First Year Dining Plans

Welcome to Penn!

Penn Dining welcomes you to campus. We are eager to share our dining cafés with you and demonstrate that we are a culture driven to create food that is alive with flavor and nutrition, prepared from scratch using authentic ingredients.

Freshmen are required to enroll in a dining plan. We do this to ensure a sense of community among the Penn students, faculty and staff. Students can choose between three first-year plans with varying combinations of visits to the all-you-care-to-eat dining cafés and Dining Dollar$. You can add additional blocks of visits or any amount of Dining Dollar$ to your dining plan at any time by logging into your account on Campus Express.

First-year Transfer & Exchange students are also required to have a dining plan. Transfer and Exchange students can choose from any of our Upperclass Dining Plan options.

First-Year Dining Plans

first-year plans AY 17-18 pricing table


FY 18 add-on meal pricing table


Dining Dollar$ Discount

Dining Plan holders will enjoy a 5% discount at Houston Market, Gourmet Grocer, Mark's Café, New College House, McClelland Express, Joe's Café, and Accenture Café when using your Dining Dollar$.

Dining Plan Dates

Fall 2017 Dining Plans will begin on Tuesday, August 29, 2017- the first day of class.

Plans will open on Tuesday, August 29 and can be used through Wednesday, November 22.

All cafés will be closed from November 23-25, 2017.

Cafés will begin to re-open on November 26 evening, and will remain open through December 21, 2017.

Fall 2017 dining plans will end with dinner on December 21, 2017, which will have modified hours to accommodate the last exam schedule.


Spring 2018 Dining Plans will begin on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.  (Note: beginning on January 2, 2018, limited retail cafés will be open with modified hours, though January 9.)

Spring 2018 dining plans are valid from January 9-March 2, 2018.

From March 3-10, 2018, all AYCTE cafés will be closed for Spring Break.  Some retail cafés will be open during this time, at which you can use your Dining Dollar$.

Cafés will begin to re-open on March 11 evening, and will remain open through May 8, 2017.

All ACYTE cafés will be closed after May 8, 2018.

All Dining Dollar$ will expire on Commencement Day, Monday, May 14, 2018.

Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Break Meals

Our operations are closed over Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Break, as outlined above.  If you are a student with high financial need and will need meals over the Thanksgiving, Winter, and/or Spring Breaks, please contact your financial aid counselor.

Please see the Hours of Operation for the most up-to-date hours of operation.

Need to Know Info

ATTENTION FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS: Freshmen students that do not select a dining plan by June 20, 2017, you will be automatically enrolled in the Best Food Fit (BFF) Plan, our most popular plan. First-Year Transfer and Exchange students will be automatically enrolled in the Best Food Fit plan in mid-August.

Fall 2017 Dining Plans begin on Tuesday, August 29th - the first day of class.

New students (freshman, transfer, and exchange) arriving for NSO on August 23rd are provided with most meals through an NSO Dining Plan,  which is part of the New Student Orientation experience.

If you find you would like to change your dining plan, you may do so from August 29 - September 19, 2017.  Please note: any additional charge or refund due as the result of a dining plan change will be based on the current rates regardless of whether the initial sign-up was during a promotional period. If you have questions, please contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dining plans are listed by annual price, annual swipes to the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls and annual Dining Dollar$. Dining plan contracts are binding for the entire year. Billing is processed in the Fall as well as in the Spring. Students receive half of their annual swipes and half of their annual Dining Dollar$ each semester.

How Do Dining Plans Work?

Semester Allowance

Use your swipes in any of our five all-you-care-to-eat, on-campus cafés (1920 Commons, Hill College House, English College House, Café at McClelland, and Falk Kosher Dining). Each time you eat in an on-campus café, one swipe is subtracted from your semester swipe allowance.

Dining Dollar$

Dining Dollar$ are funds on your PennCard used to purchase items at any Penn Dining location including our retail offerings: Gourmet Grocer and Starbucks (located in 1920 Commons), Rick Bayless' Tortas Frontera and the ARCH, Accenture Café, Houston Market in Houston Hall, Joe’s Café in SHDH, José Andrés' Beefsteak in Houston Hall, Mark’s Café in Van Pelt Library, and Pret A Manger in Huntsman Hall. Each time you make a purchase, that amount is subtracted from your Dining Dollar$ account balance. You can add Dining Dollar$ to your PennCard at any time via Campus Express.

How Do I Know Which Dining Plan is Best for Me?

The students at Penn are diverse and so are our dining plans. With these varying options, you’re bound to find one that’s right for you!

Away From Kitchen (AFK)

This plan is great for the student who enjoys an all-you-care-to-eat option.  The AFK Plan offers 250 meals in the Fall semester and 250 meals in the Spring semester – which averages out to 16 meals per week. In addition to the balance of meals, this plan comes with $100 Dining Dollar$ per semester to use in our retail locations.

Balanced Eating Naturally (BEN)

This plan has a good balance of Meals and Dining Dollar$, ideal for students who want larger meals but also want the flexibility offered by having $225 in Dining Dollar$ per semester to grab a snack on the go. On this plan you have approximately 11 meals a week.

Best Food Fit (BFF)**

This plan allows for a more flexible schedule, with more Dining Dollar$ and fewer Meals -- approximately 8 per week -- than some of the other options. It works well for students who tend to skip meals or have busy schedules that don't allow time to eat in the dining cafés on a regular basis.

**Note: Freshmen who do not sign up for a dining plan will automatically be enrolled in the BFF plan.

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