Meal plan exemption

Students who live on-campus in the college residence halls are required to have campus meal plan. Because of the limitations of the College’s facilities, students who practice a recognized religion or who have a documented medical condition, either of which requires a specific diet that cannot be accommodated by Earlham College, may be exempted from the meal plan requirement. An approved meal plan exemption lasts for an academic year; the student must re-request the meal plan exemption each academic year with updated documentation. Meal plan exemptions are not granted solely on the basis of the student’s status as a vegetarian/vegan or that food service does not meet a student’s personal food preferences.

For more information about dining plans and their costs, visit the housing costs and meal plans page.

Meal Plan Exemption Application Process

Students applying for a meal plan exemption are required to submit the form linked below. Depending on the reason(s) you are applying for a meal plan exemption, you may be asked to submit supplemental documentation to support your request. See the section below for more information about the specific reasons students may qualify for an exemption and the documentation you’ll be asked to submit for each reason.

Students submitting a Meal Plan Exemption Request are encouraged to discuss this with the Office of Financial Aid, as exemption from the meal plan requirement will result in a reduction of your cost of attendance which has the potential to impact your financial aid package.  Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss the implications of the meal plan exemption.

Deadline

Meal plan exemption requests for a given academic year should be submitted no later than July 1. After the July 1 deadline, newly confirmed students will be allowed a two-week period after their confirmation to complete and submit a meal plan exemption request. 

Requests after the July 1 deadline will be reviewed by the Office of Residence Life within 5-10 business days.

Exemption reasons and required documentation

Below are the reasons students may be eligible for a meal plan exemption and the supporting documentation that will need to be submitted for each reason when completing the Meal Plan Exemption Request Form.

Students who have a documented medical condition that requires a specific diet that cannot be accommodated by Dining Services may be exempted from the meal plan requirement.

Students seeking a medical exemption from the campus meal plan will be asked to have a medical provider submit documentation of their condition directly to the Office of Residence Life using the Care Provider Certification Form, including any dietary requirements the student may have as a result of the documented medical condition. No additional documentation is required from the student.

Documentation not accepted:

  • Letters written by healthcare providers who are related to the student or who are not caring for the student in an official capacity.
  • Physician’s notes recommending exemption from the meal plan requirement without any additional information to support the recommendation.
  • Self-diagnosis or family diagnosis of food allergies, nonceliac gluten intolerance or other diagnosis without supporting medical corroboration.

Medical exemption requests will not be reviewed until both parts of the request are received:

  1. The student submitted Meal Plan Exemption Request Form.
  2. The care provider submitted the Care Provider Certification Form as documentation of the student’s medical condition and dietary needs.

Care providers can email completed documentation to [email protected] or send a fax to (765) 983-1552.

Students who practice a recognized religion that requires a specific diet that cannot be accommodated by Dining Services may be exempted from the meal plan requirement.

Students seeking an religious exemption from the campus meal plan will be asked to respond to the following questions to support their exemption request:

  • What recognized religion do you practice?
  • What are dietary restrictions for practicing this religion?
  • How long (for what time period, if limited to a finite set of time) are these dietary restrictions in place?

Policies and procedures

Within the broad context of Principles and Practices, the Residence Life program is shaped by a view of residence halls and houses as learning environments. Because of the positive impact the on-campus, residential environment has on the learning process and the College curriculum, Earlham College requires all students to live in approved on-campus, Earlham College housing facilities.

Students living within on-campus residence halls are also required to have a College meal plan that includes at least 10 meals per week. Furthermore, students who are designated with the enrollment status of “first year” are required to have the minimum of the offered 19 Meal Plans for their first semester at Earlham College.

Students who have a documented medical condition for which they are prescribed dietary restrictions or whose religious practice requires a specific diet that cannot be accommodated by Earlham College may request to be exempt from the meal plan requirement.

An approved meal plan exemption shall be issued for the current or upcoming academic year; the student must request a meal plan exemption each academic year with up-to-date documentation.

A meal plan exemption will not be granted solely on the basis of the student’s status as a vegetarian/vegan or due to the College’s Dining Services not meeting a student’s personal food preferences

To begin the meal plan exemption request process, students should submit the Meal Plan Exemption Request Form, including all supporting documentation required to verify the request as outlined in the form. Once submitted, students will receive an email confirming the submission of their request. If no confirmation email is received, please contact Residence Life ([email protected]) to confirm receipt.

Once the Meal Plan Exemption Request Form and all supporting documentation is received, we will review the request and supporting documentation in partnership with Dining Services and will either approve the request in full, approve the request partially, deny the request or ask for additional information. We’ll send this decision to the student via their Earlham email.

For consideration for the fall semester, all requests received by July 1 will be processed by July 15. Subsequent requests after the July 1 deadline will be processed within 5-10 business days.

For consideration for the spring semester, all requests received by November 1 will be processed by November 15. Subsequent requests after the November 1 deadline will be processed within 5-10 business days.

Exemption requests must be resubmitted annually for each year that a student wants to remain exempt.

All meal plan exemption requests should be submitted by: July 1 for the fall semester or November 1 for the spring semester.

If a request is submitted after this date, please note that even if you are granted a full exemption you may not receive the full refund of your assigned meal plan.

If a request is submitted after bills are due, you are expected to still pay for the meal plan until your exemption request has been processed and reviewed, or you will receive an accounting hold on your student account.

Depending on the date of approval, the refund amount prorated will be based on the starting date of the Earlham academic calendar as follows:

Through the end of week Refund percentage
1 94%
2 88%
3 82%
4 76%
5 70%
6 64%
7 58%
8 52%
9 46%
10 40%
11 34%
12 28%
13 22%
14 16%
15 10%
16 4%

Students wishing to appeal a decision to deny their meal plan exemption request can submit a written appeal to the director of residence life within five (5) business days of the decision being sent to the student. This appeal should be sent via email to [email protected] or mailed directly to the Office of Residence Life.

In the appeal, the student should clearly and concisely articulate why they believe the On-Campus Meal Plan Exemption Policy and its definitions applies to their situation, to include providing any additional information or documenation that was not shared in the original meal plan exemption request.

The director of residence life will review the appeal and respond, in writing, and their decision is final.

More information and resources

The Office of Residence Life works behind the scenes to keep you safe, healthy and fulfilled throughout your journey at Earlham College. Whether you are looking for academic advice, a shoulder to lean on, or opportunities for personal and professional growth, our team is here to support you through it all.

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