Dining Services and the Dining Committee joined forces to create a new meal plan tier for the 2017-2018 academic year: Diplomat Plus. Diplomat Plus meal plans will include 7 buffet meals per week and, most significantly, $1,100 in declining balance dollars.

This plan, which the Dining website states was “designed by students,” answers a common meal plan complaint: swipes are inflexible but mandatory, while declining balance is useful and scarce.

“After hearing from thousands of students through our petition in the fall, working with dining services and students from all across campus throughout this school year, we saw an immediate need for more declining balance and fewer swipes,” ASG Secretary of On-Campus Affairs and member of the Dining Committee, James Oaks, said. “This gives students with fast-paced lifestyles more flexibility.”

Another topic being discussed in Dining Services is a shift in the way that buffet meals are provided. Instead of being given a semester’s worth of meal swipes to be used with varying frequencies, the proposed plan would give only a week of buffet swipes at a time, helping students to better use their meal plans. The plan is unconfirmed but will be discussed in the Dining Committee soon.

Despite being a step toward remedying student complaints about the meal plan, the Diplomat Plus tier still does have trade-offs: specifically, the cost. Compared to the Diplomat Minimum and Diplomat Standard plans, students with the Diplomat Plus plan pay almost twice as much for buffet meals. It all just goes to show — at Miami, a reasonably-priced lunch is hard to come by.