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Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a Meal Plan

  • Which meal plan is right for me?

    Use this chart to determine which plan is right for you! Residents of North Commons are required to choose from the Cougar Blue, Tukwut or Paw plans. 

    Meal Plans
    Meal Plans Cougar Blue Tukwut Paw Flex Social Deluxe Select
      19 MPW +$75 Dining Dollars  15 MPW +$400 Dining Dollars  12 MPW +$625 Dining Dollars 

    9 MPW +$175 Dining Dollars

    50 Block +$450 Dining Dollars   30 Block +$165 Dining Dollars   20 Block +$125 Dining Dollars  
      $4,996 per year $2,498 per semester $4,996 per year $2,498 per semester $4,996 per year $2,498 per semester

    $3,350 per year $1,675 per semester

    $2,004 per year $1,002 per semester

    $1,002 per year
    $501
    per semester

    $738
    per year $369
    per semester
    I would like to eat every meal at the Campus Way Café located @Quad X X X X      
    I would like to eat 2 meals per day at Campus Way Café and 1 at the USU Dining Pavilion (Think Food Court, Market, Starbucks)   X X        
    I will eat at Campus Way Café and USU Dining Pavilion, Starbucks 2-3 times per week.         X X  
    I want to join my friends at the Campus Way Café occasionally.         X X X
    I am not on campus for every meal.     X X X    
    I need flexibility with my meal plan   X X X X    
    I am a COMMUTER, but I still want a meal plan.       X X X X
    I live in UVA or Quad, but I still want a meal plan as I do NOT cook. X X X X      
    I plan to eat dinner ONLY at Campus Way Café.       X X    
  • What meal plans are available?

    Meal plan options and costs will be as follows.

    Meal Plans
    VOLUNTARY PLAN OPTIONS  PLAN BENEFITS  COST

    Cougar Blue Plan

    19 MPW +$75 Dining Dollars

    $4,996 Per Year

    Tukwut Plan

    15 MPW + $400 Dining Dollars

    $4,996 Per Year

    Paw Plan

    12 MPW + $625 Dining Dollars

    $4,996 Per Year

    Flex Plan

    9 MPW + $175 Dining Dollars

    $3,350 Per Year

    Social Plan

    50 block w/ $450 Dining Dollars

    $2,004 Per Year

    Deluxe Plan

    30 block w/ $165 Dining Dollars

    $1,002 Per Year

    Select Plan

    20 block w/ $125 Dining Dollars

    $738 Per Year

  • Who is required to purchase a meal plan?
    Participation in a meal plan is mandatory for all residents of the North Commons. 


    Unlike the QUAD and UVA, the North Commons does not have kitchens within the units, so the new dining café will serve as the campus dining room for all students living in this community.

    The dining program provides students with a safe and comfortable extension of their home to get healthy, affordable, well-balanced meals. Campus dining fosters community growth, enhances the quality of campus life and contributes to the social components by providing additional space for meetings with faculty and other students.

    Studies show that students who live and eat on campus are more likely to stay on campus for other events and use university services than those who commute. For First-Year students, the academic transition to college can be challenging, we want our students to have the opportunity to focus on their academic pursuits instead of worrying about cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

    Meal plans are optional for students who live in UVA, QUAD and commuter students.

    UVA and QUAD residents and commuter students are welcome to purchase a meal plan if they choose. Every meal plan option is available for students who live in the UVA and the QUAD or commute to campus.

  • When do I need to select a meal plan?

    Residents in the North Commons can select a meal plan beginning May 1. Meal plan choices must be made prior to move-in to avoid delays in receiving keys. 

    UVA, QUAD and Commuter students can choose a meal plan at anytime, however, in order to maxamize your plan, we recommend purchasing the plan prior to the first day of classes. 

  • Is there a meal plan option for student receiving CalFresh?
    Yes, North Commons residents receiving CalFresh benefits will be able to enroll in a 9 meal per week plan. To learn more about changing to this plan, visit the Meal Plan Change/Exemption Form page. If you still need additional information, contact dining@csusm.edu.
  • Is there an exemption process for North Commons Residents?

    Yes, under certain circumstances, North Commons residents may be exempt from purchasing, a meal plan. To learn more about the exemption process, visit the Meal Plan Change/Exemption Information

    Please contact Dining Services to ensure the dining café can meet your needs.
    Email: dining@csusm.edu page.

  • What does MPW mean?

    Meals Per Week (MPW) offer a specified number of meals each week during the meal plan period and reset weekly on Sunday morning at 12:00 am. Unused meals expire weekly when the plan resets. Because unused MPW expire weekly, it is strongly encouraged that students select a MPW that suits their specific dietary needs. Weekly Meal Plans are pro-rated according to the CSUSM academic calendar. Weekly Meal Plans are not available during Winter Break although Dining Dollars will be available for use at select retail dining locations on campus. These breaks are factored into the price of the Meal Plans. Please refer to the website for the Campus Dining service days calendar.

