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Chartwells adjusts meal plan
Last year when students ran out of meal plan money they had to scrounge up the extra cash to add onto their account, but this year may be different.
Chartwells increased the amount of money on the meal plan and will give Bobcat Bonus Bucks to students who add additional money onto their account.
“I know that part of that decision was to make sure students had enough to get through the semester and to help out with some of those problems we were seeing at the end of the semester where students were running out,” Manager of Card Services Deric Waite said.
Students who add $400 to their account will receive a $50 bonus with this new plus plan, according to Chartwells’ website. Students, faculty and staff can also add $100 to their meal plans throughout the semester and get a $10 bonus as part of the Kitten Plan.
Students on the Bobcat dining plan have $1,400 to spend in the dining halls this semester, up from $1,200 a semester last academic year, while students on the Boomer Dining Plan have $1,000 instead of $850. The Bobcat dining plan is for freshmen and students without kitchens in their residence halls, while the Boomer dining plan is for students with kitchens.
Prices on some select items also increased, Waite said. For example, ocean spray juice costs $2.69 instead of $2.59 and bottled milk costs $2.25 instead of $2.07.
Sophomore Paul Dean ran out of meal plan money last year and had to ask his parents to add money onto his account. He said he is happy with Chartwells’ new plus plan.
“It’s great that they’re going to give us more money if we put more money into it,” he said.
Junior Maddie Eldredge lives on York Hill and said she rather would have paid the $850 on her tuition bill for her meal plan instead of $1,000. She said she has always stayed on budget with her meal plan money.
“We have a kitchen now so I would have rather used that money toward grocery shopping,” Eldredge said.
Yet, freshman Emma Pickering said she is glad to have $1,400 on her meal plan instead of $1,200.
“I would rather have more money [on my meal plan,]” Pickering said. “You don’t have to worry about it so much. I have some friends who are upperclassmen. Especially the guys, they used to run out. I’m sure they’re still going to run out.”
A student spends $6.64 on average each time he or she goes through the dining hall, according to Chartwells’ website. Chartwells multiplied this average by two meals a day for 105 days to determine how much money students should receive on the Bobcat dining plan.
The meal plan is not meant to serve students for three meals a day, seven days a week, Waite said.
“There’s a missed meal factor,” Waite said. “We understand that students are going to go out to eat occasionally, they’re going to go home for a weekend here or there and miss meals.”
Dean said he would rather have an all-you-can-eat meal plan, instead of an a la carte meal plan.
“I think it’s definitely much more expensive, as opposed to where I’ve visited other schools where my friends were,” he said. “You can eat whatever you want, you just swipe in.”
Yet, Waite said all-you-can-eat options are not fair for students who do not eat as much in the dining hall.
“Even in a perfect world usually what ends up happening in these types of scenarios is that people who don’t eat as much tend to subsidize those who eat more,” he said. “It’s all one price for a meal and someone who only eats a little bit is paying a lot more for that little bit. And someone who eats a lot is paying a lot less for all they are getting.”
The a la carte system also teaches students how to live on a budget, Waite said.
“It’s one more way that college helps students learn real-world skills,” he said. “Making sure they can have that money stretch, it’s a life skill that it’s important to learn.”