Increased food fees cause budget bane

Illustration by Nick Part, Oct. 1, 2014
Illustration by Nick Part, Oct. 1, 2014

Pierce College’s lack of options for lunch and recently-raised prices has put students in a tough predicament that will dissuade them from purchasing meals on campus.

College students not only deal with the pressures of managing their personal and educational lives, but also with the restrictions of having a small variety of food choices offered on campus and raising the costs has limited many students on what they are able to purchase within a tight budget.

Going into effect this semester, the food trucks on campus have an increase on their vendor insurance coverage requested by the Los Angeles Community College District, raising their coverage from $1.5 to $5 million.

This has raised monthly insurance rates for food truck owners from about $300 to $500 per month, according to Minerva Castellon, owner of the Hot Coffee Catering truck.

In addition, vendors are now contracted for a full year instead of renewing their coverage every six months.

This causes food truck vendors to need to purchase produce in larger quantities to keep the costs from passing on to the customers.

Even so, all but one food truck raised prices on meals to subsidize increased cost of operation, causing students to think twice about purchasing an item from these vendors.

Students already have enough expenses for their education that increased food prices aggravates. While it is important to prevent any legal liabilities, doing so at the expense of students is not the way to go.

As for what students can do to stay in their budget, those with their own means of transportation can go off campus looking for better variety while being able to purchase a meal at a lower cost.

Unfortunately, leaving campus to grab something to eat may have its own downfall, since it would require students to find a new parking spot in the crowded lots on and off campus and spend time remembering where they parked as well.

The other alternative would be to bring a packed lunch to Pierce. Although many students may avoid the idea of packing a lunch, it may be a helpful way to save on the costs of buying lunch and saving time driving off campus.

The only problem is students will likely not being able to refrigerate their food, restricting them on what they would be able to pack for lunch.

These are all temporary solutions to Pierce’s rising cost of food and many students are in jeopardy of losing the accessibility of the food trucks on campus.

Until Pierce is able to open a fully-established cafeteria, we may lose the small variety that is offered now.

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The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.