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U. of Georgia to offer custom meal plans

Starting with the 2021-2022 academic year, the University of Georgia Dining Services will offer custom dining plans enabling students to choose the number of meal swipes and declining balance funds they receive. The parameters of the customizable dining plan will be based on students’ housing status, academic year, and how often they plan to eat in campus dining commons and retail dining locations.

According to a report from The Red & Black, students will leverage an online meal plan builder to designate the number of meal blocks and Paw Points — UGA’s declining balance tender — they receive. The announcement of the custom meal plan comes as the university returns to a normal campus dining experience.

Georgia Dining Services partnered with the university’s Student Government Association on the initiative.

“Students choose exactly how many swipes they need, how many Paw Points they need, and it’s also within their price range,” says Bryson Henriott, the SGA deputy chief of staff. “It really hit me that probably a lot of students were in this situation. They just wanted more flexibility and affordability when it came to purchasing a meal plan, especially for those students who were not first years living on campus.”

UGA Dining Services launched a pilot, 180 meal block plan during the 2020-2021 academic year to test the viability of a customizable meal plan. Deemed a success among students, UGA Dining Services added the pilot offering as a new meal plan option and expanded its features to existing dining plans.

Meal plans at UGA are now offered as customizable 5-day or 7-day “All-Access” plans, “Commuter” plans and “Upper-Level Student” plans. The 5-day and 7-day All-Access meal plans are available to all students and provide unlimited access to dining commons.

On the declining balance front, students can choose to receive between 0-250 Paw Points per semester, rather than having to choose an option with Paw Points upon the initial meal plan purchase.

The aptly names Commuter Block plan is available for students living off-campus. The plan allows students to choose between 65-125 meal blocks and 200-650 Paw Points.

The Upper-Level Student meal plan is available for upper-level students only, living on or off campus. This plan offers a choice between 140-180 blocks and 0-300 Paw Points per semester.

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