Are commuter meal plans worth the cost?

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On-campus dining versus off-campus can be a big decision for incoming and current students. There are so many options to choose from, and every plan includes different amenities. FAMU’s commuter meal plan consists of three options for students to choose from. The Rattler 15 is the least expensive of the three, where a commuter student has access to 15 meals at the Dining Hall and The Hub; this plan also gives the student $200 flex bucks. The Rattler 50 provides students with 50 meals in the same dining areas but offers an additional $300 in flex bucks. Last, but way more than the least, is the Venom 600, where students can spend $600 in flex bucks at any campus food location.

Students are usually vocal about their experiences with different food locations on campus and using their flex bucks wisely. Commuter plans have not been very popular from what I have seen amongst my classmates, and doesn’t eating the same things every day get tiring?

Thomas Dow is a current student at FAMU and has used a commuter meal plan for the last two years. “The rattler 50 plan is definitely the plan I would get,” Dow said. “On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I would use my meal swipes for lunch for 15 weeks, so that was around 45 swipes that left me with five to use on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Dow also stated that he used his flex bucks on Poblanos and Rattler’s Nest and was satisfied. “I wasn’t on campus for breakfast and dinner, so I just needed a plan to allow me to eat lunch. I definitely saved money using a meal plan versus eating out at local food places.”

Dow was pretty satisfied with purchasing the Rattler 50 meal plan because he believed he had saved money. Other student commuters thought their meal plan purchase was not all it cracked up to be after constantly driving to campus for food.

Kennedy Patton, a senior broadcast journalism major at FAMU, stated that she is saving more money now by eating at home versus when she had a meal plan. “The last time I purchased a meal plan was when I first moved off campus during my junior year,” Patton said. “I didn’t eat from the cafe, so I mostly used it for Chick-Fil-A, and Tropical Smoothie.” Patton stated that she only used her plan for a semester because she did not feel as if she was saving money. “Having to drive on campus for food when I’m closer to a grocery store didn’t make sense anymore, and I wanted other food options that FAMU didn’t provide.”

According to FAMU’s meal plan website, commuter meals are specifically designed for students who live off campus and don’t have time to cook. Jeffrey Kwolek, general manager of Metz Culinary Management, states that Metz offers a variety of healthy and balanced meals. “We [Metz] put an emphasis on customization to better serve our customers’ ever-changing needs,” Kwolek said. “We encourage [student] involvement and input through surveys to better serve our customers.”

Buying the best meal plan strongly depends on the needs and wants of a student commuter. The cost breakdown can make or break a commuter’s pocket considering tuition, transportation, books, and other expenses. Overall, you will never know unless you try, and considering a commuter meal plan for a semester or two can determine whether it is worth the costs.