The prices per meal of non-resident meal plans are as follows:
3 per week: $10.42/swipe
5 per week: $10.44/swipe
11 per week: $11.74/swipe
14 per week: $9.63/swipe
However, if you buy meals individually, breakfast is $6, lunch is $7.5, and dinner is $9.
Isn't Housing aware that their non-resident meal plans are more expensive than buying individually? Do they really think that no one bothers to calculate this? How stupid do they think ucla students are?
I noticed that too, but I think it's heard towards people who want to eat at themed restaurants. I believe the themed ones are 14 per swipe? Saving students a bit of money
No, that's not true. There's no such thing as a "themed restaurant." What they mean by "theme dinner" is that event that's only once per year (in spring quarter) where the dining halls have really fancy food. In Spring '10, it was Greek-themed, in Spring '11, it was Hawaiian-themed, and in Spring '12, it was Mediterranean-themed.
I actually went to housing and asked exactly the question posed in this thread to them last year but in a much more polite way. Basically I said:
Based on the prices put up on the housing website, unless I'm mistaken, it's much cheaper to just put money on your bruin card/student account than to actually use a meal plan. Is this true? And if it is, why is it that buying in bulk is more expensive than buying as you go, usually the trend is the other way around.
First I'd like to add that not only did I ask the above question, you'll notice that I didn't specifically point out that it was for the non-resident meal plans that I am posing this question to. So their answer was basically that yes it is indeed more expensive, almost $3-$4 per swipe depending on the meal plan you buy than to just use your student account. Their reasoning was it is more convenient to use meal plans so the extra cost is for the convenience of having a plan vs. having to always deposit money into your account. I personally think that is a horrible reason and it's not really that inconvenient at all, but to each their own. So the second part of my question was that if this is true, does that mean that the meal plans that are forced onto you when you apply for housing are charged at the same rate as non-resident meal plans. Their answer was yes, indeed they are.
So basically, they are forcing you to buy meal plans at a much more expensive rate than just using the "easy pay" option on your bruin card. If you notice, nowhere in the housing contract payments does it explicitly state how much the meal plans are being charged. You only know the price difference between different meal options, that doesn't show the actual total price of the meal plan which are indeed identically priced to the non-resident meal plans. I found this pretty disingenuous of them to force you to buy the more expensive option, they hide the reality of it very very well. In fact, when I told my friends that had 14P meal plans, most of them refused to believe me that housing meal plans were more expensive than easy pay - some sort of weird denial complex.
But according to what the people at housing pretty easily told me, the non-resident meal plans are indeed much more expensive than just using "easy pay" per swipe, the reasoning for this increased charge is for convenience. In addition, the non-resident meal plan prices are equivalent to the housing meal plan options that are forced on you; the housing meal plan costs are just never explicitly stated in the housing contract and are just added into the payment subtotals so it is impossible to notice this unless you ask housing.
In summary, it would be the cheapest financially to always buy the 11 cub meal plan (basically the least amount forced on you), and load money onto your card for any extra trips to the dining hall or when you want to swipe people in. Not only does "easy pay" not have any limitations and allows you to swipe as many people as you want, it is $3-$4 cheaper per swipe depending on if you are buying breakfast or dinner.
Well UCLA Housing as well as most other university housing systems are indeed a business. Just because people think that they go to a "nonprofit" college doesn't mean one sector of the school doesn't operate to make a profit to pay for other sectors of university services. Still, I think it was pretty tricky of them to try to pull that. It would have been more genuine if they at least gave you an option to not have a meal plan.
Well, I think I would have gone with the cheaper way (adding money to my account when needed) when I was a student, but now that I'm older and have a lot more things on my mind like working and paying bills (as I'm sure a lot of parents do), I'm willing to fork out extra money for "convenience" so I don't have to spend too much time managing little things like making sure I have money in the account so I can eat (or in the parents' case, making sure their kids don't starve). It's probably the same reason why people reload their Starbucks card (ok, I know Starbucks doesn't charge you extra to reload the card so it's not an equal comparison) when cash works just as well.
akkaf0, it's not according to UCLA Housing and ORL Services. I'm just relaying what I was told. If I didn't make that clear in my post I apologize. What I said in my post is that UCLA ORL told me that the 11 meal plan for on campus residents is the same price as off campus meal plans which come out much more expensive per swipe than an easy pay swipe. You'll need more than a "you're wrong" message to actually be taken seriously. At least provide evidence, sources, or some form of credibility.