Exclusive: Sussex is charging international freshers £25 for a £8.46 Welcome Box

Or they can get a two-week meal plan, costing £420

Sussex is charging international freshers £25 for a welcome box that costs £8.46, The Sussex Tab can reveal.

International students at The University of Sussex are beginning to make their way back onto campus, and some have to quarantine on arriving back to the UK.

The University has offered these students support throughout their stay, including a variety of meal plans. Students who are isolating for the entire two weeks have been offered a 14 day meal plan which costs £30 a day, totalling up to £420 for the entire two weeks. Another option for students who are isolating for only one week is a seven day meal plan, again this costs £30 a day and totals up to £210 for the entire week. Each meal a day costs around £10, the University has provided an example menu for each day:

Students who require help for their first 48 hours on campus can order the £25 ‘Welcome Box’ with all the essentials needed for their first two days on campus. One student told The Sussex Tab the items they received in the box: Four noodle packs, oats, cereal, sugar, tea, four nut bars, two apples, two pears, four single use plates and some shop branded biscuits.

The Sussex Tab took to ASDA’s online shopping system and added up all the items students will receive in this £25 box.

Four noodle packs – £2.80

One porridge pot – £0.35

Two small boxes of Kellogs cereal – £0.56

1kg bag of Silver Spoon sugar – £0.65

40 PG Tips tea bags – £1.25

Four cereal bars – £1.33

Two apples – £0.32

Two pears – £0.76

Shop branded custard creams – £0.44

This meant the total shop accumulated to £8.46 instead of the University’s sales price of £25.

The Sussex Tab spoke to the Universities International students SU officer, Ijlal Khalid, who stressed his disappointment in the University. He stated: “I think it is absolutely irresponsible of the University to charge International students this extortionate amount of money in a time when students are going through personal financial pressures themselves. As the institution and campus that so many students come to call their home while they are here in the UK, the University has a duty of care to its students, especially, to those who travel across the globe for their education.

“The university purports itself to be an institution that is here to support its students during these trying times, instead their actions show that they view students as money making tools, treat them as commodities and aim to profit off of people’s welfare and safety. The University should follow the example of universities like Bath, who are offering free meals to their quarantining international students. The Students’ Union will raise this issue with the university’s senior management and advocate on the students’ behalf.”

A spokesperson for The University of Sussex stated that the pricing is fair as it also covers packaging and delivery. They exclusively told The Sussex Tab: “We are here to support all students who need to isolate upon arrival at the University and we are providing them with lots of information and a variety of services. This includes providing students with on-campus accommodation completely free of charge for the duration of their isolation period.

“We are signposting to local supermarkets with online delivery, local food delivery services, takeaways, and the Students’ Union’s food options, which can also be delivered. We also offer a completely optional meal plan via SussexFood for those who would prefer a fully-catered service direct to their accommodation. The plan is priced to cover its costs, which include preparation, packing and delivery twice a day.  Each day students receive three meals, a selection of drinks and snacks – to ensure they are completely catered for.”