Anyone who has ever had a meal plan on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus can tell you the food defies the expectations set by a price tag that’s over $1,700. Part of the reason is because only a fraction of the more than $400 charged for each month of meals goes to Chartwells.

Approximately 1/3 or around $500-600 from each student’s meal plan goes to the university. That means only $1,100-1,200 of your money has to be divided between paying the staff and buying food — No wonder the food doesn’t taste like $1,700.

It’s an outrage right? Not exactly.

The university rents out its own kitchens, and dining areas, so it has a legitimate expectation of payment. In addition, the money from these meal plans has gone toward improving the student union and adding dining options like the café in the student union. Funding such facilities with money from the meal plans makes sense because these facilities are typically only frequented by those who have meal plans.

Even though the arrangement makes sense, it’s not the best option. Such high priced plans, which are more costly than plans at Nebraska University schools and state colleges, push students off campus because the campus residents are required to purchase them. In a time of declining state aid and rising tuition prices the university should look out for students’ already ransacked budgets.

By lowering the university’s cut of each meal plan to only what’s required for the upkeep of current dining facilities, the school may convince more students to stay on campus longer, instead of leaving campus residence halls dormant.

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