Least expensive meal plan option to be dropped starting next school year

by Aretha Matsushima, Staff Writer

The freshmen resident 10 Meals plan, the lowest in cost of the four freshmen meal plans, will no longer be an option for students starting next fall.

San Diego State Dining Director Paul Melchior said SDSU Dining will be removing the 10 Meals plan due to the assessment of student feedback that they have received.

“We get a large amount of feedback that this plan was very restrictive and we know that students like flexibility,” Melchior said.

The 10 Meals plan originally allowed students to have two swipes per day at designated times – affording users $9.50 for the first part of the day and $12.60 for the second – with no weekend allowance. Similar to the Flex 5 and Flex 7 plans, money balances do not carry over to the next day, according to SDSU Dining’s webpage.

Melchior said the plan was restrictive in the fact that the full allowance of one swipe had to be spent entirely in one location.  

“As an example, for breakfast or lunch you could go to Starbucks if you wanted, but you would have to spend your entire allotment at Starbucks in that one swipe,” Melchior said. “With our flex plans and meals plus plan, you have a lot more flexibility on how you spend it each day.”

The Flex 5, Flex 7 and Meals Plus plans allow greater flexibility by offering a daily or semesterly allowance that can be spent in multiple swipes, according to SDSU Dining’s webpage. The Meals Plus plan even allots users 80 meals at The Garden or UTK, SDSU’s cafeteria-style eateries.

However, these additional amenities come with a cost. The cost difference between the 10 Meals plan and the Flex 5 plan for the 2018-2019 school year was a $360 increase for the year, according to SDSU Dining. Those who opted for the most expensive Meals Plus plan this year paid $1,384 more than those on the 10 Meals plan.

Melchior added the other three meal plan options will function the same next year aside from a few small adjustments..

The Flex 5 plan will increase from $24.00 to $25.25 on weekdays with no weekend allowance. The Flex 7 plan will increase from $22.20 to $23.50 on weekdays and $14.70 to $15.25 during the weekend. The Meals Plus Plan will increase its declining debit dollars from $1,425 to $1,786.50 per semester, but decrease the meal swipes for UTK or The Garden from 80 swipes to 60, according to an email from Melchior.

Computer science freshman Angie Garces said removing the 10 Meals plan is unhelpful to students who aren’t in a financial position to go for the more expensive plans.

“I think getting rid of the ten meal plan is really unfair because people who can’t afford the Flex 5 or other meal plans would be forced to spend more money which they don’t have,” Garces said.  

Liberal studies freshman Emily Tieu said she doesn’t have the 10 Meals plan, but she knows of a student who does and feels it limits their options for location choices.

“It’s a good idea to remove the plan because being limited to one location is hard for students to pick and choose,” Tieu said. “Also, when students who have the 10 Meals plan eat out with their friends, they can’t use the money somewhere else.”