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Frequently Asked Questions

Students  Guests and Visitors  Faculty and Staff


  • When are the dining rooms open?

    Check out the hours of operation for all of our dining locations, as they vary between location and time of the year.

    Fall 2024:
    START OF THE SEMESTER: Fall meal plans will be active starting Wednesday, August 21.
    END OF THE SEMESTER: All dining locations will close after lunch on Friday, December 13.

    Spring 2025:
    START OF THE SEMESTER: Spring meal plans will be active starting Saturday, January 11.
    END OF THE SEMESTER: All dining locations will close after lunch on Friday, May 9.

  • 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 one of the On Campus Meal Plans 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 are exempt from the mandatory meal plan requirement, but we still recommend purchasing a Bear Plan or Dining Dollars.

  • 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?

    We have a NEW dining software system, so you are now able to check your meal plan and Dining Dollars balances online. Visit the dining portal, log in, and you can manage your meal plan.

    You can also ask any cashier to run an "inquiry" on your balance when you're at the dining location if that's easier for you.

  • Where can I use my meal plan?

    You can use your meal swipes in several different locations:

    • Holmes Dining Hall
      • Includes Bear On The Run
    • Tobey-Kendel Dining
    • Bowlful (Meal Exchange - up to 5 swipes per week)
    • Burger & Co. (Meal Exchange - up to 5 swipes per week)
    • Crisol Latin Kitchen (Meal Exchange - up to 5 swipes per week)
    • Empire State Pizza (Meal Exchange - up to 5 swipes per week)

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

    • Bears Coffee Shop (Michener Library)
    • Bowlful (University Center)
    • Burger & Co. (University Center)
    • Crisol Latin Kitchen (University Center)
    • Einstein Bros® Bagels (University Center)
    • Empire State Pizza (University Center)
    • Hissho Sushi (University Center)
    • Munchy Mart™ (University Center)
    • Subway® (University Center)
    • Starbucks® (Holmes Hall)
    • 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 (usually a few weeks before the semester begins).

    An easy way to see if you have a meal plan is to log into the dining portal and look there. You could also log into your Ursa account and see if there is a meal plan charge on your bill. 

    If you still have questions, please contact us at 970-351-2652 or diningservices@unco.edu

  • Can I bring a friend to the dining hall or use my meal plan to swipe a friend or family member in?

    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.

    Meal plans truly are intended for your use only, but the meal plan is yours -- so if you want to swipe a friend into the dining room, you can. If you don't want to use your meal plan, guests and visitors are welcome to pay cash prices at the door. Bonus -- you can pay cash prices with Dining Dollars.

  • 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 use the new dining portal to manage your meal plan. Dining charges/credits should appear on your student bill in your Ursa account within 24-48 hours of the contract being processed.

  • 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 and 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.

  • 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 300 Meal Plan. 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 and 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 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 10 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.

    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.

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

    Meal plans (On Campus Meal Plans and Bear Plans) 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. 

    We have a special station in Holmes Dining Hall called Simple Servings, and it is a good choice for students with allergies or dietary restrictions (the food is free of eight of the nine top allergens -- the only allergen we serve there is fish).

    Dining Services is committed to providing students with a variety of healthy and nutritious meal options. However, with over 3,000 students being served per day, individual meal requests can be considered only with appropriate documentation from a physician. (But still ask us -- if we can help, we will!)

    If you have special dietary needs that are not being met, we urge you to contact our Registered Dietitian, Matthew Doyle, at 970-351-1961 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 be able to prove your identity. Our new system allows you to log in to the new dining portal and use your virtual ID instead.

    The staff at the UNC Card Office can assist you to obtain a new UNC Card if you lose it or it stops working.

Guests and Visitors

Holmes Banquet Room

  • Can UNC departments and student clubs/organizations reserve the Banquet Room in Holmes Dining Hall during meal times?

    Absolutely. While there is no cost to reserve the Holmes Banquet Room, all guests in your group must be paying customers.

    For example, if a department wanted to use the Banquet Room for a lunch meeting, the department would either need to purchase meals for their guests or have their guests purchase their meals (by paying cash or using their payroll deduction plan).

    If a student club or organization wants to reserve one of our banquet rooms, their group would either need to pay with their department's meal card, with cash for their meals or swipe in using meal plans.

    To reserve the Holmes Banquet Room, please contact the Dining Services Office at 970-351-2652 or diningservices@unco.edu.

  • How many people does the Holmes Banquet Room hold?

    Holmes Dining Hall Banquet Room:

    • 12 tables x 4 seats = max capacity 48
    • A screen is available, but you need to bring a laptop and projector.

    You are welcome to move the tables to fit your needs, but please be sure to have at least two people pick them up and move them so it doesn't damage the flooring. When you're done, please move the tables back to where they were before you moved them.

  • Can we bring in outside food or drink in the banquet room?

    No, you cannot bring outside food or drink into any dining room. Also, please refrain from taping anything on the walls. Essentially, we ask that you leave the room as clean as (or cleaner than) when you arrived.

    If you need something catered on campus, please contact UNC Catering.

Faculty and Staff

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

    Faculty, Classified Staff, 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 Dining Services 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 and Tobey-Kendel) are currently $8.50 + tax = $9.10 per swipe (starting July 16, 2024). 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)
    • Tobey-Kendel Dining

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

    At the University Center

    • Bowlful
    • Burger & Co.
    • Crisol Latin Kitchen
    • Einstein Bros® Bagels
    • Empire State Pizza
    • Hissho Sushi
    • Munchy Mart™
    • Subway®

    Across Campus

    • Bears Coffee Shop (Michener Library)
    • Starbucks® (Holmes Hall)
    • Beverage and snack vending machines across campus