Cost of university meal plans will increase next semester to ensure available dining services workforce
Editor's note: Last week’s VTx article about the Board approved meal plan increase for Spring 2022 incorrectly advised: “Students who believe their financial situation deserves additional attention may file a Cost of Attendance Appeal.” Students do not need to file a Cost of Attendance Appeal because of the increase. University Scholarships and Financial Aid is currently addressing the spring dining plan increase automatically in a student’s Cost of Attendance.
The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution today to increase student meal plan costs for the spring semester. The increase from fall to spring semester will range from $100 to $215, depending on the meal plan. The most commonly used meal plan will increase by $187.
The increase was necessitated by workforce shortage issues which the university addressed with a market alignment for rates of pay necessary to attract and retain Dining Services workers needed to maintain current operations and service quality.
Members of the Finance and Resource Management Committee expressed a shared concern regarding the price increase, but acknowledged the nationwide challenge of price and labor increases impacting the labor markets, especially the food service industry. They reluctantly approved the resolution acknowledging the impact on students and families.
Virginia Tech will provide additional financial assistance to students with the greatest need. The Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid will automatically address this in the spring award process. Students who believe their financial situation deserves additional attention may file a Cost of Attendance Appeal.
In addition, Virginia Tech students can apply to participate in the Market of Virginia Tech, which is designed to provide food assistance to students who have a hard time obtaining regular, healthy meals. The Dean of Students manages an emergency fund for students who experience an emergency resulting in unexpected expense and food insecurity. And the Wesley Foundation sponsors 209 Market Place, a pantry that provides food, toiletries, and school supplies for Virginia Tech students and their families.
Starting in January 2022, the Minor Flex Plan will increase $100 per semester; the Major Flex plan will increase $187 per semester, the Mega Flex Plan will increase by $201 per semester; and the Premium Flex Plan will increase by $215 per semester.
In September, the university approved an increase to entry wage levels for Dining Service employees to $15 per hour for hourly wage and to $15.25 per hour for salaried employees. These significant and unanticipated costs require revisions to menu prices in the university’s dining halls.
This market alignment increase in pay will benefit approximately 1,600 student wage workers.
As an auxiliary enterprise, Dining Services is required by Virginia law to operate on a balanced budget.
Students are able to change their dining plan before the spring semester begins. Those changes may be made through Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Spring 2022 dining plans begin Monday, Jan. 10.
Students who have funds remaining on an individual dining plan at the end of the fall semester will roll to the following semester as long as the student purchases a dining plan the following semester. Commuter Cash dining plan rollover balances from a fall semester are the exception and do not require a spring dining plan for access. All initial dining plan funds and dining plan rollover funds must be used by the end of spring semester to avoid forfeiture.
Students and families with questions and who seek resources should visit dining.vt.edu.