Frequently Asked Questions


Fall 2020 Dining

When will dining halls be open for service? Updated Dining halls will open three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with suitable time in between each service to thoroughly clean and sanitize all areas. Meal service will be carry out only.
What residential dining locations are open? New Your residential meal plans work in the Neptune and New Hall dining rooms. The Stevenson Retail Dining Center and Dog Pound C-Store in Stevenson Towers will be open for meal exchange options included with your meal plan. Gilbert Hall’s dining area is not open this fall.
How are you keeping dining halls safe? Updated
  • Residential dining locations' service will be carry out only.
  • All customers must wear face coverings to enter.
  • All employees will wear face coverings.
  • Emphasis will be placed on speed of service to prevent a congregation of customers.
  • Expansion of mobile ordering via Grubhub in retail dining locations to limit the interaction between customer and cashier.
  • Employees will constantly wipe down high-traffic or high-touch areas.
  • Self-service stations will be eliminated.
Why can’t I purchase the Huskie Classic plan this fall? New The Huskie Classic Plan is unavailable this fall because unlimited access does not provide physical distancing. Students who wanted that plan will receive Block 19, which provides 19 all-you-can-eat meals per week.
Are Holmes Student Center dining places open this fall? New Yes. All food services in the Holmes Student Center – Starbucks, our brand new Qdoba, The Grill at the Huskie Den and The Depot C-Store – are open.  “Meal exchange” hours at Huskie Den, Qdoba and C-Store are expanding to begin at 1 p.m. so that you can use one of your meal swipes for a combination of items, such as a sandwich, chips and a drink.
Are Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels open? Updated Yes. Founders Memorial Library will be open this fall.
What is closed? Updated Sandella’s at DuSable, Gilbert Dining, and Three Sons Bistro in Barsema Hall are closed this fall to provide physical distancing.

Top 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? Updated

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 Neptune and New Residence Hall. 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 and Stevenson Grill.

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 Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Founders Memorial Library.

All students, faculty, and staff are able to use their NIU OneCard ID to access a meal plan (including Dining 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 Dining Dollars and Huskie Bucks? Updated Dining Dollars is the new name for Flex Dollars in an attempt to alleviate any confusion the previous name may have caused. Dining Dollars can be used to purchase items from any Campus Dining Services operated location. 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 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? Updated

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.

Meal Plans begin August 21  at lunch.

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 Dining Dollars? Updated

Students that choose a Huskie Block Plan have Dining Dollars included as part of their meal plan selection. Residence Students on a Block Plan will receive 100 Dining Dollars at the beginning of the semester. Non-Residential Students receive 300 Dining Dollars with their Huskie Block Plans.

Regardless of residential or non-residential, you are able to purchase Dining Dollars separately to supplement additional 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 Dining Dollars as a standalone meal plan.

For more information, see  Meal Plans and  Huskie Bucks.

Add Dining Dollars

What is Meal Exchange? Updated

Meal Exchange offers the ability for Huskie Block plans to choose dining options from a retail dining center. In locations like Qdoba, Depot C-Store and Huskie Grill after 1:00pm or  Stevenson Retail Dining, use one of your meal swipes for a combination of items like a sandwich, chips, and a drink. Locations offering meal exchange will list what items are eligible to be combined for one meal swipe.

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

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 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 Dining Dollars, Huskie Bucks, or Credit/Debit Card.

Can I check my meal plan balance?

Worried you are running low on Dining 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 Dining Dollars, ask for a balance inquiry to show your Huskie Bucks and Dining 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? Updated

Yes, we offer breakfast, lunch and dinner catering for events on campus including seminars, camps and weddings. Due to COVID-19 catering options are limited and will follow the guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public HealthLearn more about catering.

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