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What to Know About the Cost of Paying for Meals in College

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,854 Senior Member
"Some college meal plans can cost more than $6,000 for one academic year. ... Meals that are provided regularly make up the "board" in room and board rates at colleges and universities. Data on board rates collected by the U.S. Department of Education show that four-year public institutions charged full-time students slightly more than $4,400 on average during the 2015-2016 school year. Four-year private institutions charge even more – around $5,600 on average – according to the Education Department's data." ...


Replies to: What to Know About the Cost of Paying for Meals in College

  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 Registered User Posts: 4,009 Senior Member
    Board costs are very high. When I divided it out per meal, including the value of the "bucks" that could be used at the campus coffee shop and other places, it came out to be about $13.50 per meal. I realize it varies a lot by kid, but my tiny daughter does not eat $27.00 to $40.50 in food per day! In fact she now lives in an apartment style dorm with no meal plan and spends about $35.00 per week on groceries. That's substantial savings over 9 months, and she is becoming a fantastic cook in the process.
  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 Registered User Posts: 3,832 Senior Member
    It's a rip-off and makes me furious!
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 2,991 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    At UC-Berkeley, where nearby off-campus housing for a average one-bedroom apartment can easy go over $3K a month, it’s a bit surprising that room and board is pretty reasonable IMO. $16,800 for the whole year for the standard dorms.

    The board part of it, if I calculate it right, comes out to around $1250 a semester for 12 meals a week (use it or lose it for the week), or $1850 for unlimited meals. It also includes some dollars for use in the canteens and mini-markets. Pretty much the same pricing as everywhere else around the country from the looks of it. The breakout, IIRC, is $7 for breakfast, $8 for lunch and $9 for dinner. Paying by cash for lunch for outsiders is $11, I think the same for dinner.
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