It’s common knowledge that all students who live in campus housing must purchase a meal plan.
The distributor of such meal plans is a company known as AVI Fresh.
As part of AVI’s policy for meal plans, any unused meals will be lost at the end of the week.
Traditionally, students try and use outlets such as Boozel Express to use up unused meal.
But what happens to those meals that go unused?
Ultimately, AVI just makes money from students who don’t eat all of their meals in a week.
While it is important to realize that students can pick what meal plans they want to sign up for, there is another piece to that puzzle.
AVI only offers meal plans of certain sizes.
So no matter what, every student who lives in a residence hall has to purchase meals in some way, shape, or form.
Students pay for these meals in semesterly packages.
Meal plans often also include flex dollars, which are available for use until the end of each academic year.
Within the past five years, AVI has made over $4.5 million from SRU students.
How many of these dollars have come from unused meals?
It’s hard to say.
Because many students don’t use all of their meals each and every week, and even more don’t use all of their flex dollars by the end of the year, this money goes to and stays with the AVI company.
One could venture to say the the majority of the profit margin comes from student dollars.
But when it comes to earning a profit, it’s pretty obvious that more money can be made when you’re not actually giving out a product and still getting paid as if you were.
It’s basically a gold mine. We should all consider going into the food business if this is the case at every college campus.
The real controversy lies with the students, however.
Many students believe it is unfair that they are required to have a meal plan if they live on campus.
There could be an easy solution to this problem, one in which other universities, such as the University of Pittsburgh already utilize.
Instead of marketing meals as weekly packages, they could be marketed as entire semesters.
It might require students to do math if they have 150 meals to use in a semester, but it will ultimately save them money if they can use them week after week instead of worrying about hitting weekly balances.
Another nuisance to students is having to switch their packages every semester. AVI automatically gives students 15 meals per week, every semester. If students want more or less meals, they have to fill out paperwork to get that changed. In carrying over meal plans from semester to semester, AVI would be helping out students a lot.