Higher Education Charging High Prices For Food On Campus

It’s not just drug stores that have boosted prices for grocery items, but also campus dining options at universities. Reader Bryan Carroll wrote an article about them for his school newspaper at Stonybrook University, The Statesman. On average, he found the food items from the campus commissary were a whopping 42 percent higher than local grocery stores.

In his article for the Statesman, Bryan Carroll writes that while strolling through the campus Student Activity Center he noticed that a half-gallon of milk was $3.37, while it could be had for $2.19 at a nearby Target. The perfect compliment to that beverage, Oreo double-stuff cookies, were $8.27 on campus, but only $2.50 at Target.

He continued his research and found that in surveying 26 different items at the Student Activity Center, they were, on average, 42 percent higher than what three local grocery stores were charging.

From a purely supply and demand standpoint, it makes sense. The store has a prime location for its target market and reduced competition. But it also takes advantage of harried and sleep-deprived students who may not have a car or time to go shopping at the local supermarket. Bryan Carroll writes that it raises questions as to whether the vendor is following SUNY’s Procurement Guidelines, which require the school to, “justify and document the selection of the vendor and establish the reasonableness of the price.”

“Perhaps this might give you a new perspective next time you visit the SAC to buy food,” he adds. Yes, college students, you too must do comparison shopping. You need look no further than the book in front of your nose. Have you ever seen the cost of textbooks from the college bookstore compared to what you could buy used on Amazon and elsewhere? It’s crazy!

Questionable Pricing At Campus Dining [The Statesman]

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