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Eating on campus doesn’t have to mean hitting the cafeteria. Many of D.C.’s local colleges allow students to spend dining dollars at restaurants—or food trucks—around town, which may help explain the packs of college kids you’ll soon spot in line at a fast-casual spot near you. Here’s a look at what some of the plans allow.
American University Cost: $200 to $2,850 per academic year. Total number of off-campus options: 25 Most expensive off-campus option: With an average minimum of $15 for delivery, using Take-out Taxi will definitely eat up plenty of a student’s meal plan budget. As could shopping at allowed vendor Whole Foods. Farthest option: Wingos in Georgetown—though students living on campus can order food from as far away as the Qdoba in North Bethesda or a number of Dupont Circle-area restaurants because American allows use of Take-out Taxi. Weirdest item you can buy with plan: Tie between Vamoose bus tickets or the opportunity to get your nails done at Tenley Nails. AU students must love pizza: Manny & Olga’s, Domino’s, Pizza Movers, Papa John’s, Angelico’s Pizza, and Pizza Boli’s all take Eagle Bucks.
Georgetown University Cost: $885 to $2,519.50 per semester Total number of off-campus options: 0 While Georgetown has a King Kong–sized dining facility on campus in its Leo O’Donovan Hall, as well as a few retail dining spots like Cosi and Elevation Burger, students can’t take meal plan dollars into the surrounding neighborhood.
George Washington University Cost: $1,000 to $3,400 per academic year Total number of off-campus options: More than 90 Most expensive off-campus option: While GW doesn’t have the expensive Take-out Taxi option, being a Colonial on a meal plan virtually guarantees ready access to an expensive burger. Options include Bobby’s Burger Palace, Burger Tap and Shake, and Shake Shack. Farthest option: GW’s meal plan is accepted at the Tasty Kabob food truck, which sometimes ventures as far as Arlington. Weirdest item you can buy with plan: Cosmetic dentistry. Colonials can use their meal plan dollars to get a teeth brightening or any other service at Ingber Dental. The plan also allows two Safeways, a Whole Foods, a 7-Eleven, two farmers’ markets, and 11 different CVS locations.
Howard University Cost: $785 to $2,070 per semester Total number of off-campus options: 0 All Bison Bucks must be spent at the school, but there are more than 10 spots to eat on campus.
The University of the District of Columbia Cost: $0. No meal plan exists for students at the District’s only public university—most of whom commute to the school from elsewhere in the city, so that’s probably no surprise. Total number of off-campus options: There’s plenty of food to be had in Van Ness, but no meal plan with which to purchase it.