6. Profits for colleges. As states cut budgets, and private colleges scramble to find additional sources of revenue, many college officials are squeezing dining services for more of their profits. Ohio University's dining services, for example, contributed extra money to the college last year to help the reduce a budget gap, says Terry Conry, associate vice president. OU managed to limit its meal plan price increase to just 2 percent in 2010, he says. But, he adds, "We pay a significant portion of our revenues to the university…There is pressure everywhere."
[Read more about the impact of budget cuts on colleges.]
7. Profits for the vendors. Many colleges have turned operation of their dining services over to profit-seeking corporations such as Bon Appétit, Sodexo, or Aramark. Although the companies don't report how much they make from specific college contracts, they tell investors that managing college dining halls is quite profitable. The education sector "continues to show very solid top-line and bottom-line results,” Aramark chief financial officer Fred Sutherland told investors in May 2010, adding that "there is a lot of opportunity, particularly on the retail side inside our existing college campuses."
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