Changes to meal plans equalize costs for students

| Senior News Editor

All students living on campus will contribute equally to Washington University’s overhead costs through their meal plans starting next year.

The University is also changing the way it calculates overhead costs per plan.

The new on-campus meal plans will all have the same built-in overhead fee. The new overhead will be averaged over all of the plans, meaning that small meal plans will include a larger fee than in the past and large plans will include a smaller fee than before.

“The overhead on all five plans was, in essence, you had more overhead if you had a larger plan, which in the eyes of the committee was not fair so it discouraged people from buying an appropriately large plan,” said Paul Schimmele, assistant to the director of operations.

According to Schimmele, people often buy the smallest meal plan possible to avoid high overhead costs, and then run out of meal points early in the year.

Students say that the changes will not affect their choice when purchasing a meal plan.

Senior Tim Chuang still plans on buying a small meal plan, and buying additional campus card points if the need arises.

“I will still buy the smallest meal plan and add more points once I run out. Unless they incur extra fees for adding after meal points [have] expired, I’m not going to change anything,” said Chuang.

In the past, more expensive meal plans have included a greater fee than less expensive ones.

Schimmele said that these changes are taking place in order to equalize the overhead costs built into each meal plan.

Schimmele also said that in the past students have complained that it is not fair for these built-in overhead charges to move on a sliding scale, depending on the size of the meal plan.

The overhead from the meal plans pays for equipment, administrative costs, employee salaries and the debt on university properties including the Danforth University Center and the new South 40 dining facility.

In the past there have been five meal plans for on-campus students, an off-campus meal plan and a Greek-housing meal plan. This year there will be three on-campus meal plans, an on-campus apartment meal plan, an off-campus meal plan and a Greek-housing meal plan.

The three on-campus plans have been renamed Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Students who buy small plans are unhappy about this additional cost.

“No, I don’t agree with the new meal plan. Students have to pay extra money under this change, I don’t think students should pay more money,” sophomore David Randolph said.

The new meal plans were available on housing forms this spring.

With additional reporting by Wei-Yin Ko

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