Santa Clara University

Housing Office

FAQ - Dining Meal Plans


Q. What is the cost of the dining plan?

Room and board charges are billed jointly through the University Bursar's Office and appear on the Bursar Account student bill along with tuition.  With all the dining meal plans you have the flexibility of dining when and how often you like as well as have the ability to purchase groceries on campus. The dining plan is a quarterly allocation of purchasing points.  There is no predetermined number of meals per week, so you won’t lose out if you leave campus for a few days.  Freshmen and Sophomores can only select from the Preferred or Basic Plan.  Juniors and Seniors can select from three plans, either the Preferred, Basic, or Junior/Senior Plan.  Juniors and Seniors living in an apartment style accommodation also have a fourth option to select the Apartment Plan.

Each year, the dining plans include the respective number of points.  Each point is equal to a dollar.  For example, during the 2015 - 2016 year:

  • Preferred (1, 679 points per quarter)
  • Basic (1, 435 points per quarter)
  • Junior/Senior (985 points per quarter)
  • Apartment Plan (212 points per quarter)
Visit our Cost and Rates Page to see the current total cost for room and board.


Q. If I live in the Residence Halls or Apartments, must I purchase a dining plan?

Yes. For both Freshmen and Sophomores shared dining is an important way to make connections and build community. For Juniors and Seniors dining plans offer a convenient and flexible approach to meeting dining needs. Residents living in on-campus apartments will find a dining plan offers useful means by which to pay for RLC catered events or to purchase snacks on-campus.

Q. When do I sign up for a dining plan?

Incoming students who are new to campus housing choose a dining plan beginning March 1 as part the RLC - Housing Preference Form. Returning students choose a dining plan as part of their housing selection beginning March 5. Students requesting to live in apartments on campus will choose a dining plan when submitting their RLC - Housing Preference Form. Current sophomores and juniors living off campus who are interested in on campus housing please contact the Housing and Residence Life Office at (408) 554-4900, or via e-mail.

Q. What if I want to change my dining plan?

Once the quarter starts, you cannot change your dining plan. The Offices of Housing & Residence Life have Resident Dining Plan Change Request Forms and the change period schedule. There is no charge to change your plan. Visit our Dining Meal Plan Change Request page for additional information and to download the Resident Dining Plan Change Request Form.

Q. How many meals per week am I guaranteed?

The dining meal plans do not possess a "guarantee" of any specific number of meals. All of the resident dining plans are declining balance plans that you use to pay for whatever items you choose to purchase at the various dining venues on-campus.

Q. What is a declining balance plan?

A declining balance plan works like a debit card. At the onset of each quarter you begin with a preset number of dining points. Each time you purchase a food item, your dining meal plan balance will decrease by the amount of your purchase.

Q. Is the dining plan just something else for me to keep track of?

Don’t worry about needing to track or gauge your daily or weekly purchases. Dining Services makes it easy for you to track your balance. At each point-of-sale register you will find a "Pace-Yourself" chart showing approximately what your balance should be for each week of the quarter. You can check your balance at any register, at the Value Transfer Stations in Benson (ACCESS Card Office) or the Learning Commons or on the Access Card Website. By doing so, you can be certain your spending is on pace and that you do not run out of points.

Q. Are Resident Dining Plan Points considered to be actual money?

Resident Dining Points are not real money. Rather Resident Dining Points are a method of assigning values for the different dining plan options.

Q. Do I get a refund if I can’t spend all my Resident Dining Plan Points?

There are no cash refunds for unspent points.

Q. What happens to my Resident Dining Plan Points at the end of the quarter?

At the end of the Fall quarter, if you remain in residency, up to 65 points will transfer to your beginning balance for the Winter quarter. The same will occur from Winter to Spring quarter. At the end of the Spring quarter, however, any unspent points will not carry over and will be forfeited. For the 2015-2016 academic school year, up to 75 points will transfer from Fall to Winter quarter and again from Winter to Spring. Points will not carry over at the end of Spring quarter. 

Q. What if I run out of Resident Dining Points?

You can always add Dining Plus Points, at any time and in any amount.

Purchases of $50 of more can be charged to your student account. These are a great value: You save 8.25% (sales tax isn’t charged) and Dining Plus points are good for as long as you are enrolled at Santa Clara University.

Q. Although I started the fall as a Sophomore, I’ve completed enough courses this spring to become a Junior. Can I change my plan to the Junior/Senior Plan?

No. The Junior/ Senior Plan is available for those beginning their third or fourth collegiate year at the start of their contract period.

Q. My parents live nearby and I go home a lot on weekends. Can I get a Junior/Senior Plan?

Only students beginning their third or fourth collegiate year at the start of their contract period may choose the Junior/Senior Plan.

Q. I have special dietary needs. Who should I see?

Talk to a Bon Appetit manager if you have medical or dietary restrictions. Everything possible will be done to meet your special dietary needs.

Q. I’m a vegetarian. What options do you have for me?

We have many options! Every venue operated by Bon Appetit offers vegetarian options. Vegetarian meals are available every day. Diners can create vegan meals any time via the build-your-own program in "Farmers' Pantry" which provides a variety of seasonal and local prepared vegetables and grains for use in salads, pasta or sautéed dishes.

Santa Clara University also has a commitment to providing fresh, organic, and local ingredients whenever possible to create healthy food while following sustainable practices and fostering ecological awareness.

For a complete daily menu list, venue operating hours, and other detailed information about SCU's on-campus food service, visit the Dining Services Web site.

Dining Services at Santa Clara University are proudly brought to you by Bon Appetit. We are proud to share that your food is prepared by employees who are paid in accordance with the guidelines for a living wage as established by the City of San Jose.