EDITORIAL: Time to make flex dollars more flexible for students

The editorial staff of The Huntingtonian shares why they believe flex dollars should be optional meal plan additions.

With the bookstore no longer accepting flex dollars, students can now buy one thing – food. However, since the meal plans already cover food, the flex dollar system is ultimately unnecessary. It’s time Sodexo and the university gave students more flexibility. The meal plans should be modified so flex dollars are an optional addition.

The only meal plans that allow this are plans D, D1 and the commuter plan. Plans A and A1 require students to purchase flex dollars, even though all of their meals are covered by their non-transferrable meal component. This means that students on plan A must either purchase additional food on top of their three meals a day, let the flex dollars expire or lose their unused meals.

Only six places accept flex dollars, only three (Pizza Hut, Café of Hope and Four Cups Coffee) are off-campus. In order for students to use their flex off-campus, their options are pizza or café food – all perishable items. Looks like our parents won’t be getting the new HU t-shirt for Christmas.

Students who choose one of these three off-campus options pay more for their food since some businesses mark-up their products in order to compensate for Sodexo’s 30 percent fee for using flex dollars. If the businesses don’t mark up their products, then they take the 30 percent hit on their income. Nothing says “bargain” like a $6 cafe drink thanks to this tax.

Requiring flex dollars promotes a culture of wasteful spending, either by buying more than one needs or by requiring extra money to be spent. With high costs for tuition and books, students can’t afford to be wasteful with their money in the ways the flex system promotes. With an optional flex dollars system, students can save unnecessary expenses and make better use of their meal plans.

Flex dollars are basically a glorified gift card, and all gift cards should come with receipts.

The Huntingtonian editorial is written by the editorial staff. It reflects the viewpoint of the editors only and does not represent the viewpoint of Huntington University. The staff can be reached at huntingtonian@huntington.edu. 


The 2014-2015 editorial staff
The 2014-2015 editorial staff

1 comment on “EDITORIAL: Time to make flex dollars more flexible for students

  1. Brad Barber

    This editorial could not have said it better. Flex dollars are a bad idea, and I was fortunate to be on D the majority of the years I was there. The concept stems from the idea of generous parents needing a way to give their children money in a way that protects it from being wasted (specifically from being used to get wasted). So felx dollars (or whatever they get called; many universities have a similar system) was invented so parents could add to their student’s accounts remotely. However, students wasting money never seemd to be a problem when I was at HU — unless it came to trying to empty their Flex dollar accounts. With the meal plans the way they are, there seems to be no need for them.

    Questions: If they became optional, how many students would opt in? If they became optional, would Sodexo get enough subscribers to keep the system going?


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