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collage of menu items including shrimp, salad, and sandwiches

Meal Plans

Meal Plan Options

Whether you're an on-campus resident, a commuting student on campus five days a week, or a part-time student or faculty member in need of a quick bite, we offer a meal plan option that works for you!

Campus Meal Plan

The Campus Meal Plan offers the best discount for any student who eats more than 10 meals per week on campus (for University Park, these would be meals in the all-you-care-to-eat dining commons). The Campus Meal Plan is accepted at every Campus Dining location on campus and across the state at multiple Penn State campuses, creating the largest variety of options in addition to earning a discount on nearly every purchase. Items that are pre-packaged, branded, or at a nationally-branded concept (for example, Sbarro) will not receive a discount.

The Campus Meal Plan is comprised of two cost components: base cost (similar to a "membership fee"), which covers operational expenses, and dining dollars, which is the amount available on the student's Penn State id+ Card to make purchases with. There are three (3) levels of spendable dining dollars. Campus Meal Plan holders will receive a discount on qualifying purchases at select operations.

The student's Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract defaults to level 2, and students can change the level at any time in eLiving until the last day of the semester. Remaining dining dollars at end the end of the contracted period are non-refundable, so if a student is running low on funds, the meal plan can be supplemented with LionCash and still receive the deeper Campus Meal Plan discount.

For students who live in University Housing, the Campus Meal Plan conveniently included in the HFS Contract and does not need to be purchased separately. Students living off campus can purchase the Campus Meal Plan through eLiving.

To learn more about the Campus Meal Plan, watch this video (rates listed in video are from the 2021-2022 academic year).

Commuter Meal Plan

The Commuter Meal Plan offers students living off campus the opportunity to eat for less than paying out of pocket while saving time that otherwise would be spent packing lunch or driving off campus. The Commuter Meal Plan offers a 10% discount on qualifying purchases. It's the best choice for students who eat on campus a few times per week and want to charge the cost of the meal plan to the student's LionPATH account. Three levels to choose from and each carries over from fall to spring - there's no need to purchase a spring meal plan when you have funds remaining from fall.

Students living off campus can purchase the Commuter Meal Plan through eLiving.

LionCash

LionCash is the most flexible option for students, faculty, and staff - it's an online, prepaid spending account accessed with the Penn State id+ Card. LionCash members can receive a 10% discount on qualifying purchases. Funds can be added online at any time in increments as low as $5.00, and LionCash is accepted at on- and off-campus restaurants, markets, bookstores, entertainment venues, and more! Funds are available to students during their time as a Penn State student.

View our complete list of participating merchants and enjoy the convenience of making cash-free purchases on your terms.

It's easy to purchase a meal plan - log on to eLiving to choose from available options.

Compare Plans

Looking to compare plans at a glance? Take a look at the chart below which highlights some of the main differences between our meal plan options.

Campus Meal Plan Comparison
  Campus Meal Plan  Commuter Meal Plan  LionCash
Recommended For 

Required for all on-campus students without personal kitchens in on-campus apartments

Recommended for students in on-campus or off-campus apartments who eat more than 10 meals per week on campus (for University Park, these would be meals in the all-you-care-to-eat dining commons)

Students who need to charge meal plan to LionPATH account, where a scholarship, grant, loan, etc. may cover the cost

Students who eat less than 10 meals per week on campus

Accepted at

every Campus Dining location on campus and across the state at multiple Penn State campuses

every Campus Dining location on campus and across the state at multiple Penn State campuses

every Campus Dining location on campus and across the state at multiple Penn State campuses

AND participating off-campus merchants

Discounts 

*65% on prepared foods in UP food districts and campus food courts, with exceptions

Discounts in other locations vary

View full list of University Park operations

10% discount on prepared foods in UP food districts and campus food courts, with exceptions

Discounts in other locations vary

View full list of University Park operations

10% discount on prepared foods in UP food districts and campus food courts, with exceptions

Discounts in other locations vary

View full list of University Park operations

Total Plan Cost

Fall 2022-Spring 2023:
Level 1: $2,358/semester
Level 2: $2,604/semester
Level 3: $2,805/semester 

Level 1: $250
Level 2: $500
Level 3: $1,000

Flexible option - you decide what amount to deposit and spend

Dining Dollars 

Spendable dining dollars vary by plan level
Fall 2022-Spring 2023:
Level 1: $828
Level 2: $1,074
Level 3: $1,275

