Why are Students Dissatisfied with University Meal Plans?
September 10, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to change how meal plans are provided to students. Students are finding new meal plans challenging to swallow.
University dining halls and meal halls serve as shared places wherein university students gather to relax, laugh, and talk about the plans and classes for the week ahead. However, the past year has made the on-campus dining spaces look different altogether because COVID-19 restrictions have limited the number of diners in a shared room.
As per a recent college survey, most universities will be offering only a single meal plan at higher costs –expected to be paid by students in university residences.Dissatisfaction Amongst Students Regarding University Meal Plans
A majority of students surveyed in a recent study revealed that they were not satisfied with the university meal plans. While first-year students demonstrated some dissatisfaction, 69% of later-year students were dissatisfied.
Some of the common reasons for the dissatisfaction, as stated by students, included:
Mandated Dining Plans
Amidst the pandemic, most colleges mandated all students living on campus to have a strict meal plan due to COVID-19 restrictions. As the colleges were reverting to new quarantine rules due to the increasing outbreak of the virus on campuses, students are voicing concerns over the overall lack of flexibility regarding dedicated meal plans of the university campuses.
Leftover Meal Swipes
Most students on dedicated university dining services or plans – especially transfer and first-year students who are mandated to join a proper meal plan, have found that they are given leftover meal swipes at the semester’s end.
Dissatisfaction with the Meal Plan Costs
Some students also reported being discouraged from using college-centric meal plans due to cost and other factors. They say that dining halls remain unhealthy, and they use more Dining Dollars compared to meals.
Students at leading colleges revealed that the total cost of meal plans considers several charges for the entire year. These include the dining hall furniture, labor, overall maintenance, and special events like the Guest Chef nights and exclusive brunches.
Dining Hall Hours
Another major complaint regarding meal plans is the hour of the dining halls. Students find that the dining halls are not usually open when they want to eat. This is why most students post the first year do not opt for buying a dedicated college meal plan.