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Volume 7, Issue 4                                    University of Houston

New meal plans are designed for commuter students

Non-campus residents will be able to buy $300, $500 meal plans for the first time this spring

By Tina Marie Macias
Breaking News Staff

Campus meal plans will be available this spring to non-campus residents for the first time.

Cougar 1Card manager Jackie Mitchell said the plans, which will be offered in $300 and $500 amounts to students who donít live in the Moody Towers or the Quadrangle, were a request of the Student Government Association.

"They were interested in having a commuter meal plan for students who are currently getting some type of financial aid," Mitchell said. "It would give them an opportunity -- if theyíre commuters -- to participate in one of the meal plans."

Commuters who donít receive financial aid may also buy the meal plans. They may be used at all campus dining locations -- even Ericís restaurant at the University Hilton, where residentsí meal plans arenít accepted.

Non-food purchases at campus convenience stores arenít covered by any meal plan.

Unspent money in a commuter meal plan will roll over from one semester to the next until all the money is spent or the plan is canceled. Commuter meal plan accounts will automatically close after a year of inactivity.

"The restriction on the resident meals plans is if you donít use it, you lose it," Mitchell said. "With the commuter meal plan, you donít lose it. It carries forward until you make the decision to close the account."

Commuter students have long been able to use "flex dollars" -- a sort of debit account -- for campus food purchases. The advantage of the meal plan, Director of Auxiliary Services Ann Lamar said, is that it can be added to a fee bill.

The Cougar 1Card office and Auxiliary Services decided to create the meal plan in increments of $300 and $500 after calculating how many on campus meals an average commuter student buys, Mitchell said. Six dollars was used as the average meal cost, Lamar said.

"Weíre just doing it on a pilot basis, and hoping we can get some participation there," she said.

Students may buy commuter meal plans through the Enrollment Services section of the Universityís Web site (<'> The plans will become effective Friday; there is a 24-to-48-hour delay before funds are deposited into the meal plan account on studentsí Cougar 1Cards.

Feb. 9 is the last day for commuter students to sign up for the meal plan for the spring semester. The cutoff date for requesting commuter meal plans is the 20th class day of each fall and spring semester. The cutoff date for requesting commuter meal plans for all summer sessions is July 31.

Chartwells, UHís food-service provider, is offering incentives to students who sign up for the commuter meal plans before Feb. 6, Super Bowl Sunday. Those who buy a $300 meal plan will get a 3-foot submarine sandwich; those who buy $500 plans will get a sandwich, six 20-ounce bottles of soda, two large bags of Fire Hot Cheetos, one large bag of tortilla chips, bean dip and salsa.

Students may schedule a time to pick up their food by calling (713) 743-5219.

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