Spendable funds vary by plan level
Level 1: $250
Level 2: $500
Level 3: $1,000

Flexible option - you decide what amount to deposit and spend

Meal Breakdown 

Level 1: 7-9 meals per week
Level 2: 11-13 meals per week
Level 3: 14-16 meals per week
 

(for University Park, these would be meals in the all-you-care-to-eat dining commons)

Level 1: 1-2 meals or snacks per week
Level 2: 3 meals or snacks per week
Level 3: 4-6 meals or snacks per week

Flexible option - you decide what amount to deposit and spend. The value of your purchase is comparable to the Commuter Meal Plan

Leftover Funds 

Dining dollars carry over from summer to fall semester, and fall to spring semester with purchase of additional meal plan; remaining funds are forfeited at the end of the spring semester (students who are here for fall semester only will forfeit remaining fall funds)

Funds carry over from fall to spring semester and are forfeited at the end of the spring semester. 

Funds never expire (until you graduate)

All-You-Care-To-Eat Meal Prices

Behrend and University Park campuses offer All-You-Care-To-Eat dining options. Compare the all-you-care-to-eat meal prices across various plans.

All-You-Care-To-Eat Meal Prices 2022-2023 Academic Year

Plan

Breakfast

Lunch

Brunch/Dinner

Campus Meal Plan

$2.90

$4.35

$5.40

Campus Meal Plan Guest

$5.80

$8.70

$10.80

LionCash/Commuter Meal Plan

$7.40

$11.15

$13.90

Credit (Visa/MasterCard)

$8.25

$12.35

$15.45

Children 6-10 years

$3.30

$5.00

$6.60

Children under 6

free

free

free

Meal Plan FAQs

Meal Plans

General

Can I change my meal plan? What if I need more money for another week living on campus?

When a student accepts the HFS Contract, the Campus Meal Plan will default to level 2. When a student accepts the HFS Contract, the Campus Meail Plan will defalut to level 2. The Campus Meal Plan level can be managed on eLiving, under My Info < My Meal Plan, through the last day of finals for the semester. The system will display whether the student's account is eligible to be increased or decreased.

If dining dollar funds are running low, you can also add funds to LionCash. Current Campus Meal Plan account holders have the benefit of utilizing LionCash funds to backfill your Campus Meal Plan and receive the same discounted rate as the meal plan. Students simply tell the cashier that they have a campus meal plan and the appropriate discount will be applied.

How do I check my meal plan balance?

Students can check their meal plan balance online at idcard.psu.edu/manage-accounts. Available balances are also displayed at Campus Dining registers and on receipts, but understand that the registers display a combined meal plan and LionCash account balance.

The Campus Meal Plan level can be managed on eLiving, under "My Info" < My Meal Plan, through the last day of finals for the semester. The system will display whether the student's account is eligible to be increased or decreased.

If funds are running low, friends and family can add dining dollars or LionCash, too.

How does my meal plan work?

The Campus Meal Plan provides easy purchasing and savings for students who regularly eat meals on campus. 

The Campus Meal Plan can be accessed via your Penn State id+ Card. Dining dollars will be added to your account; the amount of dining dollars depends upon which level of the Campus Meal Plan account you have selected. When you visit a dining facility operated by Penn State Housing and Food Services, you will 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. The amount of your purchase depends upon the location and what is purchased. 

The Campus Meal Plan can be used at all on-campus dining options. At University Park there are over 30 eateries on campus, including the CreameryHUB Dining, Beaver Stadium, and other sports facilities. The “all-you-care-to-eat” dining option in offered in 5 Residential Dining locations and offers the best value to meal plan members.

Campus Meal Plan members receive a discount on their qualifying purchases. 

If I live off campus, can I purchase a meal plan and what are the options?

Students living off campus are eligible to purchase a Campus Meal Plan, Commuter Meal Plan, or use LionCash. Meal plans can be purchased on eLiving, under Contracts > Purchase Meal Plan link.

Learn more about the meal plan options to determine which one is the best fit for you. 

Is the meal plan required, can I cancel it?

The Campus Meal Plan is required for students living on campus, with the exception of those living in on-campus apartments, where it is optional. For students required to purchase a Campus Meal Plan, it must be purchased for each semester and cannot be canceled.

The Commuter Meal Plan is available for on-campus apartment residents and commuting students; it is not required. Students interested in making changes to a Commuter Meal Plan should contact their campus Housing and Food Services Office or for University Park, the id+ Office.

