Our View: University meal plan encourages wasteful spending

DKS Editorial Board

The meal plans on campus force students into purchasing high-priced food items without a second thought. A box of Cheerios costs $4.99 on campus. Most students probably don’t have a clue how much the box of cereal they are buying costs anyway because many of the food items sold on campus aren’t clearly labeled with a price.

This week at Acme, Cheerios are priced at three boxes for $10 for Acme cardholders. A significantly lower price, but instead of shopping for the best deals, most students swipe their FlashCards at the on-campus markets without even knowing the price. And why shouldn’t they? They (or their parents) have already paid for it with a meal plan that they have to use up or they will lose the money they put on it.

Essentially, the University makes money off of students by forcing hem into paying for a plan while simultaneously teaching irresponsible spending habits. Why is it the responsibility of the university to control where students buy food, and how much they have to spend over the semester or school year? That being said, why does the state government allow students to be taken advantage of?

Yes, it is convenient to buy food on campus, especially for freshmen that may not have a car that is easily accessible. But shouldn’t they at least have the option of shopping around, rather than being locked in to spend a certain amount of money for the semester?

The meal plan set up at Kent State is definitely better than those at some other universities, but it’s far from perfect. At least there are an abundance of options. It’s much better than getting a meal ticket to a cafeteria-style slop line.

Still, why is it not optional? Students living on campus must purchase a Kent State dining plan. Even the lite plan is about $40 a week, which may seem like a very small amount, but if you’ve ever seen an episode of “Extreme Couponing” you know that $40 can go a long way at the supermarket.

Shouldn’t students be able to budget money how they see fit and shop around? Not everyone wants to drop $5 on a box of Cheerios.

The above editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.