Madison County

Students trying to save some cash can’t pass on the meal plan at EKU this year

Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University Eastern Kentucky University

College students who want to save money by opting out of the meal plan won’t be able to do that at Eastern Kentucky University this year.

All EKU students who are enrolled in five or more credit hours on campus will have to buy a meal plan, even if they live off campus.

For the 2019-20 academic year, EKU will charge a $300 “Dining Dollars fee” to students’ accounts automatically when they are enrolled in five or more credit hours on campus, according to the university’s website.

EKU says “Dining Dollars” that aren’t used during the fall semester will roll over to the spring semester, and students who still have unused funds at the end of the spring semester can request a refund, as long as they haven’t upgraded from the “$300 Declining Balance meal plan.”

Billy Martin, EKU’s associate vice president of student affairs, told the Eastern Progress that other schools have found that the mandatory meal plan policy helps “to engage students outside the classroom,” and that officials hope students will “spend more time on campus” because of the requirement.

“You know, food unites us all,” Martin told the student newspaper.

EKU’s campus dining options include Chick-fil-A, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Panda Express, Subway, Starbucks, Steak n’ Shake and more.

During the 2018-19 school year, the university required the $300 dining plan for “freshmen commuters, sophomore residential/commuter students and junior residential/commuter students enrolled in 5 credit hours or more on campus,” according to the website.