Meal Plans

How do I sign up for a meal plan?

During O-Week through the 1st week of classes, students can fill out a Dining Meal Plan Board Contract online.

  • All First-year students are automatically assigned the Unlimited meal plan and are required to remain on that plan throughout the year, regardless of their room type.
  • All other students, not living in an apartment on campus are assigned to the Unlimited meal plan, but have the option to change to the Phoenix meal plan during the first week of the quarter.
  • Students living in an Apartment will be assigned the Apartment meal plan, but have the option to change to the Unlimited meal plan or Phoenix meal plan during the first week of the quarter.
  • Off-campus students are not assigned to a meal plan but are welcome to purchase any of the four meal plans offered.



What are the meal plan requirements for College House residents?

  • Residential dining is a cornerstone of Housing & Residence Life. All students in Houses are assigned a meal plan.
  • First-year students are assigned to the Unlimited Meal Plan, regardless of the type of room or location they are assigned. They must remain on the Unlimited Meal Plan for the entire first year.
  • Upper-class students who live in a single or double room are assigned to the Unlimited Meal Plan, but may change to the Phoenix Meal Plan during meal plan change periods: the week prior to and through Friday of the first week of classes at 4:30 p.m.
  • Upper-class students who live on campus in an apartment are assigned to the Apartment Meal Plan, but may change to the Phoenix or the Unlimited Meal Plan during meal plan change periods.
  • Meal plan changes can be made in person at UChicago Dining or online. Meal plan downgrades are not permitted mid-quarter. Students may upgrade their meal plans or purchase additional Maroon Dollars at any time during the year.
  • Changing from the Phoenix Meal Plan to the Unlimited Meal Plan does not constitute an upgrade, since these plans cost the same.
  • Meal plans expire at the end of each quarter.  Any unused meals will not roll over into the next quarter.
  • Graduate students are not required to have a meal plan.

Will my meal plan include Late-Night Dining?

All meal plans include a “Fourth Meal” option.  Students on a meal plan can use one of their meal swipes. Maroon Dollars can also be used to eat during Fourth Meal.

How do I change my meal plan?

Meal plan changes can be made online the first week of the quarter. Changes for the current quarter may only be made during the first week of the quarter until 4:30pm of that Friday.

Be sure to read the Meal Plan Terms and Conditions.


Who can purchase Meal Plans?

Anyone with a University affiliation (student, faculty, or staff member) can purchase any of the residential meal plans offered to students.  Please note that this does not include visiting scholars.

The dining halls aren't open for dinner on Saturdays. Where can I eat?

Every Saturday during the academic year students may use a Saturday Night Meal Swipe to dine at Hutchinson Commons. These meal swipes are in addition to the meal exchanges that come with the Unlimited, Phoenix and Apartment meal plans. The Off Campus Meal Plan does not include Saturday Night Meal Swipes. Students who live in the College Houses enjoy a long-standing tradition of dining at off-campus locations on Saturday nights.  Frequently, the resident staff will prepare dinner for their Houses on Saturdays as well.

What are Meal Exchanges?

The meal exchange program allows you to use a select number of your meal swipes on a combo meal at the campus cafes, campus markets or Hutchinson Commons.  The meal will be deducted from your total number of meals, rather than from your Maroon Dollar balance, based on how many meal exchanges come with your plan. (For instance, there are 15 meal exchanges included on the Phoenix meal plan, meaning that 15 of the plan’s total 150 meals may be redeemed as meal exchanges).  Meal exchanges may be used only once per meal period, and expire at the end of each quarter.

If I live in on campus, am I eligible to change my meal plan?

  • First-year students remain on the Unlimited Meal Plan for the duration of their first year.
  • Upper-class, on-campus housing students may change their meal plan until 4:30 p.m. on Friday of the first week of each quarter.
  • At any time prior to or during the academic year, upper-class students who live on campus may upgrade to a higher plan (i.e., Apartment to Unlimited).
  • Once a meal plan has been upgraded, it cannot be downgraded during the course of that quarter.

How do I pay for my meal plan?

Meal plans can be charged to your tuition account when you purchase a plan through UChicago Dining. 


When does my meal plan begin?

 Meal plans begin each academic year with dinner on the Friday prior to when classes begin. Maroon Dollars can be spent on this same Friday. Incoming students have a separate Orientation Week meal plan. In the interest of developing strong House communities, during Orientation Week, students are limited to eating in the dining commons where their House tables are located.

Are meal plans available during the summer?

Meal plans are not offered over the summer. However, select dining locations on campus remain open with adjusted hours, and UChicago Dining venues continue to accept Maroon Dollars.

What are Maroon Dollars?

Maroon Dollars allow students, faculty, and staff to use their University IDs like a debit card at any dining hall and most cafés and markets on campus. Each time you make a purchase with Maroon Dollars, money will be subtracted from your personal account. One Maroon Dollar is equivalent to $1.


How does my meal plan work?

Meal plan account information is encoded directly onto your University of Chicago ID Card. Simply present the UChicago Card to the cashier for entry into a dining commons, and enjoy all-you-care-to-eat dining from the time the dining commons opens until it closes. Except in the case of the Unlimited Meal Plan, each visit deducts one meal from the meal plan total. Due to the flexibility of the meal plan, food other than an ice cream cone or cookie may not be removed from the dining commons. Also, due to food safety guidelines, food that has been prepared elsewhere is not permitted to be brought into the dining commons.


    A guide to Meal Plan eligibility:

    Status on Campus Unlimited Meal Plan Phoenix Meal Plan Apartment Meal Plan Off-Campus Meal Plan
    $2,284 per quarter $2,284 per quarter $1,680 per quarter $149.00 per quarter
    First-Year Students Yes No No No
    Upperclass Students  on campus Yes Yes No No
    Upperclass Students in apartments on campus Yes Yes Yes No
    Upperclass Students – off campus Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Graduate/Professional Students and Faculty/Staff Yes Yes Yes Yes