UEA have changed the price of the meal plan for self-isolating students from £18 a day to £12 a day after intense backlash.
Initially, Campus Kitchen had set up a plan to supply students with food for £252 for 14 days of isolation. Since then, the plan has been reduced to £168. Further criticism came from the only hot meal option having to be reheated.
A second-year Law student stated: “I think when it was initially £252 for first years, it was outrageous. If [first-years] have to live in isolation, when they’re already missing out on the enjoyment of being freshers, they’re now taking even more enjoyment out. They had this idealised view of being university students, and now it’s being ruined by not just coronavirus but by teaching and now money issues”.
A third-year PPL student said: “it’s ridiculous that students are being charged this much, especially first year students who are already being charged extortionate rent, I personally offered to go and buy groceries for those self-isolating.”
A third-year Maths student echoed these thoughts with: “quite frankly, I think it’s ridiculous. They want people to stay isolated and protect the student population, but it’s financially impossible.”
At Bristol University, students are supplied with a seven-day emergency box free of charge, as well as cleaning supplies and access to a laundry service if necessary.
A Bristol University graduate said: “it’s nice the university is supporting its students and it is good encouragement to ensure students actually self-isolate.”
At Leeds University, students can request an emergency food box for £15, containing a loaf of bread, butter, eggs, bananas, clementines, UHT Milk, porridge sachets, cereal, instant soup sachets, rice, beans, tuna, tomatoes, pasta, biscuits, chocolate creams, and lucosade. Additional frozen meals can also be purchased for £10.
A UEA spokesperson stated: “Students are being given assistance to self-isolate and we will continue to review our support to those students, and that includes the cost of the on-campus food delivery service.
“We have changed the charge to £12 a day for the delivery of three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, which equates to £84 a week or £168 for a fortnight. Meals are provided direct to the student household, rather than the block and the typical menu would include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Breakfast includes cereal, morning pastry, fruit salad, yoghurt and fruit juice; Lunch choice of salads or sandwiches, crisps, home-baked cake, fresh fruit, bottled drinks and Dinner – a choice of two main courses in labelled containers to be prepared and reheated in student kitchens, dessert, fresh fruit, soft drinks.
“The food delivery option from on-campus catering services is one choice for students who are in self-catered flats and we will continue to review the package we offer. We will be refunding the students who have already paid.”
An NUS survey conducted in early September reported serious financial issues for many students. One in five students reported a “major impact” on their finances. Half of all students stated the income of someone who financially supports them had also been impacted. 8% of students also stated they had to take out bank loans.