Near the end of last semester, the university announced a change in the meal plan system options. Freshmen and sophomores no longer have a limited number of meals per week available to them, but unlimited access to The Bean for either five or seven days a week. The All Access 7 comes with $200 in Bean Bucks while the five-day option is partnered with $400 Bean Bucks.
Complaints have surfaced from students regarding the new options. Unlimited access is convenient, but many students don’t have the time, ability, or appetite to take full advantage of the $2,328 spent on either All Access plan.
Last year, the biggest complaint was that the 10, 15, or 21 meals per week couldn’t roll over to the next week. Use ’em or lose ’em.
The university did institute rollover for Bean Bucks. Any Bean Bucks not used at the end of fall semester roll over to spring semester, but not after that.
Prior to this semester, meal plans could be used at any other dining locations on campus. However, the value of those meals available with a card swipe didn’t match the per-meal price of the meal plan. Real dollars were sacrificed for the convenience and variety of the Bagel Wagon in Admin or the Fatted Café in Bible.
Those days are gone. Now it’s either meal plan at the Bean or Bean Bucks anywhere else.
Juniors and seniors are able to purchase Lifestyle or Freestyle plans that are much cheaper than the All Access options. For $1,245, upperclassmen get 120 meals in the Bean and $275 Bean Bucks with the Lifestyle 120. The Lifestyle 90 contains 90 meals and $500 Bean Bucks. Freestyle plans are exclusively composed of Bean Bucks.
The university listened to students’ complaints and requests to come up with the current services available. Some students are realizing the grass isn’t always greener.
Freshmen and sophomores are required to have an All Access plan. Many requests to downgrade to a Lifestyle plan have been submitted.
ACU should offer both the unlimited plan and a set-number-of-meals-available-per-week for freshmen and sophomores.
Accessibility and convenience is the name of the game. If a student is able to go to the Bean enough to take advantage of the unlimited plan, then this is a good plan for him or her. But the student who isn’t on campus as often and prefers the convenience of Chick-fil-A or Starbucks should have the option of using a limited number of meals on such dining options.
The different meal plan services meet the needs of different students. Students should have the ability to choose the one that best meets their lifestyle and budget.