Students unsure what happens to dining dollars at semester’s end

Vinson Pressley//Staff Writer

Students who live on campus and have meal plans may have questions and concerns  that come with their meal plan. Concerns include whether or not Dining Dollars roll over to the next semester or does the University take the excess dollars back?

“All Dining Dollars roll over until the end of the summer B semester in which they expire,” said Patricia Williams, marketing manager of Panther Dining Services.

According to Williams, this means that Dining Dollars purchased in the fall will transfer into the spring semester; Spring dining dollars will roll over into the summer A semester and summer A dining dollars will roll over until the end of the summer B semester.

Williams said what Dining Dollars were by first mentioning that they used to be called “Panther bucks,” but was it was changed about three years ago to the more descriptive phrase “Dining Dollars.” Williams said that the phrase “Panther bucks” could lead to confusion because students may believe, “I can use [Panther bucks] at the bookstore,” which isn’t accurate.

According to Williams, dining dollars can be used at any place that Panther Dining Services serves food except the café at Barnes and Noble, RechargeU and the vending machines. Williams said that the phrase “Dining Dollars” accurately reflects what it is to be used for, to dine and eat at the restaurants on campus.

Williams said Dining Dollars is a “checkbook for your food” and that “you don’t want to lose track [on spending].” Williams stressed the importance of managing Dining Dollars by not only spending so much that one runs out of funds before the semester ends but also not pinching so much one has Dining Dollars not used either; she considered it a balancing act.

Students have varying perceptions of the Dining Dollars that accompany their meal plans.

“I don’t spend my own money and I think you get a discount,” said sophomore criminal justice major Kassandra Parrado.

She has been using Dining Dollars for two years. Parrado uses her Dining Dollars at places like Pollo Tropical and Jamba Juice and said her dining dollars last her the entire semester and she uses them all.

TruLe’sia James, a freshman international relations major, who lives on campus and has used Dining Dollars for a year, has a completely different view on Dining Dollars.

“This campus is catered to commuters, nothing is open after 8 p.m.” said James.

James said that since she lives on campus and most of the places close after a certain hour, she is forced to spend her dining dollars at expensive stores after hours.

James said that last fall she began using Dining Dollars and had ran out by October and that nobody she knew who has used Dining Dollars ever had any left at the end of the semester. James asserted that the amount of Dining Dollars should be increased in the meal plans offered.

Shari Gayle, junior interior architecture major who used Dining Dollars for three semesters, said she would have excess Dining Dollars at the end of the semester. Gayle said she would “pinch so much during the year,” she would have Dining Dollars saved up and at the end of the semester, would spend the remaining balance at Chili’s and buy the more expensive items that she wanted.