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Penn State restructures meal plan

Andrew Hudson   ||   Dec 16, 2016  ||   

Penn State is prepping for changes to its meal plan for the fall 2017 semester that will consolidate six meal plan options down to just three. The new, streamlined structure is intended to simplify the meal plan selection process and better reflect students' weekly eating habits.

According to an official university release, the Campus Meal Plan is comprised of two components: a base cost and dining dollars. The base cost functions as a plan membership fee and carries the same dollar amount across all three levels. The base cost covers the fixed costs of operating residential dining facilities on all Penn State campuses — including maintenance, labor and utilities. Dining dollars, meanwhile are used to make purchases on campus and are available as a declining balance account.

Because the base cost is paid up front, students with a Campus Meal Plan receive a 65% discount on cash prices at all-you-care-to-eat dining locations on campus, a 65% discount on prepared items at a la carte residential dining locations, and a 10% discount on prepared items at retail dining locations. There are no discounts on pre-packaged items or at national chains.

The three levels of Penn State's new meal plan will offer an increasing amount of dining dollars and include:

Level 1: 7-10 meals per week
Level 2: 12-14 meals per week
Level 3: 16-19 meals per week

The meal counts are estimated, as the actual number of meals purchased by each student varies, while costs incurred will depend upon what the student purchases and the location of the purchase.

The meal plan level can be modified at any time during the semester until the last day of classes to ensure students have enough dining dollars available to make purchases. Leftover dining dollars from the fall semesters will carry over to the spring semesters, while any remaining dining dollars will be forfeited at the end of each spring semester.

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