Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to have a meal plan?

All residence hall students are required to have a meal plan as part of residence hall living. Students that live off-campus or commute may also sign up for a meal plan.

For more information, see Meal Plans.

How do I pay for my meal plan?

All meal plan selections are billed to the student's Bursar account, regardless if the student is living in the residence halls, or off-campus. For faculty & staff, meal plan selections are payable through payroll deduction, or online credit card payment.

What are the meal plan choices? We have options for students living in the residence halls, commuter students and faculty & staff. Learn about Meal Plans that fit your needs.
Where can I eat?

Campus Dining Services offers a wide variety of dining options across campus. Options include All You Care to Eat, meal exchange, and À la Carte retail dining.

Enjoy All You Care to Eat dining served in Gilbert, Neptune, and New Residence Hall. Huskie Classic Plans and Huskie Block Plans are available for use in these locations. Huskie Block Plan users can opt to use To-Go program as well.

Stevenson Towers offers more retail-based dining options from the Stevenson Retail Dining Center and the Dog Pound C-Store. Both dining operations allow for meal exchange for those on one of the Huskie Block Plans. Stevenson Retail Dining Center includes Erbert & Gerbert's Deli, Stevenson Pizzeria, Stevenson Grill, and a salad toss station.

Stop by one of our many exciting À la Carte retail dining locations across campus. We are expanding our retail dining program rapidly with more locations coming soon! Our current list of operations includes: Gilbert East Side Café in Gilbert Hall, Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Founders Memorial Library, Sandella's Flatbread Café in both the College Grind and DuSable, or Three Sons Bistro at Barsema Hall.

All students, faculty, and staff are able to use their NIU OneCard ID to access a meal plan (including Flex Dollars) at all Campus Dining locations. All locations also accept Huskie Bucks and Credit/Debit Cards.

For more information, see Where to Eat and Meal Plans.

I have a special diet. Where can I eat?

We offer a variety of menu items to accommodate most special diet needs. If you have dietary restrictions or food allergies and would like some help navigating our dining locations, please contact our nutrition and allergy support staff located in Neptune Central 225 by phone at 815-753-9556 or by email at Our staff will be glad to meet with you to discuss your dietary needs and provide guidance. If you require a special diet you should contact Health Services for help in securing accommodations.

What's the difference between Flex Dollars and Huskie Bucks? Flex Dollars is a flexible spending account used for food purchases. Flex Dollars can be used at any Campus Dining Services operated location. There are different types of Flex Dollars depending on how you the funds were added. Flex Dollars can be included with a meal plan selection, be added to accompany a meal plan, or purchased separately as a standalone off-campus meal plan.
  1. Residential Students: Flex associated with the Residential Block meal plans are noted as Flex-Blk20, Flex-Blk30, and Flex-Blk40. These Flex Dollar accounts are allocated each week with rollover of up to one week in value if unused. Any funds remaining that exceed a value equal to two weeks of your allotment will be forfeited weekly. Weekly rollover/resets occur each Sunday of the semester. Remaining balances at the end of the semester will also be forfeited.
  2. Off-Campus Students: Flex associate with any Off-Campus meal plan are noted as Flex Non Res. This account is allocated once and any unused dollars will be forfeited at the end of the semester.
  3. All Students: Flex purchased as any of the Flex Level meal plans are noted as Flex Plus. Allocation of funds happen at the start of the semester or within one (1) business day after purchasing. Dollars expire at the end of the academic year so any unused at the end of Fall semester will rollover to Spring. Any unused dollars at the end of the Spring semester will be forfeited.

Huskie Bucks are separate from your dining meal plan. Your Huskie Bucks account is a pre-paid debit account that can be used anywhere on campus to purchase meals as well as various services like laundry and copying/printing. Huskie Bucks can also be used at many local restaurants.

For more information, see  Meal Plans and  Huskie Bucks.

When will meal service begin?

Some dining locations are open before classes start. On-campus students will be able to use plans starting on move-in day. See Where to Eat for the latest dining schedules.

For the spring semester, the first meal served under the room and board rate will be breakfast on Monday of the week that classes begin.

Can I change my meal plan?

If you would like to change or cancel your meal plan, please send an email from your student Z-ID email account to and

Deadlines to Change a Plan

  1. If you added your meal plan before the semester started, you have ten business days from the start of the semester to upgrade, downgrade or cancel your meal plan. After those ten business days, you can still upgrade or refill, but you can't cancel or downgrade your plan.
  2. If you added your meal plan on or after the first day of the semester, you have ten business days from the date you added your plan to upgrade, downgrade or cancel it. After those ten days have passed, you may still upgrade or refill, but you can't cancel or downgrade your plan.
How do I get Flex Dollars?

Students that choose a Huskie Block Plan have Flex Dollars included as part of their meal plan selection. Residence Students on a Block Plan receive weekly Flex Dollars which can be rolled over up to a single week at a time. Non-Residential Students receive 150 Flex Dollars with their Huskie Block Plans.

Selecting the Huskie Classic Plan does not include Flex Dollars. Regardless of residential or non-residential, you are able to purchase Flex Dollars separately to supplement addtional meals in À la Carte retail dining locations.

Non-Residential Students whom do not select any other meal plan still have the option to purchase Flex Dollars as a standalone meal plan.

For more information, see  Meal Plans and  Huskie Bucks.

Add Flex Dollars

What is the To-Go Program and how do I use it?

The To-Go meal program allows for students and staff members on one of the Huskie Block Plans to fill an eco-friendly, sturdy, reusable container and take their food to-go from one of our All You Care to Eat locations of Gilbert, Neptune, and New Hall Dining.

Each time you wish to take your food to-go, the checker will hand you a clean container which you can fill with any items served that day, as long as the container is able to close. Opting for a to-go meal does mean you cannot sit down with your container within the dining hall, you must fill the container and take your food with you. Return the dirty but empty container and receive a new, clean container. Opting to dine-in after returning a container, you will receive a key tag to hold on to until the next time you wish to take To-Go.

There is a one-time fee of $4 to cover the cost of the container. The one-time fee can be paid with Flex Dollars, Huskie Bucks, or Credit/Debit Card.

Can I check my meal plan balance?

Worried you are running low on Flex Dollars, meal plan swipes, or even Huskie Bucks? Use these resources to your advantage!

  • Stopping at the OneCard ID Services office, or any location that accepts Flex Dollars, ask for a balance inquiry to show your Huskie Bucks and Flex Dollars balance.
  • View your balances online through eAccounts online. Online portal allows for real-time balance checks, transaction history, and more.
  • Prefer a mobile app? Download the eAccounts app for Android or Apple devices. Offers same features as online portal, streamlined for on-the-go use.
If I lose my OneCard, how do I suspend privileges to it?

Residence hall students have the option of getting a temporary meal plan card by visiting any of the residential dining center offices. This temporary card suspends your lost OneCard so that it cannot be misused and then it will allow you to access your Huskie Bucks or Meal Plan. If you lose your OneCard outside of residential dining's regular business hours, you may suspend your OneCard online.

Learn more about reporting a lost or stolen OneCard.

Does Campus Dining Services offer event catering?

Yes, we offer breakfast, lunch and dinner catering for events on campus including seminars, camps and weddings. Learn more about catering.

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