Sign up for your Fall 2024 Meal Plan now (click to learn more)!

Dining FAQ | 2024-25

All you need to know about our meal plans and what's on campus.

Meal Plans

When/how often can I use a PLUS Swipe?

You can use a maximum of 1 Plus Swipe per meal period, per day. Meal periods defined below.

Subject to the operating hours of the dining facility, meal periods are designated in the dining tracking system as:

  • Breakfast: 5AM – 10:59AM
  • Lunch: 11AM – 1:59PM
  • Late Lunch: 2PM – 4:59PM
  • Dinner: 5PM – 8:59PM
  • Late Night: 9PM – 5AM
Are summer meal plans available?

We do not offer meal plans during the summer due to our dining halls not being open consistently. We encourage you to add Carolina Convenience online or at the UNC One Card Office.

When can I sign up for my Fall 2023 Meal Plan?

Meal plan sales start Monday, April 1, 2024 and may be purchased online until Tuesday, September 3, 2025 *

Any student requesting a cancellation or change after Tuesday, September 3, 2024 must go to the One Card site and click on Meal Plan Appeal Form in the important information box. Meal Plan cancellations, by appeal, will result in prorated refunds to the Spring portion of the 2024-25 Meal Plan and will be credited back to the student’s cashiers account based on either the date of cancellation. Meal Plan Appeals may take a few days to process.

What are your door rates?

Tar Heels can pay with Flex, Carolina Convenience, credit/debit (MasterCard/Visa) and cash at the dining halls. If you are paying with any of the listed options above, you’ll be charged the door rate upon entry:

  • Breakfast: $12.00 + tax
  • Lunch/Brunch: $16.25 + tax
  • Dinner: $17.25 + tax
  • Late Night: $13.50 + tax
I see Commuter Flex and Meal Plan Flex on my account. Is all Flex the same?

Yes, all of the Flex is the same and does roll over until your graduate as long as you are consecutively enrolled. The various names of the Flex are just for programming purposes on the back end. Also, you can use Flex at any of our dining locations on campus and also for delivery to campus from Takeout Central, Brenz Pizza, Domino’s and Wings Over Chapel Hill so make sure to fully utilize all of it’s flexibility!

How do I change or cancel my meal plan?

To Cancel or Sign up for a meal plan visit

All Meal Plans that are not off-campus meal plans are annual contracts. A student may request to change or cancel their previously selected Meal Plan until Tuesday, September 3, 2024 (see Changes and Cancellations in our Policies). After Tuesday, September 3, 2024, all emergencies necessitating account changes will be handled by visiting the One Card site and clicking on Meal Plan Appeal and click on Meal Plan Appel Form in the important information box.  Meal Plan Appeals will be reviewed as prompt as possible but typically within a few days.

If the emergency results in a cancelation the student may be required to pay a $250 cancellation fee.

Fall 2024 changes must occur by September 3, 2024. First change is free and additional changes incur a $50 processing fee.


I'm trying to buy my meal plan but when I log in I receive a single sign-on error message. Help!

No worries, you can still buy a meal plan! You will just need to set up the University’s 2-Step Duo Security in order to sign in. For more information on how to set-up, check out UNC’s 2-Step Verification instructions.

Am I required to purchase a meal plan?

No, all of our meal plans are voluntary so you are not required to sign up.

I just bought my meal plan but haven’t paid the bill yet. Can I still use it when my meal plan starts?

Yes! It takes roughly three days for the cashier’s office to process the transaction, but as soon as you purchase a meal plan, you can start swiping away!

If I run out of Meal Swipes, can I still eat in the dining hall with a debit/credit card?

Yes! If you have a meal plan and run out of Meal Swipes, you can still eat at the dining hall. Meal plan holders can pay with Flex, Carolina Convenience, credit/debit (MasterCard/Visa) and cash. If you are paying with any of the listed options above, you’ll be charged the door rate upon entry:

  • Breakfast: $12.00 + tax
  • Lunch/Brunch: $16.25 + tax
  • Dinner: $17.25 + tax
  • Late Night: $13.50 + tax
If I don’t have a meal plan am I still eligible for financial aid to cover meals?

You will still have a budgeted amount of $5,254 for meals in your cost of attendance budget that is used to determine your aid eligibility regardless of enrolling in a meal plan. To calculate how much of your meal expense is covered by your financial aid, we recommend using the OSSA Budgeting Calculator.

