The University of Alberta is mulling a new, all-you-can-eat meal plan structure that will see students eating mainly in the university’s on campus residential dining halls.
Per a report from The Gateway, Alberta’s Board Property and Finance Committee approved the new meal plan this week with the motion now set to go before the Board of Governors for final approval.
Currently, Alberta students are given the choice between paying $3,873 or $4,554 for a declining balance meal plan. This plan structure enables students to spend meal plan dollars at a variety of vendors around campus, using the funds in much the same way as a debit card.
In the committee meeting, the university’s vice president of Facilities and Operations reported that Alberta’s Ancillary Services — the campus department that operates meal plans — has been running a deficit for more than four years. This problem is compounded by the fact that the Ancillary Services can’t draw from sources like tuition or government endowments to balance its budget. University officials say it’s for this reason, in part, that the new meal plan will steer students toward university-run eateries.
The proposed plan has two levels, at $4,650 or $4,825 for the year, with each tier including the familiar $300 and $400 in “flex dollars” respectively, to be spent across campus. The rest of the plan will have to be used in the university’s Lister cafeteria.
Keeping students eating mainly in on-campus dining facilities is expected to provide Alberta’s Ancillary Operations with more predictability in its bottom line. University officials say this will also help to establish an improvement fund that will both cover renovation costs at food locations on campus and improve overall quality of service.