Quad raises fees before Bicker week
After significantly lowering its fees to match the cost of a residential college dining hall plan last year, Princeton’s Quadrangle Club has decided to raise its fees for next year's membership.
According to an email sent to Quad members and sophomores who have expressed an interest in joining the sign-in club, as well as updates to the Quad and Interclub Council websites, Quad will charge its members $6,600 for the 2013-14 school year — $900 more than this year’s fee of $5,700.
In addition to the increase in membership fees, Quad has also increased the fee for sophomore social membership in the spring semester from $400 to $600.
Quad’s president Branden Lewiston ’14 noted that it is important to keep the increase in context.
“While we are raising our rates, we are still much cheaper than other eating clubs,” he said. “Even with the sophomore spring fee we are providing a significant price advantage.”
The average fee for juniors and seniors at other clubs was over $8,000 for the 2012-13 school year, according to information published by the Princeton Prospect Foundation. Lewiston estimated the average fee for sophomore spring semester membership is about $750 at other clubs on the Street.
The initial decision to lower prices last year from $8,000 to $5,700 was made in order to attract and retain students who wanted to be a member of an eating club but did not have the financial means to do so, Quad Graduate Board chairman Dinesh Maneyapanda ’94 told The Daily Princetonian last year. When Quad announced its decrease in fees last year, then-president Katie Knorr ’13 pledged that Quad would match the cost of the residential college unlimited meal plan.
Maneyapanda declined to comment for this article.
“We noticed that there were a lot of people who were being excluded from eating clubs because of the price," Lewiston said. “Quad’s policy with rates and everything else is that we want to be as inclusive as possible."
Following last year's fee decrease, the number of students who signed in to Quad increased by 40 percent relative to previous years. Quad is the only club on the Street that has a policy of not disclosing membership numbers, so the club's exact capacity and current membership status are both unknown.
Lewiston explained that this year's fee increase was motivated by a desire not to underprice Quad membership. He explained that most of the clubs on the Street raise their fees regularly to keep up with rising costs, so Quad's increase was not out of the ordinary with respect to its peers.
While remaining lower than the cost of the other clubs on the Street, the new price still remains highly competitive with the University Dining Services upperclassman unlimited meal plan, which costs $5,680 for the 2012-13 school year, according to the Dining Services website.
In an effort to give all students the opportunity to join an eating club, the University subsidizes the cost of joining a club by increasing the financial aid package for juniors and seniors by an amount approximate to the difference between the unlimited residential college meal plan and the average cost of an eating club membership. Thus, the financial aid award covers the approximately $1,000 difference between Quad's fees and the residential college dining plan for students needing financial assistance.
Despite the fact that the fee increase comes right before Bicker week, Lewiston does not expect the change to affect the number of sign-ins to Quad.
“I expect us to have a very healthy sign-in class,” he said.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article mistakenly attributed a piece of information to Quadrangle Club president Branden Lewiston ’14. The fact that the number of students who signed into Quad increased by 40 percent in February 2012 was in fact reported in the Feb. 8, 2012 article, "Quad sees 40 percent jump." Also due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that no other eating club had announced its fees for the upcoming school year yet. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.