November 25, 2014
Meal Plan Dysfunction Baylor University offers it’s students meal plan options for on campus dining. While the campus’s cafeteria food seems up to the standards of most of those who get asked, the availability of meal plan options and customization is limited. Students who can easily afford Baylor’s high price have little to worry about considering the upper tier pricing options, and have no need for there to be much thought put into the diversification of the meal plans. That said those who are budgeting every penny just to be able to afford attendance at such an expensive school find the limited options frustrating. Baylor should offer a more customizable meal plan option for its less affluent student populace. To ensure every new student is fed, it is an unarguable requirement for Baylor’s freshmen to purchase a meal plan for their first year while living on campus. This requirement makes sense considering that freshman may or may not be inclined to consider such things as budgeting for food with a long-term mindset. After freshman year, purchasing a meal plan is completely up to the student. The meal plan options however are limited to all those who have to, or are interested in, purchasing a meal plan.
Finding the right meal plan is incredibly tricky. There are nine options for meal plans on campus this year and rumor has it that next year these options will be shrunk down to only three! The meal plans consist of an upper tier option hitting close to $3,000.00 and go as low as $730.00. The problem with these plans is the availability of options within each plan. Students must choose what plan they desire at the beginning of each semester without much customization options within each plan. For example, students who want more flexibility on where they can eat would have to think hard on the options available to them. If a student were to over purchase on a plan that heavily uses passes to a cafeteria, they may be left high and dry when it comes to eating off campus or outside of the cafeterias. Likewise it would be wasting money on the days when their cafeteria passes were not used. If a student under anticipates his need for cafeteria money he may be forced to find more affordable food options off campus; this can be near impossible for first year students who cannot afford to bring a viable mode of transportation. Considering the idea that the meal plans will be condensed to three raises even more questions for me considering the problems that already exist with the lack of options and customization. That said, maybe next years options will prove to be more affordable; unfortunately we will not know for sure until the changes are officially published.
Therefore, I propose that meal plans should have a minimum deductible of $700 semester long, which would include cafeteria passes and dining dollars attached. Once this $700 worth of food is purchased students add to their end-semester’s food…