Watching the pennies is an integral part of being a student, so it’s unsurprising that some students at Oxford University weren’t too happy to learn that as of 2013, students will be forced to pay fixed catering charges.
Some of the students have decided to boycott the canteen in protest and members of Magdalen’s Junior Common Room have now set up a soup kitchen and have been cooking for each other so that they don’t have to use the college catering.
Currently, students eat on a pay as you eat basis, however from 2013 the college wants students to pay a fixed catering charge which it says is similar to other institutions in Oxford and Cambridge. However, this could be at the detriment of other students, especially those who come from poorer backgrounds and would prefer to budget themselves within their means and it could even deter them from applying to the college.
It is to be believed that the student boycott is costing the college around £5000 a week which is not ideal for them considering the new charges have been introduced to reduce the annual catering deficit of £600,000.
The new plans mean that students will have to pay a compulsory charge of £150 as well as £150 a term to load up a meal card. Even worse, any unspent credit will not be refunded so students could be left out of pocket during times when they need money for travel and books.
Those students who are not regular users of the cafeteria won’t have to pay the £150 charge, however, they will have to pay an £80 fee per term and those students living out will have to pay £90.
The proposed charges were originally set to be higher but were reduced after protests and the latest strike, lasting for two weeks, has been supported by almost the entire student body and has gathered positive momentum from other institutions.
The charges will make Magdalen College the most expensive to attend when factoring in accommodation and tuition fees as well as living costs and one thing that students certainly don’t need is further expense.
On the other hand, this could be one way for students to obtain healthy and nutritious meals. Voice of the students, we want to hear from you. Are the canteen charges a good way of providing a nutritious meal or a waste of student loan? Comments below.