The availability of meal equivalency for the fall semester will increased after Student Government Association representatives lobbied for an extension.
The 5-8 p.m. time window has been lengthened by an hour, and students can now use their meal equivalency from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The value of breakfast meal equivalency has also been increased from $4.05 to $4.35, and lunch and dinner meal equivalency has been increased from $4.55 to $4.85.
The new POD Market location in the library, which has replaced the old corner store next to Starbucks, will offer a special late night meal equivalency option from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
SGA President Jake Baker, a senior in political science, said the changes are intended to simplify student dining options.
"This will make it easier for students to use their meal plan when and where they want," Baker said.
Although the changes have made meals easier to acquire, some students bemoan a perceived lack of quality.
Adrien Raucoules, junior in mechanical engineering who has had a meal plan for the last three years, said although the extended hours and values are appreciated, they do not solve the real problem.
"The supposed 'increase' in value does not compensate for the lack of quality presented by the dining halls," Raucoules said. "If I get a meal plan, it will be the bare minimum."
Baker addressed the concerns about food quality, pointing to a recent campaign titled the "Real Food Challenge" that hopes to increase the amount of organic and locally grown food on campus.
"The quality of food is definitely a concern for a lot of students, but Dining Services has been working to bring in greater variety while also accomodating students with dietary restrictions," Baker said. "UT has a student nutritionist that can help you create a meal plan if you are vegan, gluten free, if you have allergies, etc.
"I think a lot of students will be happy to see meal equivalency increased at the national brands, because it is definitely true that many students do not enjoy the cafeteria food as much."