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Second-Year Dining FAQs

Why did the University decide to extend the dining requirement?

Why was did the University not announce the dining requirement at the same time as it announced the second-year housing requirement?

What counts as two-years?

Are any students exempt from this process?

What does it mean for transfer students?

Many second-years have kitchens, why are they required to be on a dining plan?

What plans will be available to second-year students?

How many meal periods are offered each week? If I get a first-year plan will I be able to use all my swipes?

Why was this particular plan chosen for second-years?

How do I select my dining plan?

Will dining be offering any new cafes or dining options?

I can eat cheaper and better on my own, why do I need a dining plan?

How will this impact my financial aid?


 

Why did the University decide to extend the dining requirement?

The College Houses are residential communities for Penn undergraduates that connect the academic life of the University to the residential experience. The College House experience is a central component of a student’s successful transition to and mastery of the rigors of University life at Penn. Communal living and dining experiences are key to building community and advancing social development.

To support our undergraduates in their academic and personal endeavors and engage them with each other and the larger Penn community, Penn now requires all undergraduate students to participate in a dining plan for their first four semesters. As part of this experience, Penn has developed a second-year dining plan which offers 10 meals per week which will provide second-year students access to a base amount of nutritious meals each week, enhancing student wellness, building community around shared meals, and alleviating concerns about potential food insecurity.

 

Why did the University not announce the dining requirement at the same time as it announced the second-year housing requirement?

The goal of the Second Year Experience (SYE) was to strengthen and promote existing programs for second year students, while developing new approaches to help students make good decisions as they face academic and social choices in their second year. The second-year housing requirement, which was announced in the fall of 2018, was the first in a series of initiatives that were planned as part of the SYE. Subsequently other programs such as pilot programs in the College Houses, a Sophomore Day, and specific non-credit programs for undergraduates in their second year were introduced. The two-year dining requirement is an extension of the ongoing development of this program.

 

What counts as two-years?

Similar to the housing requirement, all undergraduate students must have a dining plan for their first four semesters regardless of the number of course units or class standing. Summer sessions are excluded. Students who study abroad during their second- year may include that time toward the requirement.

 

Are any students exempt from this process?

The following students are exempt from this policy:

  • Students enrolled in the College of Liberal Studies or in the Penn Nursing BSN Second Degree Program,
  • Students who are married or in a University-recognized domestic partnership,
  • Students living with a dependent; or
  • Students who are age 22 or older at the start of the academic year.

What does it mean for transfer students?

Students who transfer to Penn from another institution with second year standing and who lived on campus their first year at their previous institution may count those semesters toward the Penn dining residency requirement. Students who transfer to Penn from another institution with junior standing are required to have a dining plan for their first two semesters at Penn.

 

Many second-years have kitchens, why are they required to be on a dining plan?

  • Dining at Penn is more than just meals, it also builds and strengthens community by providing students opportunities to spend time with their friends, dine with faculty, receive nutritional support and assistance with special dietary needs and experience a full range of social and educational activities.
  • Second-year dining plans are designed to fit with all campus living styles. Second-year students can choose between 3 plans which come with a varying number of swipes and Dining Dollars in order to have a plan that best fits their lifestyles.
  • Currently, of second-years living on-campus with a dining plan, only 60.81% have a kitchen. With the opening of New College House West, which features suite style residences, even fewer second-years will have access to kitchens.

What plans will be available to second-year students?

In addition to being able to choose from the two first-year plans, Penn Dining is adding a new plan specifically designed for second-year students.

 

All these plans were designed to provide variety and value with differing numbers of swipes per week and lower costs per swipe.

 

New Second Year Plan:

  • 312 swipes (156 meal swipes per semester) which provides approximately 10 meals a week
  • $600 Dining Dollars ($300 a semester)
  • Total cost - $3996 ($1998 per semester)
  • Cost per swipe $10.89

First Year Plans:

(Plan A):

  • 592 Swipes (296 per semester)
  • Approximately 21 meals per week
  • $250 Dining Dollars ($125 a semester)
  • Total cost - $5952
  • Cost per swipe $9.63


(Plan B)

  • 374 Swipes (187 per semester) which provides approximately 12 meals per week
  • $800 Dining Dollars ($400 a semester)
  • Total cost - $5952
  • Cost per swipe $13.77

Note: Third and fourth-year students can choose any of the 7 plans offered.

 

How many meal periods are offered each week? If I get a first-year plan will I be able to use all my swipes?

Penn Dining offers 24 swipe periods in a typical week, 19 meal and five late-night periods. Penn Dining also offers other opportunities to utilize swipes in Gourmet Grocer and Lauder College House Retail.

 

Why was this particular plan chosen for second-years?

Penn Dining did a series of focus groups with current students, both those on dining plans and those who chose not to continue their plans. Based on these discussions as well as information provided from the Dining Advisory Board and student survey feedback, we learned that students wanted a plan that provided a very basic number of meals and more Dining Dollars as well as a lower cost per swipe. The new plan was designed to address that feedback.

 

How do I select my dining plan?

Second-year students must select their dining plan during room selection. Upperclass students may choose their plans during the room selection process or they may wait until after room selection and choose a plan through Campus Express.

 

Will dining be offering any new cafes or dining options?

 

With the opening of New College House West, students will have access to a new coffee café and a teaching kitchen which will offer daily dinner service and provide students the opportunity to learn culinary skills and healthy food options by participating in the meal preparation process.

 

I can eat cheaper and better on my own, why do I need a dining plan?

Second-year dining plans are designed to fit with all campus living styles. Dining Dollars allow you to grab a quick bite or a coffee between classes, and for those times when you are just too busy or tired to cook and shop, swipes provide the opportunity for a full meal prepared fresh for you each day.

 

Our cafes offer a wide variety of options from breakfast to late night which include vegan, vegetarian, kosher and halal menu choices. Our all-you-care-to-eat cafes offer salad and fruit selections, made from scratch entrees featuring local ingredients including sustainable meat and seafood, pizza, pasta and deli sandwiches. This fall we introduced a new Oasis Platform specially designed for students with food allergies.

 

Retail options include the popular sandwich, sushi, salad and pre-made options at Houston Market; Starbucks coffee; groceries and a hot bar at Gourmet Grocery; baked goods and pre-made sandwiches and salads at Pret-a-Manger as well as a variety of grab and go items at our other cafes.

 

But dining at Penn is more than just meals, it also builds and strengthens community by providing students opportunities to spend time with their friends, dine with faculty, receive nutritional support and assistance with special dietary needs and experience a full range of social and educational activities.

 

How will this impact my financial aid?

Financial aid will remain the same. Aid will be based on the freshman plan costs. Second-years can choose a cheaper plan and utilize the rest of their funds to supplement their dining needs.

 
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