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Meal Plan Costs Tick Upward as Students Pay for More Than Food – The New York Times

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Before his 35-mile commute through Appalachian hills to classes here at the University of Tennessee, Michael Miceli eats a gigantic breakfast. It is his way of getting through the day without spending money on a campus lunch.

Food deprivation is merely one trick Mr. Miceli uses to minimize his college debt, now creeping past $22,000. So the $300 bill he got from the university this semester — for food — sent him into a tailspin.

“I was in near panic at the thought of having to borrow more money,” said Mr. Miceli, 23, a linguistics major.