Purchasing the same cheese quesadilla in the Student Center Dining Hall costs students a different price, depending on how they pay.
Temple subscribes to a policy in which students making any food purchases with cash are charged 7 percent state tax, but if students use their Diamond Dollars, the sales tax is waived.
Temple Dining Services is managed and supplied through the French-based company, Sodexho.
Under Pennsylvania law, any eating establishment that is open to the public is required to charge its customers seven percent sales tax.
Any dining facility of a private nature, like schools and churches, are non-taxable.
In Temple’s case, students are exempt from the tax.
But the catch is that the Student Center is both a private and public facility, although it is not advertised as such.
Therefore, students using their meal plan or Diamond Dollars, thus proving their enrollment in the university, are not charged sales tax. But anyone who uses another form of payment is obliged to pay the tax.
“This is a regulation mandated by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and they allow meal plans and Diamond Dollars to be exempt from the state tax,” stated Tom Rosier, resident general manager of Sodexho. “There is no way that we could prove to the state that a person is a Temple student without him utilizing a meal plan or Diamond Dollars.”
Some students think the policy is unfair, as there are Temple students who pay with cash.
Should they be charged the seven percent tax if they are matriculated students, regardless of how they pay?
“I think it’s kind of rough,” exclaimed sophomore Steven Grabey. “If the school is going to tax some people, they should tax everybody.”
Some students, like nursing major Courtney Conrad, did not seem to have any qualms about the policy. “I don’t use cash at the SAC, so it doesn’t bother me,” she said.
Sodexho understands that some students are being taxed for Temple purchases, yet remain unyielding on their policy’s guidelines.
The Director of Marketing for Temple Dining Services, Chandler Gotschlich, maintains that the taxing system is, however, fair to the school’s affiliates. “The policy is to benefit the students,” Gotschlich said.
In research done concerning colleges in the Philadelphia area, the University of Pennsylvania responded that it subscribes to the same policy.
Penn State does not attach sales tax to any dining hall purchases and also noted that very few of their students pay with cash.
Jesse North can be reached at email@example.com.