Temple reviewing impact of soda tax on meal plan

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Philadelphia's beverage tax is again at the center of a controversial and confusing price hike in the city. (WPVI)

Philadelphia's beverage tax is again at the center of a controversial and confusing price hike in the city.

This time, it's a change impacting college students at Temple University.

Next August, when dorms at Temple fill up for the 2017-2018 school year, students will face higher room and board costs compared to this year.

Temple now says roughly $136 of that hike will be a result of the Philadelphia beverage tax which it now expects to cost the university about $400,000 more a semester.

Current students who use a Temple meal plan were surprised and not particularly pleased when they found out the news.

"To raise the prices because of the fact the sweeten beverage tax is pretty scary. It's like what else am I going to do? I am going to have to go to Fresh Grocer now," student Kaicey Baylor said.

"I probably won't get a meal plan next year," student Avari Holden said.

On Tuesday, a staffer for the mayor blasted Temple, accusing it of using the tax as a scapegoat.

Now, Temple says it will review the calculation and impact of the soda tax before enacting the meal plan fee.

In a statement late Wednesday, Temple conceded Mayor Jim Kenny had "raised valid concerns about the accuracy of the numbers related to the impact of the soda tax on Temple students."

The full statement from Temple to Action News:

In the wake of the Board's action yesterday, the City and Mayor Kenney have appropriately raised valid concerns about the accuracy of the numbers related to the impact of the soda tax on Temple students who choose the university's room and board plan for 2017-18. For this reason, the University will review the calculation and impact of the soda tax before enacting the meal plan fee for the coming year. We note in this regard that the soda tax accounts for approximately $68 of the proposed meal plan fee of $1,444.

Finally, we want to make it clear that that the University enthusiastically supports the Mayor's program to expand quality pre-K opportunities for children in Philadelphia. This critically important program is already providing benefits to approximately 1,800 children from every neighborhood, and its objective is directly in line with Temple's mission to make a quality education accessible to every child.


While Temple is checking its numbers, other Philadelphia colleges are looking at the tax impact.

LaSalle University says it has not decided what to do as it's still working on its budget.

Drexel says it isn't planning to raise its board rates, but will likely increase beverage prices at retail locations.

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newsphiladelphia newstemple universitysoda taxbeverage taxNorth Philadelphia
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