By: Ivonne Hernandez

It’s 9am when I wake up to start getting ready. I brush my teeth, take a shower, and get ready for classes. Excited to go eat breakfast for the first time at Millersville University my sophomore year, I leave my dorm about an hour later. Only to find out that I am apparently late and can’t pay for the breakfast I was so eager to have with my meal plan. Instead, the money is taken out from my flex. What a disappointment. After talking to my friends and cousins who have attended this college, I find out there are certain times that are given to students on when they are able to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I first heard about how the meal plan system works here I thought it was a joke. Until I realized everyone was being serious.
Is it right for an institution that you are paying to attend to tell you when you are allowed to eat? Shouldn’t you be able to use your meal plan whenever you are hungry? The answer is yes. You should be able to control when you want to eat without being penalized for not using your meal plan during a certain time of the day. I was shocked when I went to go get breakfast that day and they told me that they were going to take the money from my flex rather than my meal plan. This was upsetting considering how much money meal plans are.
Before coming to Millersville, I attended a college in New York City. The way their meal plan worked was you would pay $1,000 for the semester. You could go to the dinning hall whenever you wanted and pay for breakfast, lunch, or dinner through your card. They wouldn’t take out money from anywhere else, because that was your meal plan, and they understood you paid for it in order to pay for your food. Of coarse there were times that breakfast ended, but that did not mean that if you bought something else you would be losing your money for not having gone to the dining hall during breakfast hours. The money you didn’t spend for breakfast was kept on your meal plan. It was like having a credit card. The best part was that if at the end of the semester you had money left over, you were able to shop the store to bring things home. Unlike with Millersville’s meal plan if you miss breakfast hours and don’t get your meal that day you can’t get that meal or money back. I think this is ridiculous.
I am now a junior and commute to campus. I didn’t think twice about not getting a meal plan. I think it is a way for the college to get money out of students and rip them off, not to mention all of the high prices they have on their food. I think that there should be changes made to the meal plan system in regards to certain hours there are to “redeem” your meal plan. It should be as simple as allowing students to get whatever they want with their meal plan at any time during the day. By saying this I don’t mean that breakfast should be served 24/7, but that the dining hall should keep student’s meals on their meal plan even if they didn’t use them up. And whatever meals are left on the plan at the end of the semester should be given back to students as credit to purchase things in the store, or even better those meals should roll over to the next semester.