Temple’s Board of Trustees voted last Tuesday to increase meal plan prices by 6 percent. Temple’s Chief Financial Officer, Ken Kaiser said this increase was mostly due to the soda tax, which he expects to cost the university $400,000.
Temple Update reached out to Kaiser multiple times, but he declined to comment.
Mayor Kenney. however, was quick to respond to these allegations by issuing this statement:
“Universities across the country have been raising meal plan fees because families are increasingly chaffing at tuition increases and universities still want to pay for their ever-growing administrative salaries and new, expensive buildings and amenities. Temple’s own administration staff has grown by 40 percent in recent years, they are planning to build a multi-million dollar stadium, their new 24 story dorm includes flat screen TVs, and, sure enough, they have a history of raising their meal plans fees to cover those costs – by 2.5 percent in 2015 and 4.3 percent in 2014.”
That’s what brought the hikes to a halt. Temple University responded with this statement:
“In the wake of the Board’s action, the City and Mayor Kenney have appropriately raised valid concerns about the accuracy of the numbers related to the impact of the soda tax on Temple students who choose the university’s room and board plan for 2017-18. For this reason, the University will review the calculation and impact of the soda tax before enacting the meal plan fee for the coming year. We note in this regard that the soda tax accounts for approximately $68 of the proposed meal plan fee of $1,444.
Finally, we want to make it clear that the University enthusiastically supports the Mayor’s program to expand quality pre-K opportunities for children in Philadelphia. This critically important program is already providing benefits to approximately 1,800 children from every neighborhood, and its objective is directly in line with Temple’s mission to make a quality education accessible to every child.”
The Mayor then commended Temple for agreeing to reconsider the effects of the soda tax.
Some students, however, are still worried. Sophomore Bridget Warlea said any increase would put a strain on her family. “I think it’s really ludicrous that it’s not fair. Especially since we weren’t at the table to make these decisions,” she said.
TSG President Aron Cohen is trying to calm some of these fears. “The average student will pay $68 in taxes due to the soda tax, but if you’re on a 10 meal plan versus a premium meal plan, obviously that will vary, so we’re not charging every student the same fixed dollar amount,” he said.
The Board of Trustees will vote on this topic again, so be sure to stay with Temple Update for more on this developing story.