PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Surviving the Last Two Weeks on Less Than 100 Meal Points

For students living on campus, 13 weeks of Starbucks, Mixed Greens salads, and Nacho Night are rough on a meal plan. Unless your parents let you opt into Food Services’ largest meal plan, level six, chances are you’ll be contacting Mom and Dad soon to add some money, if you haven’t already.

If you’re worried about making those last 70 or so meal points last through finals, don’t fret too much. It’s possible, you just have to be a little more mindful of what you’re buying.


If you get breakfast every day, it shouldn’t cost too much. However, like anything else, watch what you buy. A bagel, cream cheese, and a “hand fruit” (a banana, apple, or orange) from places like The Mix, The Big Onion, or Sisu should come in at around $1.50.

If you eat breakfast every week day between tomorrow (Wednesday) and let’s say the Thursday of Finals Week, that’s twelve meals.

$1.50 x 12 = $18 meal points on breakfast

Lunch & Dinner

It’s easy to think that the best “deal” on lunch and dinner is to eat at the dining commons since you’re able to eat however much you care to for one flat fee. However, if you don’t plan on eating too much, getting a sandwich or a wrap from somewhere like Fresh Express or The Mix may be the wiser choice.

Most sandwiches and wraps at these eateries are priced at a maximum of $6.79, which comes down to $2.38 with the 65% discount. If you were going to get one meal from the a la carte option every day between tomorrow and Thursday of Finals Week, the 16 meals would come out to $38.08 on your meal plan. 

While it may be cheaper in the long run to only eat at a la carte dining areas, it’s still possible to go to the normal commons without over-exhausting your meal points. If you eat dinner ten times between now and the end of Finals Week, it would cost $42.50 on meal points.

If you choose to eat lunch rather than dinner at the commons, meals are only $3.60 each. Weekend brunches, however, are charged at the dinner rate.

Following this plan, you’d get by on $98.58. This obviously doesn’t account for every meal, but let’s be real, most people aren’t going to be eating every meal on campus anyway.

Other Tips

  • Avoid buying convenience store items when possible. Unless they’re prepared by Food Service workers, most items sold don’t get the 65% discount given at dining commons and on a la carte foods.
  • Try not to go for any fourth meal, Nacho/Wing Night, or any late night foods in general. It’s almost swimsuit season anyway.
  • If you’re going to eat at the HUB, don’t use meal points there. You’re only given a 10% discount, the same as LionCash.
  • Some suggest using the take out option at the commons to hoard food and get multiple meals for the price of one. If that’s the route you want to take, then so be it, but know that cashiers are supposed to check to make sure you don’t over stuff containers. If you’re caught, you’ll be double charged.

What are your tips for getting by when your meal plan gets low? Share them in the comments.

About the Author

Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.


More by Ali

If Penn State Were Game of Thrones

In honor of the culmination of another season, we at Onward State found some parallels between Penn State and Game of Thrones.

Distraction of the Day: Duckling Rescue on Video

Post-Grad Life, As Told By Tweets


Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

This year’s sneaker is available to purchase online for $109.99.

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Fall Move-In Traffic & Construction Changes

When 40,000 students need to move back to State College over the course of four days or so, things are bound to get crazy.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend