Dorm

University of Nebraska regents next week will discuss a new meal plan that officials hope will increase the number of students living in university housing.

Upperclass students living in double-occupancy rooms at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln could get new block meal plan options at lower costs beginning next year.

The NU Board of Regents on Tuesday will set residence hall room and board rates at the university's campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney, as well as the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Varner Hall boardroom at 3835 Holdrege St.

Offering lower-priced meal plans to returning and transfer students will be used as an incentive to keep those students in UNL residence halls, according to the regents' agenda.

While room rates will rise 3.5 percent next year — from $11,044 to $11,430 — students will be allowed to buy cheaper plans with fewer meals.

The "All Access Meal Plan," which replaces the "7-Day Plan," will cost $4,450 annually beginning next year.

The "Red 440 Meal Pack" will offer 220 meals each semester for a total $3,400 next year, a discount of 24 percent from the "All Access Meal Plan," according to the university.

A "White 250 Meal Pack," available to third-year students and above and costing $2,400 annually, would save students 46 percent on meal costs paid to the university over the standard plan.

"(Upperclass) students will see substantial discounts and greater options providing significant savings and greater flexibility in their dining choices," the agenda states. "Kitchens are available in several residence halls allowing students to cook their own meals whenever they choose."

The revised rates will also offer a $500 discount to returning UNL students who choose to live on campus, changing a 1993 program locking students into a room and board rate for their university career.

By offering a flat rate to all students beginning in 2018-19, UNL expects to attract more students to campus.

The proposed increase to UNL's rates will keep costs at the median of its peer institutions, the university said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education.

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