UEA does U-turn on catering prices for self-isolating students after backlash

Two weeks worth of food went from £252 to £168

The University of East Anglia has changed the cost of catering for first year students self-isolating after backlash over the initial price. Two weeks’ worth of three meals a day has gone from £252 to £168.

The food package being offered to students in halls has been criticised for costing £18 a day across the 14 days, yet only including one hot meal.

A post on Facebook page ‘Concrete confessions between UEA seshions’ brought attention to the initial cost. The anonymous poster said: “So uni want to charge us £252 for food for two weeks of self isolation. Why aren’t we kicking off about this???”

The poster also linked a critical tweet by an account called @UW***ings. They wrote: “Just in case you wanted to see what HE disaster capitalism looks like: £252 for a fortnight of cereal, a sandwich, one hot meal.”

A UEA spokesperson said: “Students are being given assistance to self-isolate and we will continue to review our support to those students, and that includes the cost of the on-campus food delivery service.

“From today we have changed the charge to £12 a day for the delivery of three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, which equates to £84 a week or £168 for a fortnight. Meals are provided, with free delivery, direct to the student household, rather than the block and the typical menu would include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Breakfast includes cereal, morning pastry, fruit salad, yoghurt and fruit juice; Lunch choice of salads or sandwiches, crisps, home-baked cake, fresh fruit, bottled drinks and Dinner – a choice of two main courses in labelled containers to be prepared and reheated in student kitchens, dessert, fresh fruit, soft drinks.

“In addition to the emergency meal delivery package Student Services, are able to offer students priority supermarket delivery slots which they can select themselves, and this is alongside commercial online food delivery services for self-isolating students and the campus shop which is offering food deliveries free of charge.

“The food delivery option from on-campus catering services is one choice for students who are in self-catered flats and we will continue to review the package we offer. We will be refunding the students who have already paid.”