Jump to main content

COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

Students  Guests & Visitors  Faculty & Staff


  • I live on campus in a residence hall. Why do I have to carry a meal plan?

    Residence halls do not have the adequate facilities for storage, preparation, or clean-up of meals for large numbers of students. Hall kitchens are OK for small batches of cookies or making popcorn, but they're not sufficient for you to prepare well-balanced, nutritious meals on a daily basis. Having meals prepared for you allows you to focus on your education instead of trying to figure out what (or how) to cook for dinner.

    All first-year students living on campus are required to carry at least a 14 Meals Per Week meal plan as stated in the Live On Campus Requirement.

    Sophomores in standing or above living in Lawrenson Hall, the Arlington Park Apartments, or in one of the UNC-owned houses can choose to carry any meal plan (or a Bear Plan, just Dining Dollars, a combination of the two, or nothing at all).

  • I live off campus. Can I still purchase a meal plan?

    Absolutely! We have On Campus Meal Plans and Bear Plans (and Dining Dollars too) for students living off campus or in Lawrenson Hall, the Arlington Park Apartments or the University-owned houses.

  • Can I check my meal plan or Dining Dollars balance?

    Right now the easiest way to check your balance is to ask the cashier when they swipe your card in the dining room (or retail operation). They can also run an "inquiry" on your card without charging you a meal if you forget to ask when your card is swiped.

  • Where can I use my meal plan?

    You can use your weekly meal swipes in several different locations:

    • Holmes Dining Hall
      • includes Bear On The Run
    • Holmes Gourmet To Go
    • Tobey-Kendel Gourmet To Go
    • Einstein Bros® Bagels (up to 5 swipes per week)
    • Subway® (up to 5 swipes per week)

    You can use you Dining Dollars at any campus retail dining location:

    • Coffee Corner at Michener Library
    • Einstein Bros® Bagels at the University Center
    • Hissho Sushi at the University Center
    • Munchy Mart™ at the University Center
    • Subway® at the University Center
    • Vending machines across campus
  • How are meal plans and Dining Dollars charged and loaded onto my student account?

    All meal plans are charged to your student account and will show up on your Ursa bill. The On Campus Meal Plans are based on a “per day” charging structure, while Bear Plans are based on a "per meal" price.

    If you live on campus in a residence hall, you will be notified through your BearMail when your meal plan has been loaded. If you haven't received the email yet but want to know what meal plan you were given, log in to your Ursa account and look at the dining charge. You can then compare that price to the current meal plans available.

    After meal plans have been loaded for the semester, you will receive an email from Dining Services with information about your meal plan.

    • Fall: meal plans are loaded the first/second week of August
    • Spring: meal plans are loaded the second/third week of December
    • Summer: meal plans (they're optional in the summer) are loaded the first/second week of May or as they come in
  • Can I bring a friend to the dining hall or use my meal plan to swipe a friend or family member into the dining halls?

    Your friends are welcome to join you for a meal, but they'll need to pay to get into the dining room whether they eat or not.

    On Campus Meal Plans are intended for your use only, so if you would like to swipe friends in on your meal plan. We recommend using Bonus Meals, if you have them. They're also handy if you run out of meals during the week. If you don't want to use your Bonus Meals, guests and visitors are welcome to pay cash prices at the door.

    Bear Plans offer more flexibility as you can use multiple swipes at a time -- they're yours to use throughout the semester, but they can run out. If you run out of swipes, you can always add more. 

  • How do I add meals to my Bear Plan?

    Submit a new online dining contract, and we'll get those meals added to your account. It's a manual process, so they should be active and ready within 24-48 business hours. If you submit your contract after 4pm on Friday, we won't get it until Monday, so be sure to have your confirmation page if you are going to eat before we get your meals added.

  • Can I make changes to my meal plan?

    All contract change requests must be made by the contract holder (the student) and submitted by the Drop Deadline of each semester (the 10th day of classes). Changes requested are subject to eligibility verification. We always try to notify you by email within 3 business days if you are not eligible for the contract submitted.

    To change your meal plan, you’ll need to fill out a new contract at any dining room or the UC Card Office -- or you can use the online dining contract and submit your request online.

    Dining charges/credits should appear on your student bill in your Ursa account within 24-48 hours of the contract being processed. Online dining contracts submitted after 4pm (Monday-Friday) will be processed the next business day. Please remember that if you submit a contract Friday at 4pm, we will not see it until the next business day (usually Monday). Print out your confirmation page as proof of purchase if you plan on using your new plan during the weekend.

    If you are eligible to make changes to your meal plan, it may look like this:

    • Changing from one On Campus Meal Plan to a different On Campus Meal Plan (or from one Bear Plan to another Bear Plan):
      • We will credit/charge the full amounts for both meal plans -- it's a straight switch.
    • Changing from an On Campus Meal Plan to a Bear Plan:
      • You will be charged per day for your On Campus Meal Plan up until the day you request the meal plan change.
      • You will then be charged in full for whatever Bear Plan you requested (and get the full amount of meals).
    • The opposite is also true. If you switch from a Bear Plan to an On Campus Meal Plan:
      • You will be credited for the unused meals on your Bear Plan.
      • Your new meal plan charge (meals/bonus meals/dining dollars) will be pro-rated for your On Campus Meal Plan, as they are based on the day you make the switch.
  • I’ve been approved for a release from my dining contract. Will I be charged for a meal plan?

    If you are approved for a release from your dining contract (through the Dining Services Registered Dietitian, the Housing & Dining Petition for Release, or the Disability Resource Center), your meal plan will be pro-rated based off the decision date for your petition. If you used your meal plan after that date, you will be charged through that date instead.

  • Can I cancel my meal plan?

    If you are eligible to cancel your meal plan, you will need to submit your cancellation request by 5pm on the Drop Deadline (10th day of classes).

    Cancellations are handled on a case-by-case basis. Each case is different, so depending on the situation, you could be given a refund based on the following criteria:

    1. Date you withdrew from UNC and/or dropped your classes
    2. Date you submitted your meal plan cancellation request
    3. Date you moved out of your Residence Hall (if applicable)
    4. Date you last used your meal plan
    5. Number of meals, bonus meals, and/or dining dollars you used 

    All On Campus Meal Plan charges are based on a daily rate, regardless if you have used the meal plan or not. Bonus Meals and Dining Dollars are charged based on usage.

    If you signed up for a Bear Plan, you will receive a credit for unused meals. This same rule applies for additional/separate Dining Dollars purchases. You will get a credit for any unused Dining Dollars (additional purchased Dining Dollars only -- does not apply to Dining Dollars that come automatically with On Campus Meal Plans).

    Clarification if you are still a registered UNC student
    If you are approved for a release from your dining contract (through the Dining Services Registered Dietitian, the Housing & Dining Petition for Release, or the Disability Resource Center), your meal plan will either be pro-rated based off the decision date for your petition, the date your new residence hall contract is activated, or the date you last used your meal plan, whichever is later.

    Any determination made by the Disability Resource Center regarding your dining contract requirement supersedes Dining Services’ guidelines for meal plan changes and/or cancellations. Please contact us for more clarification on your specific situation.

  • I changed my residence hall or moved off campus -- how does that affect my meal plan?

    When you move from one residence hall to another, your meal plan will remain unchanged.

    However, when you move from a “non-meal plan required” location (Lawrenson Hall, Arlington Park Apartments, and University-owned houses) to a “meal plan required” residence hall, you will automatically be assigned the 14 Meals Per Week meal plan (unless you chose something different in your online housing contract). Charges and meal plan balances will be pro-rated based on the official “move out/in” date. Students can choose a different On Campus Meal Plan within 10 days from the official “move out/in” date following eligibility rules.

    When you move off campus from a “meal plan required” residence hall (typically through the Housing & Dining contract petition for release process), the meal plan will remain active. If eligible, you may submit a request to cancel or reduce your meal plan within 10 days from the recorded “move out” date. If granted, meals (including Bonus Meals and Dining Dollars) used will be deducted from your new balance.

    When a you move off campus from a “non-meal plan required” location (Lawrenson Hall, Arlington Park Apartments, and University-owned houses), your meal plan will remain active. No changes will be facilitated unless the move is within the first ten days of classes.

  • I withdrew from UNC, what will happen to my meal plan?

    UNC’s withdrawal policy has recently changed, so please make sure you've read through all of the information.

    Housing and Dining Services will charge a daily rate (per diem) to students who withdraw from the fall semester by November 8, 2021 and from the spring semester by April 8, 2022. After these dates, students will be charged in full for their meal plans and housing. There will be a full refund of unused dining dollars (additional purchases only) through the end of each semester.

    You must be a registered student to carry a meal plan, so meal plans (including Dining Dollars) will be deactivated once you have withdrawn from the university.

  • When does a new week start with my meal swipes?

    When you're at the dining room and check your meal balance, you may notice that your meals seem to count down to zero. Don't worry, this is normal!

    For On Campus Meal Plan purposes, the new week starts Monday morning. Your meals will reset Sunday night when the nightly process runs. Meals not consumed each week are forfeited.

    For Bear Plan holders, your balance is a true balance and does count down to zero. When you're close to being out of meals, be sure to add meals as needed.

  • Do my unused meals or Dining Dollars carry over to the next semester or are they refunded?

    Meal plans (On Campus Meal Plans, Bear Plans, and Dining Dollars) are only valid for the semester the plan is purchased. Meals will not be carried forward, and there is no monetary refund for uneaten meals. Summer Bear Plans are available during summer session only.

    Dining Dollars balances will carry forward from Fall to Spring, but they expire at the end of Spring semester. Summer Dining Dollars are available during summer session only.

  • I have special dietary needs and/or food allergies, what can Dining Services do for me?

    We make every effort to accommodate a diverse array of dietary needs. Our Registered Dietitian, is available to answer any questions you might have about how we can help with your specific dietary considerations. 

    The DASH is a good choice for students with allergies or dietary restrictions. Dining Services is committed to providing students with a variety of healthy and nutritious meal options. However, with over 6,000 students being served per day, individual meal requests can be considered only with appropriate documentation from a physician.

    If you have special dietary needs that are not being met, we urge you to contact our Registered Dietitian at 970-351-3800 or Matthew.Doyle@unco.edu.

  • What do I do if I've forgotten my UNC Card, lost it, or it doesn't work?

    For security reasons, our policy is to not allow students in any of our dining rooms without their UNC Card. We understand circumstances will come up when you don't have your ID Card on hand, however, to enter without your UNC Card, you must still have some form of ID and your Bear Number to prove who you are.

    The staff at the UNC Card Office can assist you Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to obtain a new UNC Card if you lose it or it stops working.

Guests & Visitors

Faculty & Staff

  • Can faculty and staff have meal charges deducted from their paychecks?

    Faculty, Classified/Exempt Staff, and Teaching/Graduate Assistants at UNC are eligible to sign up for the Payroll Deduction program through Dining Services. To sign up for the Payroll Deduction plan, submit your request.

    Once your status has been verified and your UNC Card has been activated, you can use it to swipe at one of our dining locations (listed in the next question).

    Swipes in the dining locations (Holmes, Gourmet To Go, Tobey-Kendel) are currently $8 + tax = $8.56 per swipe. Don't forget you can also use your card at our retail dining locations for your food and beverage purchases.

    Charges come directly out of your monthly paycheck. By signing and submitting the application form, you authorize UNC's Payroll department to deduct from your monthly paycheck for food and beverage items (charged from the 16th to the 15th of each month) in participating dining locations at UNC. If your status at UNC is not full-time, charging privileges will be inactive during the months in which you do not receive a paycheck. Authorization continues until withdrawn by the employee or until no longer employed by UNC. 

    Teaching and Graduate Assistants are only eligible for this program during active contract periods. Meal access will end the 15th day of the month of your last paycheck. Application forms must be re-submitted at the end of each contract period if you want to continue with this payroll deduction program.

  • Where can I use my UNC Card for Faculty/Staff Payroll Deduction?

    You can use your UNC ID Card to swipe a meal at any of the following dining locations:

    • Holmes Dining Hall (including Bear On The Run)
    • Holmes Gourmet To Go
    • Tobey-Kendel Gourmet To Go

    You can also use your UNC Card to deduct your campus retail dining purchases at any of the following locations:

    At the University Center

    • Einstein Bros® Bagels
    • Hissho Sushi
    • Munchy Mart™
    • Subway®

    Across Campus

    • Coffee Corner at Michener Library
    • Beverage and snack vending machines