Returning Montclair State University residents in traditional housing may have noticed the absence of Red Hawk Dollars in their required meal plan. The program still exists but is no longer offered in meal plans.
Red Hawk Dollars are prepaid credit that students use for on-campus purchases ranging from food to books. They can also be used at certain off-campus locations that participate in the program, like the Applebee’s in Clifton or Tinga in Upper Montclair.
Manager of Dining Services James Robinson said that Red Hawk Dollars have been included in meal plans for the past three years as a trial to launch the university’s off-campus merchant program.
This past spring a decision was made to only include Flex dollars in meal plans, which are used solely for food items on campus, whereas Flex and Red Hawk Dollars used to be offered together.
Robinson said Dining Services is working to create new technology that lets students enroll in, cancel or change meal plans through smartphones, tablets and computers.
“The goal is to eliminate the need for paper forms,” Robinson said. “The new technology can only accept one form of tender associated with a meal plan, and that tender will be Flex Dollars.”
Students have taken to social media to complain about the disappearance of Red Hawk Dollars in meal plans, including the fact that they used the Red Hawk Dollars they had to pay for things like Winter Ball and Spring Bash.
Yeah and I have no idea why bc that’s how majority pays for winter ball/spring bash/school apparel/etc.
— benks 𓁹 (@justcaitlynn) July 11, 2018
A Montclair State Twitter account responded stating why the Red Hawk Dollars were removed from meal plans and how they are still purchasable.
Hi there! Red Hawk Dollars were removed to give students more control when enrolling, purchasing, or changing a meal plan. We will be rolling out a new meal plan app in the future that will allow students to do just that right from their mobile phone, lap top, or computer.
— MSU Auxiliary Services (@MSU_AuxServices) September 6, 2018
Transfer student Benjamin Berube, residing in The Village, said that although he is not required to purchase a meal plan, he does have one and he has no issue with Red Hawk Dollars being removed because he is prepared to buy nonfood items with his own money.
“I could see how that’s frustrating if you are a student and that’s taken away,” Berube said.
Junior Blanton Hall resident Lauretta Valerie said the change is inconvenient because she used to be able to buy nonfood items with her required meal plan.
“You could purchase off-campus things with [Red Hawk Dollars], and I feel like that was the most convenient thing for me,” Valerie said. “Also, you could use it in the bookstore, and you can’t use Flex in the bookstore.”
Robinson said Red Hawk Dollars can be purchased through the app eAccounts, or if students have refundable credit on their NEST account, they can transfer the money into Red Hawk Dollars.