartments are conducted in the following sequence:
  1. Jumbo one-bedroom apartments for students with children
  2. One-bedroom apartments
  3. Two-bedroom apartments in GSR, Faculty House, and Lyden House
  4. Three-bedroom apartments in Faculty House
  5. Studios with kitchenettes
Additional Information on Allocation of Available Apartments

While allocation of the available apartments during the lottery is generally based on seniority, some of the apartment types have other information that must be considered before you enter the lottery round for that apartment type.

Jumbo one-bedroom apartments for students with children

There are five (5) jumbo one-bedroom apartments, designated by the Housing Department, that are utilized for housing students with children. A separate lottery list is maintained for these apartments. Students with children are given priority for these apartments. Ranking within this list is dependent on the seniority of the student as well as the number of children and their ages. Ranking is determined by (1) number of children, (2) age of child/children, and (3) years of seniority. Since children of different ages have varying needs for space, children 24 months and under will receive one personal space point, while those children older than 24 months will receive two personal space points. Students who are expecting a child when this lottery round begins are also eligible for the jumbo one-bedroom lottery.

If a student or their spouse/domestic partner becomes pregnant after the jumbo one-bedroom lottery round has finished, the student will either 1) be first in the general one-bedroom lottery round, if that lottery round is progress, or 2) be placed at the top of the waitlist for one-bedroom apartments. If no apartment becomes available by the 6th month of pregnancy and a student without children occupies a jumbo apartment, Section 30 of the University lease will be exercised. Section 30 of the University lease states: "Upon not less than sixty (60) days notice to Tenant, Landlord shall have the right to relocate Tenant to another apartment in a building used by Landlord for housing in furtherance of the University's needs ('Substitute Apartment') and terminate this Lease. Landlord and Tenant shall enter into a lease for the Substitute Apartment for the balance of the unexpired term under this Lease or under any renewal lease upon substantially the same terms and conditions set forth in this Lease and at a rental that is in accordance with Landlord's rental schedule for the Substitute Apartment. Students who are relocated by the Housing Department pursuant to Section 30 will not need to enter the housing lottery; they will be assigned another one-bedroom apartment.

Any jumbos left vacant after the lottery round will be placed into the general one-bedroom apartment pool

One-bedroom apartments

All one-bedroom lottery selections are based on seniority (except for the separate lottery for students with children described above) and the point allocations detailed in the "Student Housing Lottery Mechanics" section.

Two- and three-bedroom apartments

Only a pair or trio of students may hold a two- or three-bedroom apartment respectively. Students who wish to share a two- or three-bedroom apartment will use the seniority points of the highest-ranking student for calculation of placement in the lottery.

If a student moves out of a shared apartment, then the right of the remaining student to the apartment ends unless he or she finds another roommate (i.e., a Rockefeller University student) within one month. If no roommate can be found, and there are student pairs or trios on the waiting list for a two- or three-bedroom apartment, the student(s) will need to vacate the two- or three-bedroom apartment and relocate to a suitable apartment. In the event there are no waiting pairs or trios, the student may remain in the apartment alone, but the Housing Department reserves the right to assign another student to that vacancy.

Other Policies


Students must wait until the previous tenant has vacated the apartment before moving in. Harassment of the vacating tenant will not be tolerated.

Harassment can take many forms, including repeated inquiries concerning departure dates by email, telephone, etc. All cases will be judged by a joint meeting of the Housing Department and the SRC.

A first offense will result in a written warning. A second offense will result in the immediate loss of both the offender's selection and rank on lottery lists for that year. At this point, offenders go to the bottom of the lottery list.

Students seeking information regarding the date that that their selected apartment will be available for move-in should contact Marnel Herbert.

MD/PhD Students

Effective 2016:
  • MD-PhD students will receive seniority points equal to their years in the program minus 2. Sixth year MD-PhD students entering the Rockefeller lottery for the first time will receive 4 seniority points.

TPCB and CBM Students

Second-year TPCB and CBM students will receive 2 seniority points upon entering the lottery for the first time.

Transfer Students

The Deans Office will determine seniority points for transfer students.

Visiting Students

Visiting students are ineligible for participation in the lottery, with the exception of visiting students moving to Rockefeller with new Heads of Lab.