male student putting cream in coffee at Brodhead Bistro

Campus Meal Plan

How The Plan Works

The Campus Meal Plan provides savings and easy purchasing for students who regularly eat twelve or more meals each week on campus.

Meal plan accounts are accessed via the Penn State id+ Card. When you purchase a meal plan, funds are deposited into your new account. Each time you visit a dining facility operated by Penn State Housing and Food Services, simply present your id+ card to the cashier, who will swipe the card through a reader. The reader will access your account, deduct the proper purchase amount, and display your new account balance.

Plan Costs

The total cost of the meal plan per semester is a combination of two basic components:

  • Base cost: This represents the non-food costs for operating the food court (labor, supplies, maintenance, and utilities). When you purchase a meal plan, you pay this base cost up front for the entire semester.

  • Dining dollar cost: This represents the funds available to you for meal purchases throughout the semester. With each food and beverage purchase, the cost will be deducted from your account.


Food Court: The price for menu items includes a base cost, as well as the actual food cost. As a meal plan member, you have paid the base cost up front for the entire semester. To compensate for the base cost, your meals will be discounted approximately 65 percent off the cash price on most food and beverage purchases.

Other Campuses

As a meal plan member, you can also save at the other cash operations operated by Penn State Housing and Food Services.

Level Options

For 2019-2020, you can select from three plan levels, which vary by the number of dining dollars. The three levels offer an increasing amount of Dining Dollars. Meals per week are estimated, and the actual number of meals purchased by each student will vary.

Campus Meal Plan Rates By Level: 2020-2021
Level Dining Dollars Base Cost Total Cost Approximate
Meals per Week
1 $655 $1,189 $1,844 7-10
2 $1004 $1,189 $2,193 12-14
3 $1,287 $1,189 $2,476 16-19

Rates shown are per semester.

Purchasing a Plan

If you plan to live on campus, the meal plan is a part of the Housing and Food Service Contract, and you do not need to submit a separate contract.

If you live off campus, you can purchase the meal plan at the eLiving website and charge it directly to your Bursar Account.

When you purchase one of the meal plan levels, you must do so for an entire semester. You may change the level of your plan in eLiving anytime during the semester until the last day of finals. Meal plans are binding for the semester and balances are not refundable. If you withdraw from the University, the remainder of the dining dollars and a percentage of the base cost (based on University refund chart) will be credited to your Bursar account. A meal plan cannot be transferred or assigned to another individual.

Adding Dining Dollars

After opening an account, you may add funds at any time.

Ways to add dining dollars:

  • using id+, with MasterCard or Visa
  • at the Housing and Food Services Office, with cash, check, or MasterCard or Visa
  • at any Housing and Food Services cash register, using MasterCard or Visa

Changing the Meal Plan Level

You may change your meal plan level in eLiving anytime until the last day of finals. Students who lower their level will have the difference credited to their student account. If you wish to increase your meal plan, it is recommended that you add dining dollars rather than purchase a higher level. This will eliminate excess dining dollars at the end of the semester and allow you to better manage your account.

Leftover Dining Dollars

If you have leftover dining dollars from fall semester, the funds will carry over to spring semester only if you purchase a new meal plan within the first two weeks of spring semester. You may purchase a lower level for spring. Spring meal plans may be changed in eLiving after the first day of spring semester. Residents are required to purchase a meal plan for both fall and spring semesters. If you do not purchase another plan by the end of the second week of spring semester, any leftover dining dollars from fall will be forfeited. Leftover dining dollars do not carry over from spring semester and are forfeited.