Sent on behalf of the Student Senate
As you may have heard, the Federal Government, through the Board of Education has mandated that all institutions of higher education must provide a minimum of three meals per day/seven days a week for students who reside in campus-owned/controlled housing starting Fall 2023. Here is the section of the mandate that relates to this change:
The FAFSA Simplification Act (116 Pub. L. 260, Division FF, Title VII) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (117 Pub. L. 103, Division R) jointly modify the COA components and consumer information pertaining to those components. The revisions provide more clarity and detail to individual COA components, and institutions must implement them for the 2023-24 Award Year.
The part of the act that applies to Oberlin and its meal plans reads:
Living expenses—An allowance for food and housing costs, as determined by the institution, to be incurred by the student attending the institution on at least a half-time basis, including:
A standard food allowance that provides the equivalent of three meals each day, regardless of whether a student chooses institutionally owned or operated food services (i.e., board or meal plans). Institutions must provide an allowance for purchasing food off campus for a student that does not elect institutionally owned or operated food services.
Housing allowances for students residing in institutionally owned or operated housing with or without dependents must be based on the average or median amount assessed to such residents for housing charges, whichever is greater.
Housing allowances for students living off campus must include rent or other housing costs.
For dependent students living at home with parents, institutions must include a reasonable standard allowance for living expenses that is not zero.
For students living in housing on a military base or for which they receive a basic allowance under section 403(b) of title 37, United States Code, institutions must include a reasonable allowance for food on-campus or off-campus but cannot include housing costs.
For all other students, institutions must include a reasonable allowance based on expenses incurred by such students.
Oberlin has only one housing charge, so our allowance for on campus housing, billed by the college, will be one charge for 23/24. Oberlin already uses an allowance for students living off campus that accounts for rent and other costs. Oberlin uses the cost of OSCA housing and dining for those students who live and dine with OSCA as that accounts for rent and 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.
The hope with these proposed changes to our meal plans would be to not only be in compliance with these new regulations, but offer flexibilities to our students that meet their needs.
Under our current dining plan structure, the GoYeo Plan is the only meal plan option that meets this obligation. Below is the current plan (22/23) offered and requirements for access to such plans at Oberlin College:
GoYeo - 4 meal swipe maximum per day (420 total swipes) with $200 Flex dollars - less than 4 semesters completed in residence required on this plan
Gold - 200 swipes (4 swipe maximum per day) with $150 Flex dollars - 4 - 6 semesters in residence completed optional to participate in this plan
Cardinal - 100 swipes (4 swipes maximum per day) with $100 Flex dollars - 6+ semester in residence completed optional to participate in this plan (Off-Campus/Village Residents)
In response to this federal mandate, the following dining plans were identified to help provide additional options for students while staying in compliance. This is where we would like to get your thoughts on the options below:
Proposed optional plans:
4 swipes per day max (420 total per semester) with $200 Flex ($4772 per semester) - all classes eligible;
420 total swipes (unlimited per day) with $200 Flex ($4772 per semester) - all classes eligible.
3 swipes a day max (315 swipes total per Semester) with $600 Flex ($4772 per semester) - all classes eligible;
315 total swipes (unlimited per day) with $600 Flex ($4772 per semester) - all classes eligible.
1 swipe a day max on average (100 swipes total per Semester) with $100 Flex ($2650 per semester) - optional plans for off-campus/Village Housing Assigned residents;
100 total swipes (unlimited per day) with $100 Flex ($2650 per semester) - optional plans for off-campus/Village Housing Assigned residents.
Additional Block Plans offered per semester:
50 Swipes at $6.50 per swipe Student ($325 per block). 20 Swipes at $7.50 per swipe Student ($150 per block) - Block Plans are only offered if residential or approved off-campus students run out of swipes or if Commuter/Exempt students want to eat on campus. This will also be offered to Employees who wish to eat on campus as well.
As you review the above options, we would like your feedback on which meal plan types you’d like to see considered for implementation this coming fall semester. The GoYeo, Gold, and Cardinal will still be offered but set swipes or unlimited swipes is what you will be identifying in the survey. Also notice that we are suggesting that class status (semesters in housing) should not be considered for either the GoYeo or Gold plan as they will be the same prices for 23/24. Please complete the survey by Friday, May 26, 2023 so we can collect your thoughts on this change to dining.
Survey link: Student Dining Survey
Again, Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us as we continue to improve Oberlin College and Conservatory!
Oberlin College Student Senate