    * MPW are exclusive to Campus Way Café @Quad + lunch option at Hiltop Bistro & Get Fresh.  There may be promo days where MPW can used at the USU Dining Pavilion.

  • What does BLOCK mean?

    Block Meals offer a fixed number of meals (Block), which carry over from week-to-week throughout the semester for which the Block was purchased. Block meals will roll over from the Fall semester to the Spring semester but will expire at the end of the Spring Semester. Block meals are not available during Winter Break although Dining Dollars will be available for use at select retail dining locations on campus. These breaks are factored into the price of the Meal Plans. Please refer to the website for the Campus Dining service days calendar.

    * Block meals are exclusive to Campus Way Café @Quad + lunch option at Hiltop Bistro & Get Fresh.  There may be promo days where Block Meals can used at the USU Dining Pavilion.

  • What are Dining Dollars?

    Dining dollars are a cash equivalent which comes with a meal plan and can be used at the café, any of the USU eateries or Starbucks in the library. Whenever a student makes a purchase, they can simply present their meal plan app to the cashier and the amount will be deducted from their balance. Unused Dining Dollars at the end of the Fall Semester will roll over to the Spring semester. Dining Dollars expire on the last day of the Spring semester. Unused balances are forfeited and not refundable. Should students purchase a meal plan for the following Fall semester, up to $100 of the leftover Spring Dining Dollar balance will be carried forward to the Fall semester. Any amount over $100 shall be forfeited and not refundable. If a student has a balance less than $100 at the end of the Spring semester and they purchase a meal plan for the following Fall semester, that balance will carry over to the Fall semester. Fall meal plans must be purchased by the last day of the previous Spring semester. Carryover Dining Dollars are subject to a meal plan purchase for the following fall semester and will be forfeited in whole by the student should they cancel their fall meal plan purchase for any reason.

  • What is Cougar Cash?

    Cougar cash is a cash equivalent loaded onto the Meal Plan's cougar cash account and can be used at the café, any of the USU eateries or Starbucks in the library.

    Cougar cash can be added to the Cougar cash account at any time through the Dining Page in the CSUSM app or online. Whenever a student makes a purchase, they can simply present their QR Code in the campus app to the cashier and the amount will be deducted from their balance. Cougar cash accounts will be accessible through the same app as the meal plan.

    * You do not need to have a meal plan to load Cougar Cash onto your account. 


Paying for or Changing a Meal Plan

  • Where do I select a meal plan?

    Purchase A Meal Plan on the dining site.

    Meal plans can be selected online or through the Dining Page and in the CSUSM app, starting May 1. 

    The cost of your meal plan will be added to your student account, viewable through your MyCSUSM portal. You also pay through your MyCSUSM portal, just as you would for tuition and housing.

    Step By Step Process to select a Meal Plan

  • Can I or someone else add money or meals to my meal plan?

    Yes, cougar cash can be added to meal plans by you or someone you know through the Dining Page in the CSUSM app at any time. 

    You cannot add more MPW meals or Block meals during the semester because it will change the meal plan type. You will, however be able to change your meal plan during the inter-semester period.

  • Can I change or cancel my meal plan?

    Voluntary plans can be changed to a larger meal plan prior to the end of the Add/Drop deadline, online or through the Dining Page and in the CSUSM app.  If making a change to a voluntary meal plan, students will only be able to switch to a larger meal plan, not a smaller meal plan. It can take up to 48 hours for changes to be fully processed in the system. 

    North Commons Residents on a Mandatory plan can change their plan, however, they must choose a Cougar Blue Plan, Tukwut Plan, or Paw Plan. These changes can be made prior to the end of the Add/Drop deadline, online or through the Dining Page and in the CSUSM app. It can take up to 48 hours for changes to be fully processed in the system. 

    Refunds will be granted on a prorated basis until the end of the class add/drop period if the student has withdrawn from CSUSM. After the class add/drop period, refunds will not be granted. Please refer to the Cancellations and Refunds section of the Student Dining Meal Plan Contract. Contact Dining Services for additional questions. Email: dining@csusm.edu

  • What will happen to my Declining Balance Card If I Get a Meal Plan?
    Nothing! The Declining Balance Card program is a separate, parallel system, and will be accessible before and after you sign up for a meal plan. Your Declining Balance will roll over between semesters and years, and be accessible as usual. You may spend them at any of the USU eateries and the Campus Way Café.

Using a Meal Plan

  • When does the meal plan begin?
    The meal plan will begin on the Friday before the first day of classes for Fall and Spring semesters. For other campus eateries, please visit Locations, hours & menus.
  • How can I check how many meals I have left in my plan?
    Students may check their remaining meal and other balances online or through the campus app.
  • Where can I use my meal plan?
    Meal Plan Locations
    Location Meal Plan Payment Options Accepted
    Campus Way Café Meals Per Week (MPW), Block Meals, Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash
    USU Market Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash
    USU (Panda, Hilltop Bistro Grille, QDOBA, Get Fresh)

    Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash
    Meal swipe lunch (11am-2pm) option - ONLY Hilltop Bistro & Get Fresh 

    Starbucks Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash
    Coffee Cart None
  • How do I use my meal plan to get food? Do I need a swipe card?
    All you need is your digital Campus ID , accessed through the CSUSM Campus mobile app on your phone. Scan your Campus ID Card at the register at any of our participating dining locations.
  • What forms of payment are accepted in the Dining Café

    The Campus Way Café accepts the following: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash and Meal Swipes (MPW meals and Block meals).

