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Carthage Meal Plans: The Breakdown

After waking up early for 8 a.m. classes, working to earn some cash, studying to keep scholarships, and expending energy at practices, what do college kids need to keep energized? Food.

College meals plans are a great way to have built-in money to spend on food. Prepaying for one at the beginning of the school year ensures that students don’t necessarily have to wait paycheck to paycheck in order to go to the grocery store. They also teach students how to budget. At Carthage, there are several plans to meet the different needs of students.

The standard meal plan students receive is 70 points per week, which expire at the end of the week, and 450 rollover points (or flexible points) per semester that can be used at any time. One point equals one dollar. Trevor Tomich, a sophomore at Carthage College, likes the current standard meal plan on campus.

“As long as a student is wise about the way he or she spends their points, I think the amount of points we are given should last through the semester,” says Tomich.

Having different places to purchase food allows students to budget accordingly to their dietary needs and their eating habits in any given week. With a cafeteria and numerous food chains such as Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Einstein’s, and a convenient store on Carthage’s campus, having a variety of options is a major plus for students.

Some students, however, may feel that the standard option does not offer enough points throughout the semester. Those who feel like they may encounter this problem can purchase a premium meal plan at Carthage consisting of 90 weekly points and 1,000 flexible points, or 500 flexible points per semester. 

Photo courtesy of Dan Gold

While both the standard and premium meal plans are residential, Carthage also considers commuters who still wish to purchase meals on campus with points rather than their own money (as paying with points is tax-free). Commuters can choose between two block plans for their meals: Commuter plan A offers a 1,900-point block plan and commuter plan B offers a 950-point block plan, accommodating commuters who either eat a majority of their meals on campus or need a cheaper alternative to meet their needs. 

One option that’s available to both residential and commuter students is Carthage Cash. Carthage Cash is separate from a student’s meal plan and is essentially money that anyone at Carthage can load onto their ID to use as a debit card. Carthage Cash can be used at a variety of eateries on campus and even at a local burger joint off-campus. Uber rides can be purchased as well. 

Overall, Carthage offers a variety of ways to dine on campus, and with the addition of Carthage Cash and an increase in the amount of flexible points in recent years, it’s safe to say that students can expect even more improvements to the meal plans in the years to come. 

Rep image courtesy of Pixabay 

Molly McQueeny is a sophomore at Carthage College pursuing majors in Graphic Design and Marketing, and minors in Spanish and Communications. When she isn't at Cross Country practice or in the weight room, she's in the Mac Lab or reading a good book!
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