Many freshmen living away from home for the first time are left to salvage for their own food in this new arena of college life. In accordance with this new arrangement they have with San Diego State Dining Services, aka the meal plan, freshmen come to SDSU prepared to spend and budget their money.
This year, SDSU Dining Services is offering all residence hall students four meal plan options: Meals Plus Plan, 10 Meal Plan, Flex 7 Plan and Flex 5 Plan.
The Meals Plus Plan is the most plentiful plan for freshmen. With a $1,200 declining balance and 80 meals at Cuicacalli Suites Dining Room, students have an abundance of food options.
Business marketing junior Trevor Wells reflects on the bountiful amount of food provided by his Meals Plus Plan. “I had the fat-kid plan and it honestly gave you the most absurd amount of food; more food than anyone could ever need,” Wells said.
The fact that this meal option is known as the fat-kid plan is slowly becoming its downfall.
Although some students originally considered such an enormous amount of food an advantage, as the year progressed, they soon realize their money was being wasted.
“I didn’t even end up using most of my Cuic meals. In the long run, I wasted a lot of money,” Wells said. “But, the good thing about this plan is that there is no way that you could ever run out of food.”
So what should students do with all the extra money? Wells believes sharing the wealth is the best approach, “Buy food for your friends. It is the only way you could ever use that much money.”
While the Meals Plus Plan is a bit of an overload, the meal plan with undoubtedly the most restrictions is the 10 Meal Plan. Guaranteeing 10 meals a week, this plan attempts to structure student spending by enforcing time and place restrictions. Many students have come to complain that the most difficult aspect of this plan is attempting to spend all the money in one place.
However, unlike the rigid 10 Meal Plan, the Flex Plans let students decide when and where to spend their money throughout the day. With the Flex 7 Plan, students are allotted $18.20 on the weekdays and $12.50 on the weekends.
“I enjoyed Flex 7, except I felt like I was wasting money,” said Environmental studies junior Kayle Aposporos
The concern of wasting money is a common issue among students, who, looking back on their freshmen year meal plan, do not feel satisfied.
“I didn’t always need the $18.75, and then the money would justgo to waste,” Aposporos said. “A better idea would be for the money to carry over to the next day, or to receive the money back at the end of the year.”
Regardless of whether or not the meal plan technicalities change, there are always ways students can relieve these irritations. Aposporos suggests to, “Spend your money before 10 p.m. or else the line is going to be really long at the market.”
The Flex 5 Plan, similar to the Flex 7, gives students flexibility to eat throughout the day. However, it gives students $19.75 on weekdays and receive no weekend spending money.
Business marketing sophomore Brandi Beutler saw this as a blessing. “I thought this meal plan would work out really well, because I thought it would give me the opportunity to eat out on the weekends and experience San Diego.”
Although this did allow for weekend excursions, Aposporos says money still seemed to go unspent. “I did not like it in the long run,” Beutler said. “I didn’t use the full amount of money and it didn’t carry over to the next day,”Numerous student concers allude to one key question: Is the meal plan is yet another way for the educational system to profit off students? “State shouldn’t do that. Your educational system shouldn’t do that. The school should not be making profit off your meal plan,” Beutler said.
While the concern of wasting money is a paramount issue for students, many will agree that spending wisely and stocking up on food are two core ways to balance the meal plan budget.