In response to student criticism at forums held in February, Campus Auxiliary Services will introduce two off-campus meal plans and one “price lock” plan beginning in fall 2016. The new options include a $500 premium plan, a $150 trial plan and a $2,085 price lock plan, which guarantees students interested in having a meal plan for all four years one set price.
This brings the total number of off-campus meal plans to four; there are currently two in place: a $375 plan and a $250 express plan.
“We noticed that, a lot of times, students will purchase the off-campus plan—which is $375—and will increment it several times. There was a need for something to start off a little higher than that [as well as something lower than $250],” CAS Marketing Manager Becky Stewart ‘04 said. “We met as a team and developed the two new meal plans.”
These plans have been approved by the CAS Board of Directors and will be implemented next year. They are geared toward students as a whole, but were specially considered in regard to the needs of transfer students or those living off-campus for the first time—specifically with the $150 trial plan.
“We see this as being ideal for students who want to ‘try out’ an off-campus plan. It is minimal commitment, so more money can always be added on later if they decide it fits their lifestyle,” Stewart said. “This allows students to purchase a meal plan that is tax exempt and provides a discount on the pay-one-price meals—which is $3 less than paying out of pocket. That is significant savings right there.”
Junior Dayner Hackshaw—who currently uses campus cash—expressed interest in the availability of a smaller off-campus meal plan. “I would try the trial plan since I eat on campus more than I eat on Main Street,” she said. “If you’re going to pull out your debit card, you might as well sign up for it—especially with the tax exemption.”
Hackshaw noted that even though there are discounts available through these plans, the food is still expensive. “Students have to think strategically when off-campus … you’re not getting a lot of meals,” she said.
Protest CAS Facebook page administrator junior Kimberly Ward said she is pleased with the availability of more options and hopes that CAS will advertise all four next semester. “I like the $150 plan, since I tried the $250 one and it was too much,” she said. “$150 is a good amount for people who need a quick coffee or bagel once in a while.”
Although it does charge a fee if canceled, the price lock plan gives students an opportunity to ensure one annual price for a meal plan over their four years at Geneseo. Stewart and Assistant Director of Account and Finance Pam Connor stressed the importance of this plan with the goal to keep college affordable and financially consistent.
Ward questioned the plan’s efficiency, however, noting that “freshman don’t really know what they want to do for all four years. They could mature and potentially want to start cooking, [but may have the price lock plan].”
In addition to the new meal plans, those in place will face a change to the dollar amount allotted to “flex,” which can be used for campus vending machines. The $375 plan will automatically put $75 toward flex—instead of the usual $25—and the $250 off-campus express will allot flex $50.