It is the end of the semester, and once again Lehigh Dining has begun the process of extorting money from the student body. Instead of turning Water into Wine, Dining Services has begun turning Meal Plan meals into dust.
Take the 225 block meal plan, a favorite of Freshmen. It costs $2,230 and comes with 225 meals and $50 dining dollars. This breaks down to $2180, or $9.68 per meal. However, when using meal plan meals as cash equivalencies, a student is only given $4.25 credit. While this is understandable because both dining halls and other establishments overlap and as a result are inefficient, the loss of $5 in equity per meal is enormous, and is essentially plundering the pockets of unknowing freshmen. The exchange rate only worsens when one examines smaller meal plans, such as the 75 meal plan, which costs $12.67 per meal. The irony here is a Dinner at the dining hall costs only $12.25, meaning buying a meal plan includes a convenience charge of 42 cents.
|# of Meals||Cost ($)||Dining Dollars||Cost per Meal ($)|
However, the real issue is how the University handles unused meals; extorting students more than they already do.
Turning to a case-study of Lehigh’s Dining Dilemma, A case of Gatorade is $43.99. (24 bottles, 20 oz.) A quick Google search reveals a case at Staploes for $25, and Warehouse retailer Sam’s Club sells a case for $15. Even adding in the $35 for a membership to Sam’s Club, it is still cheaper than buying from Dining Services.
Aquafina Water is even more egregious than Gatorade; $30.99 off the truck, and $4.88 at Sam’s Club.
While the examples go on and on, it is simply ridiculous to extort students by cashing in on their leftover dining dollars. If anything, students should be given cash back equal to half of the value of unused meals.