Where can I use my PLUS Swipes?

PLUS Swipes will still be available at all of the normal locations on campus. We have a comprehensive list of which locations accept PLUS Swipes and which combos are being served! 

Where can I use my Flex?

Meal plan holders can use Flex at any of the Carolina Dining Services locations on campus as well as for food trucks, Domino’s Pizza, Brenz Pizza, Wings Over Chapel Hill and Takeout Central! Learn more about delivery options here!

How do I use my meal plan? I'm still confused about Meal Swipes, Flex and PLUS Swipes.

Don’t worry! We’ve put together an in-depth overview about the different components of your meal plan and how to use each one on campus. Learn more about how to use your meal plan and if you still have questions we haven’t covered, we’re always available via our contact form.

In addition to the dining halls, where else can I eat on campus?

We have many options including food trucks, Carolina Dining Delivery, and pick up via the GET App!  You can still use your Flex to order food from Takeout Central, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s, Brenz Pizza and Wings Over Chapel Hill. Check out our delivery page for more information on participating locations 

  • Food Trucks: We are setting up food trucks around campus and select trucks will now accept Flex (along with card/cash). All schedules can be found at
  • Carolina Dining Delivery: CDS will deliver select meals from Chase during lunch and dinner hours to on campus residence halls around campus with the use of a meal swipe (no extra food charge to you). Order your meal via the GET app and just walk outside to pick up your meal during a specific window. Check out the GET app to see what’s being served!
  • Takeout Central: Order from over 30 local restaurants with your Flex for delivery to any location oncampus or specific drop points (delivery fee will be charged). Checkout Takeout Central to see participating restaurants.  
  • GET App: Order your meal ahead of time and pick it up at our dining locations around campus. This is an excellent choice to take your meal to-go and not have to sit inside the dining halls.  
Are there healthy options available?

Yes – our registered dietitian makes sure the dining halls offer a variety of healthy and nutritious options to help you live a healthy life. Each dining hall has its own vegetarian station and full-sized salad bars. Check out our nutrition page and if you’ve got allergy or dietary concerns, contact us and our registered dietitian will answer your questions!

Can I add more Meal Swipes to my Meal Plan?

Yes! We offer Add-On Meal Plans if you happen to run low. Once you get down to 10 Meal Swipes or less you can add a Block 20, Block 40, or Block 60 to your Meal Plan. Learn more about Add-On Block Plans here.


Can I treat my friend to a meal on my plan?

The Unlimited Meal plan is non-transferable and can only be used by the meal plan holder. However, all Unlimited meal plan holders have 10 guest meals to invite a friend or family member!

If you have a Block plan – YES! Feel free to bring a friend or family member and you can just let our cashier know that you would like to use one of your swipes on their meal.

Safety Protocols

I'm considered high risk, is it safe for me to eat in the dining hall/where can I eat on campus?

We encourage students at an increased risk to use any of our delivery and pickup options to avoid crowded areas. If delivery is not an option, check out our Get Well Soon Program, where you can send a roommate or friend to pick up your meals on your behalf. It is also advised to dine at Chase Dining Hall or any location on south campus during the day due to heavy volume on north campus during lunch hoursWe also have a Registered Dietitian available for consult for anyone with dietary or risk concerns. 

Is it safe to use delivery or pickup options if I have a food allergy?

Because the GET app does not provide full ingredient listings or food allergens, students are encouraged to check the online menu to view this information prior to placing an order. The Simply Prepared menu will be offered on the app, therefore there will always be a meal option that omits the top 9 allergensStudents will also be able to specify their food allergy or special instructions for our team to handle their request.

If you are placing an order for an off-campus location, please contact the retailer directly for questions. You can speak directly with our registered dietitian to learn more about what options are best for you! Just fill out our contact form and mention you would like to speak with our registered dietitian. 

Should I avoid dining on campus if I am sick?

If you are sick or injured, do not come to the dining halls. Our Get Well Soon Program allows you to send a non-symptomatic buddy to pick up your meals on your behalf. Simply fill out our Get Well Soon form, then forward the confirmation email to your Buddy so they can show it to the cashiers as authorization to charge your student account. We are working with housing and other officials to finalize plans to accommodate students that may need to quarantine or isolate in on-campus residence. Details will be provided once they are finalized. 


Are reusable boxes available for to-go at the dining halls?

