The University of Akron’s Board of Trustees today approved changes to room and board rates, a move that will enable the University to continue to offer housing and dining services that are safe, flexible and appealing.
Housing rates will increase 5 percent for all but one option. The increase will help the University offset higher utility costs and retire bonds that paid for housing renovations and expansions. The rates for one option will not change: Garson Hall residents next year will see no increase.
“In the last two years, we have added Exchange Street Residence Hall and Quaker Square, and we have won national awards for our programming excellence,” said John Messina, director of UA’s Residence Life and Housing. “The increase will enable to sustain this level of service and programming.”
The cost of the traditional meal plans will increase 4 percent to help offset the rising cost of food and utilities. In addition, some of the increase will help pay off the bonds used to fund the renovation of Rob’s Café.
“We have tried to keep the increase as low as possible,” said Zia Ahmed, UA’s director of Dining Services. “As everyone knows, food prices are increasing rapidly — they rose 4.9 percent nationally last year, and they jumped 5.3 percent the first three months of 2008. We are able to hold down our increase because we operate efficiently.”
With the support of students, parents and the Associated Student Government, University Dining Services is revising its popular Gold Plan. The Gold Plan now will give students $1,400 in Dining Dollars per semester. Dining Dollars can be used at any on-campus eatery and at Zee’s Convenience Store. When Dining Dollars are used at Rob’s Café or the Trackside Grille Buffet at Quaker Square, the student will receive a 25 percent discount off of the door rate.
With the changes to the Gold Plan, the plan itself is taking on a new name — the Declining Gold Plan — to call out the Dining Dollars benefit.
Dining Dollars offer flexibility too. They can be used off-campus at any of the 40-plus restaurants that accept the Zip Card.
The cost for the Gold Plan will be $1,850 per semester. The difference between the cost and the amount of Dining Dollars awarded will allow Dining Services to:
- update dining facilities in response to student requests,
- maintain a competitive wage and incentive plan for student employees,
- continue to offer students the conveniences they have asked for, such as extended hours and special programming, and
- provide Dining Services staff with advanced safety and culinary training.
Any Dining Dollars remaining at the end of the semester will roll over to the next fall or spring semester, as long as the student continues to subscribe to the Gold Plan.
The traditional meal plans (with the exception of the 10-meal option) will now have more flexibility with the addition of $100 in Dining Dollars.
“Until now, the Dining Dollars option has been available to Gold Plan subscribers only,” Ahmed said. “Students have told us that they love the flexibility of Dining Dollars, so we have made this option part of the traditional plans as well.”
The $100 for Dining Dollars is in addition to the 4 percent increase to the cost of the traditional plans, but students will get the full $100 back as they use their Zip Card at off-campus eateries.