Undergrads on financial aid to receive 600 extra food points this year amid inflation, rising Duke Dining prices

All undergraduate students receiving Duke grant aid through the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support received an additional 300 food points for the fall semester on Wednesday, according to a message sent to eligible students in DukeHub.

At the start of the spring semester, 300 more food points will be added to these students’ accounts, for a total of 600 additional food points over the course of the 2022-23 academic year. Any unused food points for the fall will roll over to the spring.

Students do not need to take any action to access these points, since they are added to food point balances automatically. Students living off-campus will also receive the additional points automatically. The additional allocation cannot be reimbursed as cash for any eligible students.

The Karsh Office defines grant aid as “money you don’t have to pay back,” including institutional grants from Duke, federal or state grants and scholarships or grants from outside sources. All institutional grants from the University are need-based.

The message noted that some students may not be able to access their additional points immediately, and may have to wait a few days. If students do not see the points by Oct. 24, they are instructed to contact the Karsh Office.

Miranda McCall, assistant vice provost and director of the Karsh Office, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that this additional allocation was made “in response to student concerns about increased dining costs resulting from the nation's inflation and supply chain challenges.” 

The 600 food point figure was determined by calculating the difference between anticipated and current dining costs, according to McCall. 

Sophomore Jax Nalley, vice president of academic affairs for Duke Student Government, serves on the Karsh Student Advisory Board. He said that the Advisory Board has been advocating for the Karsh Office to take action on the issue of “food point equity” since the beginning of the year. 

“A month into school, we were beginning to get feedback that students were having a hard time feeding themselves if they were on Plan A, for example. Or if they just hadn't planned for the inflation that occurred at the beginning,” Nalley said.

Every eligible student, regardless of their current food plan, will receive the same addition because the Karsh Office wanted to keep an “equity focus,” according to Nalley. 

“It was important to do a single university solution that didn’t require students to do any extra work,” Nalley said. 

He noted that the impression he got from conversations with the Karsh Office was that this addition would be a “one-time fix.”

McCall wrote that the total cost to Duke of the additional food point allocation is yet to be determined, and will be totaled at the end of the fiscal year.

Anisha Reddy | Senior Editor

Anisha Reddy is a Trinity junior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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