Campus Dining prices see slight increase

GVL/Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes

Drew Howard

On top of costs for books, tuition, rent and more, Grand Valley State University students are now paying more for a number of campus dining items than they were in the fall semester.

Student meal plans covering an entire semester worth of food – which range in cost from $700 to $1,425 – have stayed fixed since last semester. However, individual food or drink items purchased without a meal plan will now cost slightly more in a handful of areas.

Karrie Erwin, retail brand manager for Aramark, said the biggest price increase in terms of proprietary brands occurred at Bleecker Street, located in Fuel. There, prices for sandwiches and two salads were raised by 10 cents.

Other areas hit with price increases include Subway, Freshens Crepes, Java City and the C-stores across campus.

At Freshens Crepes, Erwin said students will now be paying extra due the rising costs of ingredients such as hormone-free chicken and organic black beans, among others.

New pricing for items at Java City and the C-stores were not specified. Erwin noted, however, that C-stores have been known to change their prices throughout the year, and that bottled juice beverages have most notably been affected.

Tom Minor, director of campus dining, said it was necessary that prices be increased due to a number of external factors.

“Given the increasing price of food and labor, some price changes were necessary,” Minor said. “Additionally, with national brands, we need to fall in line with their price structure in the areas just beyond campus.”

Erwin added that there will likely be additional price increases for the upcoming fall semester, because campus dining does a competitive price analysis to ensure it’s charging in the same price zone for similar items.

When looking at the big picture, though, Minor said it’s important to remember that GVSU’s largest meal plan is one of the cheapest among colleges and universities in Michigan.

At $1,425 per semester, one of the three variations of GVSU’s largest meal plan includes 19 meals every week, as well as $150 debit dollars. In comparison, Michigan State University’s largest meal plan goes for $2,931, while Saginaw Valley State University’s is $1,790.

At almost half the price of the most expensive option, the cheapest meal plan available at GVSU costs $700. Besides this, students also have to option to purchase $100 worth of debit dollars that can be replenished if needed.

Minor said campus dining is willing to consider adding a meal plan lower than $700, though research has shown it isn’t needed.

“The express plan is $100, and gives students the option to buy low and continue adding through the semester as needed,” Minor said. “Our data shows that many students end up adding a significant amount and by the end of the semester have totaled at least $700. At $700, the plan costs an average of $47 per week, so this has proven to be a reasonable amount for most students.”

To learn more about campus dining pricing and how it compares to local competitors, go to and click “Dare to Compare.”