STUDENTS have accused their university of profiting off self-isolating students after the institution began charging them £17.95 for daily meals.
Lancaster University has been slammed for the price of their menu, which is being offered to students forced to quarantine during the pandemic.
A petition has now been launched calling for the university to amend its policy, after furious students said they were paying through the nose for food parcels “worth around £4”.
The packs are described on the university’s website as a meat or vegetarian “Continental breakfast, cold packed lunch and an evening meal”, with dinner to be heated by students themselves.
Students have taken to social media in the past few days to vent their frustrations and share a link to a Change.org page titled “Stop Lancaster University profiting from self-isolating students.”
The petition says: “Lancaster university students who are forced to self-isolate are currently being asked to pay £17.95 per day for food parcels worth just £4.
“A quick pricing breakdown shows that, whilst the initial cost for all of the ingredients in a day comes to roughly £12 (via ASDA), this is the cost for a bulk purchase of everything needed – the real cost per portion comes down to less than £3.
“Factoring in the cost of distribution, this becomes £4.
“These parcels, which include two cold meals for breakfast and lunch, as well as a reheatable dinner, are the only practical way for many to get supplies, given a shortage of delivery slots.”
One Lancaster University student, @bhavreetkd posted to Twitter yesterday (Tuesday): “My university charging £17 a day for food if you have to isolate is an absolute shamble.
“How can they expect everyone on budgets to be able to afford that?
“Oh and £7 if you want someone to come collect and wash your clothes when usually it’d be under £5
“Lancaster university this you yeah? Top 10 and all. Please sign the petition against this food charge!”
@KateTheSaboteur added: “As an alumni of Lancaster University, I want to say this is disgraceful. @LancasterUni sort it out.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “£17 is mine and so many others’ weekly budget. I know very few people who currently have a spare £238 especially seeing as Lancaster have just taken roughly £2000 from students for this term’s rent.
“Absolute shambles from a top UK university.”
Today (Wednesday) a spokeswoman for Lancaster University said: “We have provided an opt-in meal delivery service for any self-isolating students wishing to have fresh food prepared and cooked for them and delivered to their door.
“We are charging less than we would for our normal dining-in restaurant and café offer, despite additional costs of delivery and disposable containers.
“Students are not obliged to use this service and still have access to their own kitchens, alternative shopping and takeout food delivery services.
“The University has also provided students with information about suitable alternative sources of food including supermarket delivery and other local commercial outlets.
“The package consists of three meals per day that are prepared daily by chefs in our kitchen.
“We have kept prices as low as we can without compromising on quality. All allergens and food intolerances are catered for.
“The meal delivery service is an additional provision made available to support students that wish to have their meals provided to them in this way.”