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M&G dollars on deadline

Hard-pressed to use up their dollars, students still find discounts at eateries

 by Andre Radzischewski
 published on Thursday, April 24, 2008

<b>TIME IS RUNNING OUT:</b> Japanese senior Mathew Drew checks out at the Memorial Union market Wednesday afternoon. M&G dollars expire July 31, causing many students to rush to spend before the semster ends. /issues/news/704971
John Battaglia / THE STATE PRESS
TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Japanese senior Mathew Drew checks out at the Memorial Union market Wednesday afternoon. M&G dollars expire July 31, causing many students to rush to spend before the semster ends.
 

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ASU's food provider Aramark is offering M&G users a 10-percent discount on Thursdays at many of its dining locations, but many students are struggling to spend all their remaining money, not save it.

Many students buy meal plans with M&G dollars, which they can use at on-campus cafeterias and markets. But if they don't spend the balance they have on their cards by July 31, they will lose the M&G dollars they have already paid for.

Krystal Nelson, a marketing manager for Aramark, the company that operates ASU's dining facilities, said in an e-mail that all M&G dollars not used by that date will be forfeited and all accounts will be reset on Aug. 1, which means users will lose whatever balance they have in their accounts at that time.

"All students are encouraged to spend [and] budget wisely during the semester," Nelson said. "This is especially true for [freshmen]."

Hilary Waterman, a chemical engineering sophomore, said she had more than $100 in excess M&G dollars last year and ended up spending it on a food party and Domino's pizza.

"This year, I discovered Starbucks," Waterman said.

Thanks to a 7:40 a.m. class, Waterman said she only has $50 left to spend and is confident she will use that amount up by the July 31 deadline.

Still, she thinks it would be better to simply provide on-campus students the option, not requirement, to purchase meal plans.

Amy Kaufman, a tourism management and development sophomore, said she felt the same way.

"I just don't want to deal with meal plans," Kaufman said.

If M&G dollars did not expire at the end of the academic year, she said she would consider getting an account because it allows students to purchase items tax-free.

Devil's Market cashier Karla Tapia said about 85 percent of her customers pay with M&G.

"Some of them are worried about it," Tapia said, referring to the deadline for spending M&G Dollars.

Other than the 10-percent-off promotion, the market wasn't making any special preparations to accommodate last-minute shoppers in the final days of the semester, Tapia said.

Brendan Corrigan, a member of the Residence Hall Association, said he failed to persuade the company to let M&G users carry their balances over into the fall semester during the association's negotiations about new meal plan options with Aramark earlier this year.

"M&G is basically going to stay the same," Corrigan said.

However, students will now be able to switch meal plans throughout the semester including plans with fewer M&G dollars which should make it easier for them to find the plan that fits them, Corrigan said.

Five out of six of the new meal plans will include M&G dollar next year, according to Aramark, but the basic meal plan will give them the chance to instead choose a set amount of meals only.

Reach the reporter at: andre.radzischewski@asu.edu.



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