Meal plan or meal scam? How do students feel about the meal swipe downgrade?

by Cate Rabaya

According to sources from UCLA Dining, once pre-pandemic staffing levels are put into effect, the value of the meal swipes will decrease by over 50% of its initial value. The spokesperson in the emailed statement highlighted that the current value of the swipe was enforced due to “pandemic-era capacity issues.” Moving forward, swipes will hold a value of $3.73 alongside an additional $0.60 contribution from ASUCLA to support students during this time.

UCLA prides itself as being ranked number one for “Best College Food in America,” according to However, due to changes in dining services, like fewer food truck options and the new meal swipe downgrade, students are beginning to question whether or not they’re getting enough value out of their meal plans.

Denise Diaz, a first year student majoring in political science, expressed her thoughts on this new change. She said, “My first thought was the fact that no food is worth less than nine dollars not even at $4. I thought it was a big unnecessary change.” Diaz also said, “We pay so much money for a meal plan that it should hold value in places that aren’t just the Hill.”

When asked how this change will impact students, Apar Mahajan, a first year student majoring in computer science and engineering, said, “People who have classes around lunchtime who cannot afford to go back up the Hill will be forced to pay extra at ASUCLA stores to cover the extra cost of their swipes.”

Mahajan feels like this switch will influence where he decides to eat. “In terms of eating on campus, I’m going to probably eat only at Epic at Ackerman which I feel like a lot of people would do. It would already overwhelm a restaurant that’s already overwhelmed,” he said.

Additionally, Zachary Borazjani, a first year student double majoring in political science and linguistics and computer science said, “I feel like UCLA should try to keep swipes at $9 and try to balance their book as well as trying to see what they can do on the budget end of things.”

Diaz also mentioned, “UCLA should increase the price of the swipe, even $9 isn’t a lot to ask for.” She added, “They should also allow students to use their swipes at the market to purchase health amenities.”

Countless students are frustrated about this meal swipe change as it adds an extra inconvenience when deciding where to eat. UCLA Dining has not officially announced when this change will be implemented, but students across campus already feel like their meal plans aren’t equating to a high enough value.

Featured Image Photographed by Julia Gu/BruinLife

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