Yes! Meal plan holders are eligible to check out up to two containers at a time for free. If you do not have a meal plan, or have already checked out two boxes, you can purchase a box for $3.50. These to-go boxes are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each use to ensure the risk of germs and cross contamination are mitigated. 

Learn more here!


Can I bring my reusable mug or cup to dining locations?

Yes! We encourage you to bring your reusable mug or cup to the dining halls; this is the main form of taking a drink to go as we continue to move to a more sustainable campus. We also offer beverage discounts in select locations to incentivize the use of reusable bottles and mugs over single use cups.  

CDS bottles and mugs are available for purchase, which are eligible for $0.25 off of refills at Lenoir Mainstreet, The Beach Café, Rams Market, Cafe McColl, Blue Ram, Café Converge, and Atrium Café.

Alpine Deli and Alpine Bagel offers 20% off fountain beverages and 10% off self-serve coffee with any reusable drink container.    

Port City Java offers $0.25 discount for coffee refills with Port City Java or CDS cups (up to 16 ounces).  

Click here to learn more!

Does using a reusable to-go container in the dining halls use a second meal swipe?

No! We scan twice to mark that you’ve checked out a container, but if you are filling up your to-go container and taking your food outside of the dining hall, you only use one meal swipe.  

However, if you choose to eat in the dining hall and would like to take leftovers or additional food to-go, you will need to use a second meal swipe. 

Learn more here!

Can I bring my own Tupperware to the dining halls?

No, you cannot bring your own food storage containers to the dining halls due to food safety protocol. We offer reusable to-go containers which are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each use to ensure the risk of germs and cross contamination are mitigated. 

More information can be found here!

How does CDS address challenges around food waste?

We compost trim waste in our kitchens, as well as all the leftover food that is returned to the dish belt in the dining halls. We also donate surplus prepared food from Lenoir Mainstreet to the Inter-Faith Council weekly in partnership with the Food Recovery Network. 

Source reduction is the best way to prevent food waste; we track food production every meal period to better forecast future purchasing. Our Pick Your Portion program encourages students to request the portion size that best fits their needs. By offering half portions at select dining hall stations, we can reduce the chance for leftover food being sent to the dish return. 

Click here to learn more about our waste reduction efforts!

How do I properly compost and recycle on campus?

We offer front-of-house compost and recycling bins in Chase, Lenoir Mainstreet, Beach Cafe, and the Student Union. There are also compost bins outside of most residence halls, and recycling bins can be found in all campus buildings! For more information on where to find bins, check out the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling’s website. 

You can compost all food waste, napkins, green straws, BPI-certified compostable packaging, PLA #7 bioplastics (like our EcoProduct cups), and wooden utensils/chopsticks.  

You can recycle plastic bottles, metal cans, glass jars, paper, and cardboard on campus. Make sure to keep cups out of the recycling bins! 

When in doubt, throw it out! 

For more information on how to sort waste, click here!

Available Locations on Campus

How do I order to-go?

Most of our oncampus dining locations will be offering to-go options (for pick-up) through the GET Mobile app. Learn more about the GET app and download today! 

Where are food trucks on campus?

Food trucks are available on campus with select trucks that accept Flex! Check daily where your favorite food truck is scheduled on our Menu & Hours page. 

What is Carolina Dining Delivery?

Carolina Dining Delivery is a new delivery feature that CDS is offering! We will deliver select meals from Chase during lunch and dinner hours to all on campus residence halls with the use of a Meal Swipe (no extra charge to you). *quarantine and isolation halls excluded from delivery service.

Order your meal via GET mobile and just walk outside your residence hall to pick up your meal during a specific window (make sure you don’t miss the truck). Check out the GET app to see what’s being served and where we are delivering! 

Available Monday – Friday!

  • Lunch: Order by 9AM for lunch delivery (12PM – 1PM)
  • Dinner: Order by 2PM for dinner delivery (5PM – 6PM)
What resources are available off campus for food?

Many local restaurants are open and are also offering take-out and delivery options. For a list of open restaurants and services provided, visit What’s Open Downtown.

Local grocery stores are open and there are a variety of services that students may use for grocery delivery or pickup, including:

Amazon/Whole Foods | Instacart | Shipt | Walmart Harris TeeterWeaver Street Market (curbside pickup

For students or others who might be in need, a list of food assistance resources and other information is provided by the Town of Chapel Hill. Visit the Town’s Food Distribution Flyer and COVID-19 Community Resource Guide for additional information.