Campus Dining Services Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I eat?

Residential dining operations include:

  • Gilbert Hall offering hot and cold grab and go items
  • Neptune Dining
  • New Hall Dining
  • Stevenson Retail Dining

Retail dining operations include:

  • Holmes Student Center including Depot C-Store, Grill at Huskie Den, Starbucks and QDOBA
  • Founders Memorial Library: Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Barsema Hall: Three Sons Bistro and C-Store

Use Where to Eat for up-to-date hours of operation for all campus dining locations.

When can I eat during the semester?

Residential dining operations include:

  • Gilbert Hall offering hot and cold grab and go items
  • Neptune Dining
  • New Hall Dining
  • Stevenson Retail Dining

Retail dining operations include:

  • Holmes Student Center including Depot C-Store, Grill at Huskie Den, Starbucks and QDOBA
  • Founders Memorial Library: Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Barsema Hall: Three Sons Bistro and C-Store

Use Where to Eat for up-to-date hours of operation for all Campus Dining locations.

Can I still take my food to-go?

All block plans offer To-Go dining from All You Care to Eat locations. Visit To-Go Program webpage for more details.

During opening weekend (January 14 - 17) all dining from Neptune and New Hall dining will be packaged in disposable to-go containers. Dine-in and To-Go program will begin with the start of the semester 1/18.

Meal Plans

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 and staff, meal plan selections are payable through payroll deduction, or online credit card payment.

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 housing@niu.edu and dining@niu.edu.

Deadlines to change a plan:

  1. If you added your meal plan before the semester started, you have 10 business days from the start of the semester to upgrade, downgrade or cancel your meal plan. After those 10 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 10 business days from the date you added your plan to upgrade, downgrade or cancel it. After those 10 days have passed, you may still upgrade or refill, but you can't cancel or downgrade your plan.
When does my meal plan reset or expire?

Resident student meal plans: weekly meal plan swipes reset every Sunday morning/Saturday night at 12 a.m. The 100 Dining Dollars included with your plan expire at the end of the semester.

Off-campus student meal plans: meal plan swipes and the 300 Dining Dollars included with your plan both expire at the end of the semester.

Dining Dollars only plans: Dining Dollars purchased separately from a meal plan expire at the end of the academic year. Level plans purchased during the fall semester will roll over remaining balances to the spring semester, but will not roll over past the spring semester.

What are Dining Dollars and how do I get them?

All students that choose a Huskie Block Plan receive Dining Dollars to supplement their weekly or semester meals. Dining Dollars can also be purchased in addition to a Block Plan or as a standalone meal plan for off-campus students.

Dining Dollars can be used at all Campus Dining Services operated locations. Use Dining Dollars to purchase items not on meal exchange in retail dining, to treat a friend to a meal in residential or retail dining, or for a small snack instead of using a meal swipe.

There are different types of Dining Dollars depending on how the funds were added. Dining 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: Dining Dollars associated with the Residential Block meal plans are noted as Dining Dollars Res. These funds are allocated once and remaining balances at the end of the semester will also be forfeited.
  2. Off-campus students: Dining Dollars associated with the Off-Campus Block meal plans are noted as Dining Dollars OC. These funds are allocated once and remaining balances at the end of the semester will also be forfeited.
  3. All students: Dining Dollars associated with the Dining Dollars Level plans are noted as Dining Dollars Add. Allocation of funds happens at the start of the semester or within one (1) business day after purchase. Dollars expire at the end of the academic year so any unused at the end of the fall semester will roll over to spring. Any unused dollars at the end of the spring semester will be forfeited.

More information on meal plans available.

Add Dining Dollars

What are Huskie Bucks and do I need them?

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.

Visit Huskie Bucks for more information.

How many meal swipes and meal exchanges can I use?

All meal plans have a five meals per day limit. This limit is applied to all Campus Dining locations across campus.

Meal exchange is using your meal swipe to purchase a combination of items from one of our retail dining locations. The daily and/or weekly limits apply regardless if you use your meal swipe for meal exchange or at Neptune or New Hall Dining.

Faculty and Staff Meal Plans

How and when do I pay for a meal plan?

You are able to pay by credit card online or payroll deduction.

For payroll deduction, finalize your request by completing the start/stop payroll deduction authorization form and send your form electronically to dining@niu.edu after submitting it.

Calculate the amount of each deduction by dividing the total cost of the plan evenly by the number of pay periods. Per plan, please do not exceed the following number of deductions:

  • Faculty/Staff 15: four (4) pay periods.
  • Faculty/Staff 30: eight (8) pay periods.
  • Faculty/Staff 60: ten (10) pay periods.
What are Dining Dollars?

Dining Dollars enhance your faculty and staff meal plan by allowing you to purchase food items at other campus dining locations in addition to the All You Care to Eat dining centers. These dollars additionally provide access to all retail and grab 'n go locations. It's perfect for when getting to an All You Care To Eat dining center is difficult. Check where you can use Dining Dollars.

Can I request a refund for my faculty and staff meal plan?

Campus Dining Services does not offer refunds for any faculty and staff meal plan purchase. If you find yourself not using the plan as expected, we would ask that you attempt to treat a guest, whether it be a student, current or prospective, a colleague, or even a community member to a hot meal in one of our locations.

Locations and Hours

Where can I use my meal plan?

Huskie Block Plans, Dining Dollars, Huskie Bucks, and debit/credit cards allow you to eat at all campus dining locations. Our operations are grouped by residential or retail, your choice.

Enjoy dine-in or meals to go from our residential dining operations Neptune Dining and New Hall Dining. We also have several retail dining locations including Stevenson Towers, Founders Memorial Library and Holmes Student Center offering you more variety. Most retail dining locations have seating nearby to enjoy your meal or take your food with you.

Check out Where to Eat for a complete list of our operations and their hours.

Nutrition and Wellness

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 resnutrition@niu.edu. 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.

Miscellaneous/Card Services

Do I need a OneCard ID for dining?

It is very important that you get your student OneCard ID. Meal plans are only accessible through your student OneCard ID. Plans will be loaded to the system at the beginning of the semester or within a business day after making a selection when added during the semester.

Learn more about other ways you can use your OneCard ID!

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.

Back to top