Binghamton University students living off campus or in on-campus apartments can now carry over their old dining dollars from the fall 2020 semester to the spring 2021 semester for $25.
The $25 Plan from BU Dining Services (BUDS), as its name suggests, will cost students $25 and will create a balance of their remaining fall 2020 dining dollars sum. If a student has a spending balance greater than $100, the dining dollars can be transferred over to the $25 Plan for no additional cost. Since there is no membership fee, students who purchase the $25 Plan will be charged 1.8 times the posted prices. These special provisions, which exist because of COVID-19, aim to make it easier for students to roll over their leftover balances from the fall 2020 semester to a new plan.
The $25 Plan will be an option available for students with both carryover balances of $100 or more and carryover balances of $340 or more. However, students with a balance of $340 or more can enroll in the Commuter Semester Plan instead, which will deduct a $140 membership fee from their carryover balance and move the rest of the money to their new plan.
Lori Benson, director of marketing for BUDS, explained that the plan is not so different from previous years.
“We want to make it easier for students with balances to roll them over to new plans,” Benson said.
BUDS is offering another option for resident students with carryover funds over $910 at the end of the fall semester. These students can request a waiver of the spending money portion of their spring 2021 meal plan. They will only need to pay the membership fee associated with one of the six on-campus resident meal plan options, which range from Plan A to Plan F. To request this waiver, students must email firstname.lastname@example.org before the spring semester.
There are no special provisions similar to the $25 Plan for resident meal plans in the spring 2021 semester. Students in Newing, Dickinson, Hinman, Mountainview and College-in-the-Woods will still need to purchase a resident meal plan to preserve their carryover balance. Students must purchase either the $25 Plan or a resident meal plan before the end of the fall 2020 semester to keep their old dining dollars.
Nick Stecyna, a senior majoring in computer science, wished the $25 Plan was available for all students, including those residing in the BU dorms.
“I feel like a lot of people have a ton of money leftover since one of the only ways we can get away now is to buy off-campus food and so people aren’t going to be spending a lot of money on their meal plan as much in my opinion,” Stecyna said.
Lina Morse, an undeclared freshman, is not entirely satisfied with the BU meal plan procedure for incoming freshmen or those living in the dorms.
“As an incoming freshman, I [didn’t] like how you automatically [had] to purchase [Meal Plan C],” Morse said. “I think people should choose. The University could give suggestions for incoming freshmen, but I don’t think they should be forced to default to [Meal Plan C].”
Meal Plan C equates to $910 per semester. If students who are not freshmen live in the BU dorms, they will still have to purchase one of the resident meal plans, the lowest being Meal Plan F, which equates to $477 per semester. Resident students can keep their old fall 2020 dining dollars for the spring 2021 semester by purchasing one of these meal plans, yet Morse thinks that students who dorm could benefit from the $25 Plan.
“I think the $25 Plan should be offered to everyone,” Morse said.
If BU students have any other questions concerning their carryover balance or prospective spring 2021 meal plan they should contact the meal plan office at 607-777-6000 or email@example.com. Carryover policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at https://binghamton.sodexomyway.com/my-meal-plan/questions.