The meal plan may be expensive, but can't you also eat as much as you want? I.E. - Sneak in tupperware and use it to stock your dorm fridge with stuff?
I'm thinking...fresh spinach and hard boiled eggs, etc. from the salad bar....and burger meat and/or sliced roasted turkey and roast beef when they do the carving stations?
I didn't go to UMD (but I did go to college in DC and currently live/work in the DC metro area)...but I think it's possible...and if I had that choice now...trust me...I would definitely get my $20/day out of it!!!! Considering it costs $11-13 dollars to grab a decent salad out fur lunch anywhere around DC....$20 a day isn't so bad.
How many meals/visits a day is your plan?