Dining Plan costs increase over the last five years

Alex Delaney-Gesing

For Kent State students, venturing to one of the more than 20 food establishments on campus is often the easiest and fastest way to feed their grumbling stomachs in-between class schedules. Purchasing any of the four dining plan options available gives them the accessibility to choose what and where they eat.

Since 2012, the dining plan cost has increased every year, including the current semester. The Basic Plan, for instance, increased $10 this year, but increased $70 each year since the 2012-2013 school year.

“The price increases (of dining plans at Kent State) are reflective of inflation and annual cost increases including food and labor,” said Richard Roldan, resident district manager of Kent State’s Dining Services. “We use the annual Consumer Price Index as a good benchmark.”

The United States’ inflation rates have risen an average of 4 percent since 2012, according to data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics using the CPI.

Each of the four dining plan options — the Lite Plan, Basic Plan, Premier Plan and the Premier Plus Plan — available for students living on campus has seen a significant increase in cost.

The cheapest plan available, the Lite Plan, clocks in at $1,820. It’s geared toward students who have light appetites and spend a number of weekends off campus during the semester, according to the Kent State Dining Services website.

To keep students on track throughout the semester, a breakdown is provided on how they should budget their dollars: $113.75 per week, equaling $16.25 spent on a given day.

Freshman chemistry major Arnelle Toffey said she got the Lite Plan this semester not necessarily due to it being the cheapest option, but for health reasons.

“My thinking was that if I got less money to spend, then I’d be eating less food and be able to lose weight,” she said. “ It’s been pretty successful so far.”

Within the last five school years, the Lite Plan has seen a 12.7 percent increase in cost — the largest hike out of all four dining plans for students living on campus, according to Dining Services data provided by Roldan.

Toffey said that for the amount of food she receives from various locations around campus, prices aren’t unreasonable.

“It’s not too bad. I don’t think I’ll have a lot of money (left over at the end of the semester),” she said, “but probably just a little.”

Senior fashion merchandising major PeAndra Allen, however,  said she usually has extra money from the Basic Plan left at the end of the semester.

“I had a little bit left over in the spring, so I just splurged and bought a lot at the end,” she said.  “But right now I’m right on budget.”

The Basic Plan price has risen 12.5 percent, from $1,760 to $1,980, since the 2012-2013 school year.

The university lays out a plan for students to budget their dollars accordingly, with $123.75 allotted per week, $17.69 per day.

Despite the price increase, Allen said she’ll likely continue to select the Basic Plan.

“I think I’d still go for it, even if it does increase,” she said, “just because I’d rather not be starving the whole semester.”

Alex is a senior reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her [email protected]