Students who withdraw or end their relationship with the University after the semester has started may be eligible for a refund of remaining dining dollars and, for the Campus Meal Plan, a prorated refund of the base cost, within the timeframe outlined in the HFS Contract Terms, Conditions, and Regulations. Any refund will be credited to the student's LionPATH account or to the credit card used to purchase the meal plan.

The meal plan cannot be transferred or assigned to another individual.

What are the different meal plan discounts?

Campus Meal Plan account holders have access to the greatest discounts in on-campus dining:

  • 65 percent off cash price at Buffet-to-Go and All-You-Care-to-Eat locations
  • 65 percent off cash price on prepared items* at food courts
  • 10 percent off campus price on prepared items* at specialty fast casual operations, such as Soup & Garden, Grate Chee, and Blue Burrito in the HUB, Bruno's at Behrend, the Outpost at Harrisburg, and coffee shops at campus locations

The Commuter Meal Plan and LionCash offer a 10 percent discount off cash price on the items and  locations listed above. Additional LionCash discounts may be available at off-campus participating locations.

*prepared items are meals, snacks, and beverages that are made by Campus Dining staff. This excludes menu items at nationally branded restaurants and cafes.

What happens to my leftover meal plan funds?

Campus Meal Plan

Dining Dollars remaining at the end of  summer session are carried over to fall semester, and Dining Dollars remaining at the end of fall semester are carried over to spring semester, provided the student has an active Campus Meal Plan for the fall and spring semester, respectfully. Dining Dollars remaining at the end of the spring semester are forfeited. Students have the ability to manage their Campus Meal Plan through eLiving until the last day of the semester.

Students living on campus are required to purchase a Campus Meal Plan each semester. 

When a student accepts the HFS Contract, the Campus Meal Plan will default to level 2. The Campus Meal Plan level can be managed on eLiving, under "My Info" < My Meal Plan, through the last day of finals for the semester. The system will display whether the student's account is eligible to be increased or decreased.

If dining dollar funds are running low, you can also add funds to LionCash. Current Campus Meal Plan account holders have the benefit of utilizing LionCash funds to backfill your Campus Meal Plan and receive the same discounted rate as the meal plan. Students simply tell the cashier that they have a campus meal plan and the appropriate discount will be applied.

Commuter Meal Plan

Commuter Meal Plan funds carry over from fall to spring regardless of whether a spring commuter meal plan has been purchased.

LionCash

LionCash never expires and is available until you are no longer registered as a Penn State student.
 

What is LionCash and how is a deposit made?

LionCash makes your Penn State id+ Card even more convenient! It’s an online, prepaid flexible account that makes on-campus and off-campus purchases safe and easy. LionCash is used to pay for laundry in the residence halls, and can be used in vending machines and copiers across campus. There are over 200 participating merchants both on and off campus who accept LionCash for payment. Students with a Campus Meal Plan who run low on funds can use LionCash to supplement their meal plan - and still receive the same meal plan discounts.

Deposits are simple to make online, and funds are available immediately! Funds carry over year-to-year, until a student is no longer affiliated with the University. 

To learn more and to make a deposit visit:  https://idcard.psu.edu/overview

What is the cost of room and board?

Room and board rates are approved by the Board of Trustees for every academic year, normally in the early spring for the upcoming academic year.

Room and board rates are per student, per semester, and are charged to the student's LionPATH account for payment. Students are charged the corresponding room rate based on their actual room assignment. The Campus Meal Plan (board rate) is comprised of a base fee and dining dollars. 

What type of meal plans are available?

There are three different meal plan options:

  • Campus Meal Plan: required for all students living in University Housing, except for Nittany and White Course Apartments
  • Commuter Meal Plan: optional plan for students living in Nittany and White Course Apartments and students living in off-campus housing
  • LionCash: available for all students to use (those with a meal plan should use that instead though)

Where can I use my meal plan?

Campus Meal Plan dining dollars can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus*, as well as at popular destinations at University Park such as Beaver Stadium, Bryce Jordan Center, Pegula Ice Arena, and Berkey Creamery.

Commuter Meal Plans can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus*.

LionCash can be used at ALL Campus Dining locations any Penn State Campus* and any participating merchant throughout Pennsylvania.

 

*Penn State Campuses offering Campus Dining locations:  Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Berks, Behrend, Brandywine, Dubois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, University Park, Wilkes-Barre, and York

Food Allergies / Special Diets

What if I have food allergies and intolerances?

Penn State Campus Dining offers multiple resources to ensure students with food allergies and intolerances dine safely on campus.  We encourage students to contact the Registered Dietitians’ Office at [email protected] to make a plan for navigating dining on campus.