Something that used to differentiate senior year for students here at Goshen was the excitement of living off campus or taking on the challenge of cooking all of their own meals. These privileges are being revoked starting with the class of 2024, leaving next year’s seniors with a much higher bill awaiting them.For the past several years, most seniors have been granted the “senior discount”: 30% off room and board and the ability to opt out of a meal plan. This year, the plan was renamed the “bridge discount” — something that ResLife put a lot of emphasis on, in spite of the fact that almost no current students qualify for this discount for the coming school year.
Being required to have a meal plan was a frustrating change for me, so I decided to do some research into the proposed ‘value’ of meal plans. Surprise, surprise: they’re a bad value pretty much no matter what you compare them to. Let’s break it down:
The unlimited plan costs $2,555 and values meals at $7.51 per meal, in the best case scenario (three meals a day, seven days a week, all sixteen weeks of the semester).
The 65-block plan, standard for juniors and seniors, costs $1,050 and values meals at $14.31 each.
The 30-block plan, now only available to commuters, costs $465 and values meals at $11.67 each.
Pretty bad, right? But even worse, AVI publishes the “costs” of their meals in terms of both munch money and cash, so there’s a direct comparison. A dinner (the most expensive meal) purchased with munch money will run you $8.35, or $11.74 with cash — making the 65-block meal plan an objectively bad deal compared to buying each meal individually, and the 30-block doesn’t fare much better.
We aren’t the first students faced with this problem: a Record opinion article from 2009 also complained about meal plan prices, but their meal plans were more reasonable compared to ours. The closest meal plan to our current 65-block cost $920 ($1,305 with inflation) and included $185 ($262) of Munch Money and 80 meals, giving a meal cost of $9.19 ($12.75 with inflation).
With the removal of the senior discount and even fewer options for residential students, it’s clear that something needs to change. The recent housing protests have given a voice to the students and it is our responsibility to continue to use that to create change on this institution that is intended to serve us.