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Meal plan changes offer students more meals, less dining dollars next semester

Available meal plans and rates for students living on campus next year have undergone several changes, according to an email sent to students earlier this month. 

Previously, Housing and Dining offered six options for selection by residential students during the 2019-2020 academic year, including four meal and dining dollar combinations: 8 meals with $250, 8 meals with $150, 10 meals with $200 and 12 meals with $250. The remaining two meal plans previously available were the university plan, which was made solely of 1900 dining dollars and the block 50 plus 1300 dining dollars, which allowed students the flexibility to swipe for meals in the dining hall and purchase items from other locations. Both the university and block 50 plans have been omitted from the upcoming years’ selection, as well as the two 8 meal-dining dollar choices. 

The removed meal plans have been replaced with two “Pioneer Prime Unlimited” options. Students who choose the Pioneer Prime 5-Day plan with 200 dining dollars will have unlimited access to the dining hall Monday through Friday. The 7-Day meal plan allows unlimited access all week, with an additional 250 dining dollars. 

Kendrick McAdams, a first-year computer science major, said he was disappointed about the changes.

 “I wish they didn’t get rid of the meal plans with lots of dining dollars,” McAdams said. “I really enjoyed that one, and it helped me go eat at different places. Now I probably won’t be able to go eat at different places around campus because of the fact they don’t give that many dining dollars.”

Increases in cost came with these changes as well. In 2019-2020 the least cost-bearing residential meal plan was $1540 and the costliest was the university plan, at $1900. Following the adjustments, the least expensive residential meal plan is now $1750 and the highest $2300, including tax. 

First-year kinesiology student Lucia Creeden said these alterations in dining plans prompted her to choose housing where a meal plan wasn’t mandatory.

“It was a big part of my decision to use housing that doesn’t require a meal plan,” Creeden said. “It’s all so expensive considering that you can’t go into the dining hall several days a week, and if they don’t have anything you like, it’s not worth it. It was hard just to use eight meals a week because I kept busy or sometimes I just wanted to be lazy and eat in my dorm, but now the only options are even more meals per week.”

Jill Eckardt, director of University Housing and Dining, said these changes have been pending for several months and were finalized this past February. Eckardt also said that these adjustments are meant to provide more value for student dollars. 

“We hope to see are more residents remain on campus over the weekends, knowing that they will have meals to eat without making choices or planning when to eat a limited number of meals and that residents will use their dining dollars for food and not non-food items,” Eckardt said. “Additionally, we know that people come together when meals are shared, and we hope by increasing options for students, faculty, and staff that we will enhance our shared sense of community across campus.”

For more information regarding meal plans, visit the TWU Housing rates and contract webpage,

Joanna Simmons can be reached at

Featured Image by Sarah Pham

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