Paying for College

College Meal Plans

I remember the first time I ate in a college cafeteria. I was visiting a prospective campus with my Dad and part of our tour provided us with a lunch in the lower level of the (then) student union building. I noted that there wasn't a whole lot of difference between my high school cafeteria and this college's eating facilities. Maybe the kids were older and the tables and food offerings were a bit different, but overall things weren't much more exciting, as I had anticipated.

A couple decades later, when we took our first born to tour colleges, I was shocked to see how far the art of collegiate food service had come. The atmosphere was almost that of a restaurant, or at least a snazzy sidewalk cafe. There were several serving lines, each featuring various entrees, desserts, and beverages. A small army of courteous servers eagerly offered their goodies to ravenous, upbeat undergraduates. What a contrast to my tour lunch, where I stood in line like a boot camp recruit and slid components of the lunch of the day (no substitutions, thank you) onto my well worn tray. Just like high school.

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