Students who think they’ll be saving money by switching to the new Flex 7 meal plan will actually be doing the opposite.
Students were emailed last month about the new plan, which will be offered for the first time next semester. It costs the same as the current Flex 12 plan, but it has fewer weekly swipes to Market Square and more Campus Cash and Frog Bucks.
But the additional Campus Cash and Frog Bucks don’t come close to matching the amount of money lost in Market Square swipes.
“The difference is actually more than I thought it was,” said Craig Allen, director of Housing & Residence Life, in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I was either way off on my math or I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Both Flex 7 and Flex 12 cost $1,950 per semester. On the Flex 7 plan, students would receive seven swipes per week to Market Square, rather than 12 on the latter plan. In exchange, Flex 7 users receive $425 in Campus Cash and $150 in Frog Bucks, compared to $250 and $125 respectively on the Flex 12.
The door price for lunch or dinner at Market Square is listed at $9.20, including tax.
For a 17-week semester, the Flex 12 plan actually has $782 more worth of Market Square swipes than the Flex 7 plan.
But the Flex 7 plan only gives students $200 more in Campus Cash and Frog Bucks, meaning students actually lose $582 by switching to the new plan.
“Honestly, we may have to tweak it,” Allen said.
As is, the Flex 7 meal plan would not cover students’ meal costs for the semester. Each meal outside of Market Square would have to cost less than $5 for the plan to cover all meals during the semester.
That equation doesn’t even consider breakfast.
“For the student who really wants to eat a full-blown meal – burger, fries and a drink and maybe a dessert – you’re not going to be able to live off that [the Flex 7] plan,” Allen said. “You’re going to end up spending money off campus or somewhere.”
Allen said the Flex 7 plan is meant to appeal to students who don’t use Market Square often.
“It’s designed to be for the student who doesn’t necessarily want to eat all their meals on campus,” Allen said.
But he said offering the Frog Pass Limited 50 meal plan ($815 cost, 50 swipes to Market Square, $225 Campus Cash, $150 Frog Bucks) to all students is not an option. It is offered only to upper-level students living in the Grand Marc apartment complex, Tom Brown/Pete Wright and off-campus students.
“If we made that plan [the Limited 50] available to more people, what we’d really have to do is raise the upper end of plans,” Allen said.
Allen said Housing & Residence Life could address the Flex 7 issue by adding more Campus Cash to the plan or lowering the plan’s price.
“I think I’m going to have to make a change because that’s off by a lot more than I thought it was,” Allen said.