    CSUSM students, staff and faculty using Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, Dining Dollars and Cougar Cash for entrance into the all-you-care-to-eat facility will be charged the meal rate for their transaction. See rates below.

    Breakfast:                $10.55 + tax
    Lunch/Brunch:        $12.21 + tax
    Dinner:                      $15.68 + tax

  • Can I still eat at the dining café without a meal plan?

    Yes! There is a walk-in rate for CSUSM students, staff and faculty. Price does vary by meal time and are more expensive than the price-per-meal of the meal plan. 

    Breakfast:                $10.55 + tax
    Lunch/Brunch:        $12.21 + tax
    Dinner:                      $15.68 + tax

  • How many meals can I redeem within one day?
    Only one meal can be redeemed per meal period (meal periods include Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night) Each time the QR Code is scanned a meal will be deducted from the allotted MPW or Block meals available.
  • I have special food needs (allergies, intolerances). Who can help me?
    Please contact Dining Services at dining@csusm.edu to ensure the dining café can meet your needs.

Eating in the Campus Way Café

  • What forms of Payment are accepted at the Campus Way Café?

    The Campus Way Café accepts the following: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, Dining Dollars, Cougar Cash and Meal Swipes (MPW meals and Block meals).

    Faculty, Staff and Students using Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, Dining Dollars and Cougar Cash for entrance into the all-you-care-to-eat facility will be charged the meal rate for their transaction. See rates below.

    Breakfast:                $10.55 + tax
    Lunch/Brunch:        $12.21 + tax
    Dinner:                      $15.68 + tax

  • What items are prohibited in the Campus Way Café?

    Skateboards, bikes, scooters, and outside food will not be allowed in the Campus Way Café. 

  • What are the rules of the Campus Way Café?

    All patrons of the Campus Way Café must follow all CSUSM, CSUSM Corporation, and Sodexo policies, rules and regulations. Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times and only food in the appropriate To-Go container is allowed to leave the facility. Failure to comply with all policies, procedures and rules, may result in a suspension or revocation of the meal plan and or access to the Campus Way Café.

  • What are the hours of the Campus Way Café?

    Use the CSUSM app to view hours or visit Sodexo My Way and see "What's Open Now" and "Hours of Operation" for current hours.

    Operation Hours

    Hours of Operation:

    Mon-Fri

    Sat/Sun

    Breakfast

    7am-10am

    -

    Lunch / Brunch

    11am-2pm

    10am-2pm

    Dinner

    5pm-8pm

    5pm-8pm

  • Will the Campus Way Café be open over breaks?

    The Campus Way Café will not be open over winter break. Some type of dining option will be available for students during part of Winter break (closed the week between christmas and new years), Thanksgiving break, and Spring break. Continue to check the Hours website for hours of operation.

  • Can we take food out of Campus Way Café?

    If you are on the run and unable to enjoy a meal in the café, you can purchase food from the Simply-To-Go area using their dining dollars or cougar cash.

    All-you-care-to-eat meals from Campus Way Café may not be taken “to go”, unless specifically authorized for a student who is unable to go to the Campus Way Café (examples include: illness, injury, isolation, etc). The Resident Advisor or Resident Director may contact a CSUSM Dining Services manager to make special arrangements for a meal or meals to be picked up on the student’s behalf.

  • Can I check what will be on the menu in advance?

    Yes. Visit Sodexo My Way for additional information on menus.

  • Can others join me at the Campus Way Café if they don’t have a meal plan?

    Yes, friends can certainly join individuals with meal plans at the Campus Way Café. They can pay the door price upon entering, or the individual with a meal plan can use their dining dollars or cougar cash to treat them to a meal. Door prices vary by meal time and are more expensive than the price-per-meal of the meal plan.

    Faculty, Staff and Students using Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, Dining Dollars and Cougar Cash for entrance into the all-you-care-to-eat facility will be charged the meal rate for their transaction. See rates below.

    Breakfast:                $10.55 + tax
    Lunch/Brunch:        $12.21 + tax
    Dinner:                      $15.68 + tax

    General Public using Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Cash for entrance into all-you-care-to-eat facility will be charged these rates below:

    Breakfast:                $13.00 + tax
    Lunch/Brunch:        $15.00 + tax
    Dinner:                      $19.00 + tax

  • Can I use my meal plan for guests in the Campus Way Café?
    MPW and Block meals are only allowed for the individual on the meal plan. Individuals can use their dining dollars or cougar cash to purchase meals for other students/guests.