When I was a student at university the meal plan was very simple; I paid an amount up front and for four months I got to eat my fill in the cafeteria three times a day. However, things have changed for my son who just started university. I think the new system gives him too much flexibility to overspend my money.
The food plan my son has is just an account that he can draw on with his student card. Food items have individual prices and the amounts get deducted from his account. We get to guess in advance how much to fill the account with, and he gets to spend it as he wishes. If he makes expensive choices, then I will have the thrilling choice of filling up the account again or letting him go hungry (not likely).
Kids have to grow up eventually, but I was hoping to delay letting him control significant amounts of money until at least his second year. My son is quite sensible, but why let him buy sweatshirts with his food money? I can see how this can become quite expensive for some families. On the other side of this potential overspending the university stands to make some extra money.
I had hoped to be able to prepay all the necessities and tell my son that if he ran out of money for extras, then tough. It looks like this isn’t possible.