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University hikes late meal allowance to $9 for lunch and dinner amid price increases

<h6>Abby de Riel / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Abby de Riel / The Daily Princetonian

Beginning Sept. 12, late meal allowances for students will increase to nine dollars each for lunch and dinner, up from an allowance of eight dollars per meal. In an email to The Daily Princetonian, University Director of Retail & Catering Cristian Vasquez said that the change meant that “students can order an entrée from any station,” including a fountain beverage, and stay within the allowance.

When classes began last week and late meal — a program which allows students on the unlimited meal plan to purchase food after normal dining hall hours — opened in the Frist Campus Center Gallery again, students found that prices had increased since last semester.

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All first-years and sophomores are required by the University to hold the unlimited meal plan, which includes the late meal allowance.

“There are certain days of the week where I physically can’t get lunch because of back-to-back classes, so it’s really unfortunate that I cannot get completely free meals,” Nathan Beck ’25 said. “They have PawPoints now, so it’s unfortunate that I have to use them at late meal, to find food that I like and find nutritious, instead of on Nassau like they were intended.” 

Beck is a contributor for The Prospect.

Prior to the allowance hike, students had expressed frustration with the increase in prices rendering some food options inaccessible.

On Twitter, David Chmielewski ’24 wrote of the price increases that “late meal is such a source of community in your first two years but the university apparently wants to make it pay for play for… reasons? I genuinely can’t explain this other than abject cruelty, these policies make no sense.”

Vasquez credited nationwide increases in food prices for creating the higher costs at Frist and across campus, as well as increasing hourly wages to $18.42 “and converting all academic-year staff to 12-month employees.” 

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The allowance for late meal has increased in the past, from $5.95/lunch and $6.95/dinner in fall 2017 to eight dollars for each meal by 2021.

The unlimited dining plan has seen significant changes since last semester — students with the plan now receive $150 worth of dining points each semester that they can use at select local restaurants, and sophomores can use the points toward spring eating club dues. Vasquez cited these changes, along with the new increase in late meal allowances, as part of University Dining’s goal to “ensure we are providing value for our students.”

Hope Perry is the Head Podcast Editor at the ‘Prince’ who has covered USG, US politics, and student activism. She can be reached at hperry@princeton.edu or on Twitter @hopemperry.

Lia Opperman is an Assistant News Editor who often covers University affairs, student life, and local news. She can be reached at liaopperman@princeton.edu, on Instagram @liamariaaaa, or on Twitter @oppermanlia.

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