Campus News

Students unhappy with food service and financial aid

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Students eat a meal in the Dining Commons. The food service at Bethel received unsatisfactory grades from students during a recent survey about the school’s strengths and weaknesses (Photo provided by Yon Moya).
Students eat a meal in the Dining Commons. The food service at Bethel received unsatisfactory grades from students during a recent survey about the school’s strengths and weaknesses (Photo provided by Yon Moya).
In a recent survey, students marked a low level of personal satisfaction with the food service as well as being unsatisfied with the amount of financial aid they receive. One hundred and thirty-five students were surveyed by Dr. Carolyn Arthur, director of retention, to discover their satisfaction with the college. The survey came from the Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and contained 73 items originally, with ten additional items added by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and Bethel. These items mostly pertained to spiritual growth. In regard to food services, the exact wording from the survey stated, “Meals provided by food service are satisfying and nutritious.” So even if students thought that the meals were satisfying, they could take issue with the nutritious aspect, or vice versa, and mark it as unsatisfactory. “I don’t think there is nearly enough variety,” said junior Emily Dilley, although she likes the food provided. With a meal plan that fluctuates each year, students have become frustrated. Dilley wants the old plan back, “the one where you can use your meals how you want to use them because you paid for them.” She also thinks that guest clicks should be reinstituted, even if that meal comes from an individual’s allotted meal swipes. The college claims to be addressing the problems with the food services, because as Dr. Dennis Crocker, vice-president of academic services has stated, “These challenges are not totally unfamiliar to the college.” Arthur said a committee is in place and is addressing student concerns about campus dining. Students also had a variety of qualms with financial aspects relating to the college, including low satisfaction with financial aid counselors and billing policies. Some, however, are content. “They worked a lot with my financial aid. I feel like (tuition) is expensive, but any Christian private school at all is going to be expensive,” said junior Alyssa Wendler. Of the 135 students surveyed, 61 percent were female and 39 percent were male. Each class was roughly represented by the same amount of students. The survey had two factors, asking students to rank items by their importance to the student and by the student’s level of satisfaction with the item. Strengths of the college were items that students ranked with high importance and a high level of satisfaction, while challenges were items that students ranked with high importance but a low level of satisfaction. “I think the most important thing about the survey (is that) … on almost every scale Bethel students are more satisfied than students at other CCCU schools,” said Arthur. The college has shown improvement from the 2007 survey—an increased number of students are satisfied with the safety of campus and the orientation of new students. Some strengths of Bethel included “My academic adviser is approachable,” “It is an enjoyable experience to be a student on this campus,” and “My understanding of God is being strengthened by classroom or campus experiences.” Sophomore Brenden Aukerman says that his adviser is “extremely” approachable. Aukerman, a business major, is advised by Dr. Pete McCown. With the college informed of students’ opinions, the survey has accomplished its purpose. Students can help improve the college by expressing their opinion in whatever area they believe needs enhancement, such as to Jim Methard for food services or Wanda Runyon for financial aid.
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