On Monday, Jan. 29, NSU students received an email notifying them that their SharkCards will now be accepted as a form of payment at on-campus Pepsi and Canteen vending machines and two CVS locations near the Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus. However, students are not able to use their declining balance funds for these off-campus purchases; they are only able to add money to their cards with a debit or credit card at SharkFunds.
“Declining balance is reserved for on-campus use only. They can only use it at food service locations,” explained Vernol Robinson, director of SharkCard services. “One of the reasons why it was set up that way was because, for food services, that cost allows them to offset their original costs for all the food and preparation — so the declining balance has to stay on campus.”
In other words, when students pay for declining balance, those funds go directly to Shark Dining for supplies and labor costs, making it necessary to keep on campus.
Some students, however, still wish there were more options for locations at which they can use their SharkCards and declining balance.
Jessica Williams, a freshman psychology major, expressed that, as someone with food allergies, the simple task of finding food she can eat on campus poses some difficulties.
“I think that there’s a good idea behind it, but I don’t think they’ve quite reached where they need to be with that,” said Williams. “I understand that the declining balance funds are supposed to go towards our meals. However, they’re not providing students with enough options for meals to make it a sustainable amount of money.”
Other students expressed similar sentiments.
“I live near West Chester University, and they have the Ram Card. They have a specific allotted amount coming from their tuition that is specifically to be used at outside locations,” said Mykella Mitchell, a graduate business student. “They’re able to go to the supermarket, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, different things like that for other purposes outside of their school.”
Robinson, however, said that this on-campus-only for declining balance policy is not unique to NSU.
“If you look at benchmark any other university that is comparable to NSU, they have similar programs. You do have funds that are restricted for on-campus use only, and then you have other avenues whereabout you can put funds so you can use it for other things.”
Robinson also stated that these locations were added due to student interest expressed in past town hall meetings.
According to Robinson, SharkCard services will soon begin working towards adding new locations. He said students can look forward to potentially being able to use their SharkFunds at places like Wendy’s, Blaze Pizza, Burger King, Tijuana Taxi and several more, as the office was recently approved to continue to expand the service.
For more information, visit the SharkCard services desk in the one-stop shop in the Horvitz Administration building.