Students to be reimbursed for unused meal plans, University says
University of Michigan students with meal plans will be reimbursed for meal credits lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email sent to The Daily by University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the University announced dining halls would be moved to take-out only.
According to the email, students will receive dining credits equal to their current unused meals and Dining Dollars to be used when classes resume.
“In addition, students who live off campus can sign up for a Voluntary Meal Plan for carryout meals from South Quad for the remainder of the winter semester,” the email read. “The Voluntary Meal Plan can be purchased as unlimited meals or block plans of 200/300 meals for the semester.”
The response from the University resolves the unanswered question of how students would be repaid for meal plans not fully used by the time University dining halls were closed. An email sent to students on March 20 announced that students who moved out of their dormitories would be given a refund of $1,200, but did not address the issue of student dining plans.
LSA freshman Ari Richardson said she was frustrated that the issue of meal plans was not addressed in the March 20 email. According to Richardson, students deserved the option to decide whether to carry over meal credits to the next semester or be refunded.
“I believe that students should have the option to either have them refunded or carry over into the next year,” Richardson said. “Because then you’ll have seniors who aren’t going to use them anytime soon and already paid for this. If you don’t get it back, that’s just the University taking money.”
Richardson said many students left campus with only partially used meal plans, leaving uncertainty as to whether reimbursements would be afforded to them.
“My main problem when it was time to leave was that I had a bunch of Dining Dollars and Blue Bucks leftover,” she said.
Students still on campus will still be able to use Dining Dollars at the University, though options are limited due to closures across campus. According to the email, students can also keep their meal credits for the next academic year.
The Michigan Dining Meal Plan Office informed students with meal plans about the policy in an email sent on Friday.
“At this time, all Meal Plan holders will have their unused Dining Dollars rolled over to their Meal Plan account for next year, regardless if you do or do not remain in University Housing for the remainder of this academic year,” the email reads.