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The Big DDS Money

There are few things that students hate more than Dartmouth Dining Services. In moving from optional mealplans through the late 90’s, to mandatory plans with à la carte ordering up until about two years ago, to today’s all-you-can-eat food at high prices, no subject elicits more anger.

The tension racheted up a notch when in 2011 this space posted DDS manager Dave Newlove’s LinkedIn page on which he boasted that the dining hall was making record profits — just before à la carte dining was ended as part of the Kim budget cuts:

Newlove.jpg

But it gets worse. For even as the Kim administration cut costs by going to all-you-can-eat, it racheted up prices so as to rake in even more income from students. Sound familiar?

Revenue from DDS and housing can be found in the College’s accounts under auxiliary income:

Auxiliary Income1.jpg

These figures are all cash income, coming directly from students’ pockets. Recall that financial aid is accounted for higher up in the table of accounts. In Fiscal 2013, DDS and ORL income increased by $5,293,0000 last year, the biggest single-year jump in auxiliary income ever recorded:

Aux Table Chart Comp1.jpg

Given that this huge increase came about as DDS was cutting costs by eliminating à la carte cashiers, one can expect that Dave Newlove is thrilled by DDS’ current profits. How high are they? I’d wager well north of $5,000,000 each year.

Addendum: Under New Hampshire law, Dartmouth’s dining halls and dormitories are charged property tax by the Town of Hanover and the State. Fair enough. The College pays no property tax on educational buildings, and it saves a lot of dough compared to other Ivy schools in not paying state sales tax on its purchases. Live free or die. Of course, everyone is happy to avoid state income tax; take home pay is therefore that much higher in New Hampshire.

However students are shafted in that these taxes — which should be considered levies on the entire institution — are incorporated into DDS’ budget (just as taxes on the dorms are in ORL’s housing budget), thereby obliging the College’s bean counters to ramp up the cost of dining. That said, the real reason for the high cost of DDS is the staff’s miles-above-the-market compensation, as you know.

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