CCU officials aiming to keep housing, meal plan costs stable

The Sun News file photo

Coastal Carolina University students probably won’t have to pay any extra for housing or meals next year, thanks to a new meal plan that keeps costs stable.

The college’s board of trustees approved a new meal plan option Thursday that doesn’t increase from one year to the next.

“We wanted to give students the option to keep their costs stable,” said Stacie Bowie, vice president and chief financial officer.

6 Current number of meal plans offered by CCU

The board’s finance, planning and facilities committee approved the new plan Thursday and the full board will vote on the issue Friday during its general session. The board planned to discuss 2016-17 tuition costs, but because the S.C. legislature is still debating on mandated raises for state employees, university staff couldn’t present any cost scenarios to the board.

The House has a 2 percent raise, and the senate is advocating for a 4 percent raise, Bowie said.

Because the legislature is still uncertain about raises, board member George Mullen questioned approving the stable housing costs before knowing how much tuition has to increase.

“I would ask that we reconsider holding the line on housing, otherwise it would seem like we’re raising tuition at an abnormal rate to keep up with expenses,” Mullen said.

Wyatt Henderson, board chairman, suggested splitting how tuition dollars are spent on housing versus everything else, so everyone can see how it’s all allocated.

Because the legislatures are a little bit far apart with regard to the pay increases they’re recommending for state employees, we just couldn’t possibly present to you any of those scenarios.

Stacie Bowie, CCU vice president and chief financial officer

An existing meal plan – which was also presented to the board – gives students an extra $50 in dining dollars. The optional plan costs $100 more than other plans but gives students “additional services with expanded dining hours,” said Stacie Bowie, vice president chief financial officer.

Those expanded hours mean increased labor costs to Aramark, which provides all food services for the college. Those costs are directly absorbed by the university, so $50 of the $100 increase goes toward paying those costs, Bowie said.

Coastal currently offers six meal plans, and all freshmen and sophomores who live on campus must have one.

The committee passed the motion with Natasha Hanna voting against it. The full board votes on it Friday.

“We need to get those motions established, which allows financial aid and housing departments to get a jump on what they need to do,” Bowie said.

Izabel Dorst, sophomore theater major at CCU, said the college needs to grow their endowment funds so students have more opportunities to succeed and Coastal can be recognized nationally.

Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN