How Your Meal Plan Works
Meal plans make local, organic, humane, and sustainable dining and convenience store options available for all undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, whether you live on or off campus. It’s easy to manage your meal plan online or buy add-on flex dollars anytime during each semester.
Did you know? Meal plan holders save money by paying less per meal than the cash price at the dining commons.
Please Note: New meal plans starting in fall 2018 will no longer be points based. Current meal plans will continue to be in effect through spring 2018 and during Summer Sessions. The last day to use your meal plan for spring is May 13, 2018. If you are looking to purchase a meal plan for fall 2018, please review the new meal plans available.
Our meal plans bring value home to you. From mealtimes to study snacks and stadium concessions, a meal plan gives you award-winning food options based on where you live. All meal plans include meal swipes plus flex dollars to spend like cash, all accessible by using your Cal 1 Card in campus dining commons, restaurants, concession stands, and convenience stores. Get the food you want, when and where you choose.
What are meal swipes?
A meal swipe is how you pay when you eat at the dining commons. Your meal plan includes a certain number of meal swipes stored on your Cal 1 Card. One meal swipe will be used each time you enter the dining commons for an “all-you-care-to-eat” meal.
What are flex dollars?
Flex dollars are stored on your Cal 1 Card and function like cash dollars, but they hold greater value because you can purchase them at a discount. Flex dollars may be used as payment at campus convenience stores, restaurants, concession stands, and even for guest meals in the dining commons.
What’s the best deal for students?
If you live in campus housing, the Gold Residential Meal Plan offers the best value because you get an unlimited number of meal swipes to use at the dining commons every day.
If you live off campus, you can’t go wrong with either plan, but the Bear Meal Plan offers a slight discount on meals compared to the Cub plan. Purchase another plan whenever your meal swipes or flex dollars run out. Purchase add-on flex dollars to tailor the plan to your needs.
Add-on flex dollars at a discount: Buy $50 flex dollars for $47.50, and $100 flex dollars for $90..
Guests welcome: You can use your flex dollars for guest meals.
Locations: Use your Cal 1 Card to access your meal swipes at the dining commons and flex dollars at all Cal Dining locations.
- “All-you-care-to-eat” residence dining commons: Café 3, Clark Kerr, Crossroads, and Foothill.
- Restaurants: Brown’s, the Coffee Cart, Common Grounds, The Golden Bear Café, and Terrace Café.
- Convenience Stores: Bear Market, CKCub, Cub Market, The Den (featuring Peet's Coffee & Tea).
- Concession stands: California Memorial Stadium, Haas Pavilion, and The Pro Shop @ RSF.
Add these Important Dates to your calendar so you can keep track of things like when to start using your meal swipes each semester and when your flex dollars will expire at the end of the academic year. Dates related to meal swipes and flex dollars differ depending on which meal plan you have.
How to Purchase a Meal Plan
There are different plan options for students who live on campus, students who live off campus, and faculty and staff.
If you are a student living in the residence halls, your meal plan is included with your housing contract rates. To upgrade your plan from the Blue Residential Meal Plan to the Gold Residential Meal Plan, log in to the Housing Portal.
If you are an undergraduate, graduate, or UC Berkeley Extension International Concurrent Enrollment student living off campus, go to “Manage Your Account” on the right side of this page to buy a Bear Meal Plan or Cub Meal Plan. Click on "Meal Plan Login" to get started.
If you are a faculty or staff member, go to “Manage Your Account” on the right side of this page to buy a meal plan. Click on "Meal Plan Login" to get started.
Once you have signed up for a meal plan, you can make eligible changes, or add points, by going to Manage Your Account.
Numerous dining options: You can eat or purchase food at all the dining commons and numerous on- and off-campus restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and athletic concession stands.
Points are easy to use: You get points, and each point has a purchasing power of $1.
Automatic discounts: You get an automatic discount on every meal you eat in the dining commons, saving you $4 per meal. When you add points, you get an automatic 10% discount that can be used at any location.
Flexible and easy to adjust: The number of points varies by the meal plan you purchase, and you can add points at any time.
Guests welcome: You can use your points for guests, who also get your discount.
To-Go options: You can dine in or take your food to go.
- You get a set number of points based on the meal plan you purchase.
- Your points are loaded onto your Cal 1 Card (Berkeley ID card) and you use it like a debit card whenever you purchase a meal, coffee, groceries, and more, at Cal Dining locations.
- Each point has a purchasing power of $1.
- $1 equals 1 point at Cal Dining on- and off-campus restaurants, cafes, grocery outlets, and athletic concession stands.
- (Go to the Locations tab on this website to see the full list of Cal Dining locations.)
- There is no daily minimum or maximum points you must use.
- You can manage your points online and add points at any time.
- You get automatic discounts for each meal you eat in the dining commons.
- The dining commons are open to the public and many students, staff, faculty, and visitors eat there. If you don’t have a meal plan, then you pay full price for each meal. If you have a meal plan, you get an automatic discount of $4 per meal. See detailed discount information below.
- You get an automatic 10% discount when you add points ( $50 buys 55 points), and these points can be used in all Cal Dining locations.
- You can use your points for guests in any Cal Dining location, and they also get your automatic discount.
- One-time use to-go containers cost an additional $1 (1 point).
- You can purchase a reusable to-go container through our environmentally friendly program, Chews to Reuse.
The Important Dates charts on the Meal Plan pages let you know when you can purchase meal plans, change meal plans, the last day to use points, and more.
Information for Resident and Non-Resident Meal Plans:
- You get half your total meal plan points each semester, fall and spring.
- Up to 100 unused points from the fall semester automatically roll over to the spring semester.
- You can change meal plans (within a certain timeframe).
- The Budgeting Your Points charts help you keep track of your points usage, so you don’t run out or know when to purchase more points.
Dining Commons Discount
The dining commons are open to the public and many students, faculty, staff, and visitors eat there. With a meal plan, you get an automatic discount for every meal you purchase in the dining commons. You can dine in or take your meal to-go and the discount still applies.
Compared to the non meal-plan rate, you save $4 per meal.
Dining Commons Automatic Discount
|Meal||Price if you don't have a meal plan||Meal Plan Price (in points)||Meal Plan Discount (in dollars saved)|
Additional 10% Discount
In addition to the discount in the dining commons, you also get a discount every time you add points. When you add $50, you receive 55 points (for a 10% discount). You receive this 10% discount when you add the points, so it applies to all your purchases at all Cal Dining locations.
To sign up for a meal plan, go to “Manage Your Account” on the right side of this page, and click on "Meal Plan Login".
Once you have signed up, you can make eligible changes, or add points, by going to Manage Your Account.