U of T college students abandoning 1000’s of leftover meal plan {dollars}

University of Toronto college students are packing their baggage and heading residence after one other faculty 12 months, however many are leaving 1000’s of meal plan {dollars} behind.

Several folks have reached out to MetropolisNews to share how they’re unable to obtain a refund of their meal plan {dollars} regardless of having a big quantity leftover on the finish of the 12 months.

Students who stay in residence are required to buy a meal plan at a minimal price of $5,200. The plans go as much as $6,300.

There are seven faculties with eating halls related to the University of Toronto. Students say the foundations are inconsistent between the universities and so they’re given few to no choices with what do with the leftover cash on the finish of the 12 months.

Thomas Latendresse is ending up his first 12 months at University of Toronto on New College however received’t be returning as he’s transferring to the University of Montreal for his second 12 months.

Two weeks in the past, when he checked his meal plan stability, there was $1,800 nonetheless left.

Because the one choice for these on New College is to transform the meal plan {dollars} into “TBucks” for the next 12 months, which can be utilized at numerous meals spots on campus or for textbooks, he’s out of luck.

“What we had to resort to doing is buying food in bulk because they didn’t allow for refunds, and they didn’t really allow for any leniency due to COVID or anything,” stated Latendresse. “So a lot of the people I knew were either buying food that they knew they wouldn’t be able to eat in bulk just to not let it go to waste because at the end of the year, they would just lose it.”

He has spent $1,500 within the final two weeks shopping for meals in bulk, like 24-packs of pop and baggage of chips, to not waste his cash.

“I was really desperate,” stated Latendresse. “I was kind of scandalized by the fact that we wouldn’t be able to do anything with the money.”

Latendresse stated he really spent a full month through the faculty 12 months at residence and never utilizing his meal plan as the college inspired college students to not come to campus through the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic when Omicron instances had been spiking.

He stated contemplating this, the college needs to be extra lienent relating to refunds. “Especially with COVID, [they should show] a leniency towards refunds, just recognizing the situation that students are in that they can’t spend this money and that they’re just going to lose it and I find that kind of the bare minimum.”

Those on Victoria Campus don’t even have the choice to transform their leftover meal plan {dollars} to “TBucks.”

Piper Hays, a first-year scholar in History and Classical Studies on Victoria Campus, stated she has over $2,000 left on her meal plan.

“Two-thousand dollars is a quarter of my tuition. I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know what it’s being used for after I leave residence after first year,” she stated.

Hays stated the explanation she has a lot leftover is after just a few weeks on campus, the meals obtainable began to make her really feel sick, so she spent a lot of the 12 months cooking for herself. And she will not be alone in having cash leftover.

“Most people I know have at least $500 left in their meal plan money and we have three days left, our meal plans service ends tomorrow [Friday] night.”

She provides the factor that bothers her most is she doesn’t know the place the cash goes. Hays and some different college students tried to purchase a number of meals handy them out to the homeless inhabitants, however had been unable to as a result of Victoria College limits the variety of meals you should purchase to 2 at a time.

“You’re limited to buying six meals a day, even though we have enough money to buy like 20 or 30,” stated Hays.

Unlike these at New College, they’re additionally not allowed to purchase non-perishable meals in bulk to be able to burn up a few of their remaining {dollars}.

Hays provides if she had the selection of whether or not to buy a meal plan or a smaller meal plan, she seemingly solely would’ve put $1,000 in direction of it.

“If there was an option to pay maybe $1,000 and have $1,000 worth of meal plan money, that would be good for days that I don’t have time to cook,” stated Hays. “[Otherwise] I would definitely not be purchasing one. Just because the food is just so bad.”

Sophie Choy, one other first-year scholar at Victoria College, stated she can be abandoning $1,300.

“I’m here until May 1, my options are basically just to buy three meals a day, and that will be it and then the rest of that money will end up just going to waste.”

“I know people who have over two-thousand dollars, I have one or two friends who used up their entire meal plan but that required a lot of planning, giving away food or food waste,” defined Choy.

Choy instructed MetropolisNews she, together with many different college students, have vocalized their considerations with what occurs to their cash.

“Victoria College especially has been particularly slow to divulge the information about where the money is being used for their meal plans because a lot of students have vocalized that they’re not okay with this amount of money and this amount of food going to waste and not benefiting the students.”

Hays provides she is conscious that the Victoria College Student Union tried to deal with the standard of the meals obtainable however haven’t addressed what occurs to their leftover cash.

“The Victoria College Student Union has sent letters to Burwash about the fact that we can’t choose what we eat because food comes pre-portioned,” stated Hays. “But I don’t know if anything’s being done about the fact that we just don’t get our money back.”

Choy stated she believes the college ought to actually be prioritizing the coed voice relating to meal, particularly contemplating it’s a primary necessity.

The final day of college, MetropolisNews noticed quite a few college students buying meals in bulk.

Eli Ramraj, a scholar on scholarship, stated he bought $600 value of chips and drinks up to now, and he nonetheless has a stability on his meal plan.

Another scholar says she spent $400 on chips and pop, and has a stability of $2,000 remaining.

University of Toronto students buy food and drinks in bulk to spend their leftover meal plan dollars.
University of Toronto college students purchase meals and drinks in bulk to spend their leftover meal plan {dollars}. CITYNEWS/Faiza Amin
University of Toronto students buy food and drinks in bulk to spend their leftover meal plan dollars.
University of Toronto college students purchase meals and drinks in bulk to spend their leftover meal plan {dollars}. CITYNEWS/Ken Townsend

The University of Toronto instructed MetropolisNews in a press release that college students are in a position to contact Food Services or their Residence Office to debate their meal plan and they’re “encouraged to use their meal plans.”

Any scholar experiencing monetary difficulties are “encouraged to contact the Registrar’s Office to discuss their financial needs and the financial assistance available to support them,” learn the assertion.

The college additionally stated “some” of the residential meal plans provide college students the power to hold over unspent {dollars} for use sooner or later, however there are limits hooked up to the quantities as “residential meal plan income is used to cover the costs of operating the dining halls (staffing, facilities, equipment maintenance). These fixed costs are incurred regardless of the amount of food that is consumed.”

They additionally stated college students who arrived in residence later than regular had their meal plans pro-rated to mirror their precise arrival date.

MetropolisNews requested simply how a lot cash college students are abandoning on these meal plans, however the faculty didn’t present a response to that query.


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