Bon Appetit has ended a policy of allowing students at Seattle University to use meal plan money to purchase gift cards as a way to utilize unused funds at the end of quarters, reports the Spectator campus paper. The gift card program originally was implemented about five years ago as a way for students at a nearby language school to be able to purchase meals when they are on campus to take classes. However, SU students soon found out that the cards could be purchased with meal plan money. Pretty soon, it became a popular way to keep from losing the funds once a term ends, so popular in fact that it began to threaten the meal plan’s financial structure.
The policy change was announced after the deadline to change meal plans, but the university and Bon Appetit then extended that deadline to give students who had originally purchased plans with the understanding that they could cash in unused funds on gift cards the opportunity to switch to smaller plans that would better fit their planned meal usage.