As the semester winds to a close, many students with meal point plans are finding themselves in one of two situations: either they have an abundance of extra points or no points left at all. Those with extra points face the looming deadline to spend all points over the 100 point rollover limit before the end of the semester. On the other hand, students who are out of points face the dilemma of spending cash to buy every meal until the end of the semester or begging their parents to buy them more meals points.

There are two problems here with one obvious solution. A points market where students can sell a set number of meal at a price of their choosing.
It’s a fascinating and possibly lucrative idea that would solve these meal points problems. Students with extra points could sell those points at a discount instead of being forced to buy lots of food or meals for other people. And students who want or need meal points could them with out paying full price. Everybody wins right?

Well everyone except the university. A meals point market would mean the university would not sell as many extra points near the end of the semester. However let’s consider the fact that the university already forces students living in the dorms to buy a 1200 point meal plan. That is large sum of money that the university already requires students to pay. Students should be able to do what ever they want with their points. They should be able sell points for extra cash or even just transfer some to a friend. It isn’t the universities’ place to tell students what they can and can’t do with their points. They paid for them. They own them.

So to recap, an online market place should be created where students can buy and sell meal points. We’re not going to dive into the details here for the sake of time but we hope that someone will run with this. It would help make Cal a better place.

Image source: matthileo under Creative Commons

Craig said:
Nov 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm

It might be a good idea to look at the economics behind the meal plans. If the program is meant to allow every participating student access to a reasonable amount of food during the semester, then buying and selling points would end up causing the university to have to buy more food than budgeted. That would result in increases to the cost of the meal plan for every student.