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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Students don’t receive enough Cougar Cash

Students don't receive enough Cougar Cash

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Despite students paying thousands of dollars each semester on a meal plan, the amount of Cougar Cash received is just not enough. 

Living on campus is not cheap. While some may argue the dorm fees themselves are relatively more bearable when compared to the overall cost of an apartment, the mandatory meal plan for most dorms is the nail on the financial coffin.

The least expensive plan, the Bronze, will cost someone $2,209.86 each semester, as of the 2020-21 academic year. However, such a hefty price only comes with $150 in Cougar Cash, which is too little compared to the overall cost.

Cougar Cash allows students to branch out and dine at restaurants other than the Moody Towers and Cougar Woods Dining Commons such as those in the Student Center South. Students can also use it at the markets located on campus, along with the food trucks that visit.

There are a few inconsistencies with the Cougar Cash provided per meal plan. The next meal plan after Bronze, the Silver, allows for 24/7 access to the dining commons as opposed to the Bronze’s 24/5, along with three meal exchanges per week compared to one. However, the amount of Cougar Csh received with the Silver does not change, staying at a low $150.

Some students have taken the initiative to save as much Cougar Cash as possible, only spending it on necessities or just to treat themselves every now and then, like computer science freshman Lemarc Wincher who has the Silver meal plan.

“I’ve spent $30 in Cougar Cash. Although I’ve been frugal, it still goes away pretty quickly,” Wincher said. “Students should be given more than $150 for the entire semester.” 

While many students with the Silver meal plan take advantage of the three meal exchanges a week, sometimes it is just not enough. 

“I get tired of eating chicken strips and fries at Moody,” said petroleum engineering freshman Ayris Cole. “The amount [of Cougar Cash] we receive is pretty absurd. Especially considering the fact that I’m paying more than two thousand dollars a semester.”

Students with Gold and Platinum meal plans receive considerably more Cougar Cash than the lower options, despite having access to unlimited meal exchanges. While they do deserve it due to the much higher prices, the Silver and Bronze plans still do not have adequate amounts of Cougar Cash to last students a whole semester.

The best solution to this issue would be to provide the lower meal plans with more Cougar Cash to spend outside of the often repetitive dining hall options. This is especially helpful for those with the Bronze plan, who cannot even access the dining halls on weekends yet have to ration lightly.

With as much as students spend on their meal plan, they should get more than $150 in Cougar Cash. 

Michael King is a History freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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