Students leave money on cards at end of year

Jessie Hellmann

Last year, students who bought meal plans collectively left about $20,000 on their Eagle Access cards.

Some Sodexo workers attribute this to students who are ignorant about enrichment.

“Every time money is put on your card for any reason, a certain percent of that is put back on your card under a category called enrichment,” said Anthony Majors, who works at the Eagle Express Convenience store (C-store), located near the apartments.

For example, if a student adds $550 in munch money to his or her card, food services will put 10 percent of that amount, which is $55, back on the student’s card.

“About one out of four students are completely oblivious to what enrichment is,” Majors said.

Some students have a different problem and have a lot of money on their cards at the end of the year, so they come to the C-store during the last few weeks and blow it all, Majors said.

“Last week, I had somebody come in and spend $650 on drinks, like Monster and a slew of Pepsi products,” he said.

Other common purchases are junk foods like chips, candy and ice cream, and then there is the occasional odd purchase, he said.

“I’ve had someone come in and buy a pizza with everything in the entire store on it. Extra super supreme,” he said. “So, we made it, and it weighed just pounds, it was a heavy pizza and costs a lot.”

He said he thinks students do not know about enrichment because it is not advertised very well, but two other Sodexo workers believe that is not the case.

Rebecca Robb, food services retail manager, said food services does as much as they can to tell students about enrichment.

“I don’t know why students don’t know,” Robb said. “We talk to them in orientations until we’re blue in the face. Our website is full of information. Our brochures tell about the bonus bucks. It’s on our LCD screens. You tell us how we can inform them better.”

Robb said food services cannot offer refunds for students who have money left on their card at the end of the year because all the money students spent on meal plans have already been spent.

“We hire and purchase based on meal plan sales,” Robb said. “We can’t recoup any of that. We’ve hired people, purchased food, banking on (students) saying they’re going to be here because they purchased a plan,” Robb said.

Some students who do not want to leave money on their cards at the end of the year end up going to the C-store and spending it all, Robb said.

“I’ve seen them come into the C-store at the end of school, and spend $280 worth of little ice cream bars,” Robb said. “That is not how that money is designed to be used.”

Robb said students should take the amount of munch money they have and divide it by the number of the weeks in the semester to help students budget, and it will also help students not have a bunch of leftover money at the end of the year.

Chris Briggs, food services director, said some students are leaving money on their accounts at the end of the year because they don’t care.

Briggs said he told a student who had $75 left on their card last week that the money will go away at the end of the year, and the student said they didn’t care because they didn’t pay for the meal plan.

“What do I do? Why should I change what we do? They do not care, unfortunately,” he said. “If I were there parents, I would be very upset.”