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 Dollars. You can add additional blocks of visits or any amount of Dining Dollars 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

academic year 2019-20 first-year plan price table. Away From Kitchen approximately 16 swipes per week. Semester cost $2795 for 240 swipes and 140 dining dollars. Annual cost $5590 for 480 swipes and 280 dining dollars. Balanced Eating Naturally approximately 11 swipes per week. Semester cost $2795 for 170 swipes and 225 dining dollars. Annual cost $5590 for 340 swipes and 450 dining dollars. Best Food Fit approximately 8 swipes per week. Semester cost $2795 for 138 swipes and 400 dining dollars. Annual cost $5590 for 276 swipes and 800 dining dollars.  Dining plan contracts are binding for the full academic year. Billing is done in the fall and spring with students receiving half the annual swipes and dining dollars each semester. All swipe values include 5 guest visits per semester. All values include 11 annual guest visits. Students will be allocated 6 Fall guest visits and 5 Spring guest visits.

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 240 meals in the Fall semester and 240 meals in the Spring semester – which averages out to 15 meals per week. In addition to the balance of meals, this plan comes with $140 Dining Dollars per semester to use in our retail locations.

Balanced Eating Naturally (BEN)

This plan has a good balance of Meals and Dining Dollars--170 meal swipes and $225 Dining Dollars per semester.  This plan is ideal for students who want larger meals but also want the flexibility offered by Dining Dollars 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 Dollars--$400 per semester--and fewer meal swipe -- 138 (approximately 9 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: First-year students who do not sign up for a dining plan will automatically be enrolled in the BFF plan.

Dining Dollars Discount

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

Dining Plan Dates

Photo of student enjoying a meal at Hill House Dining Cafe

Fall 2019 Dining Plans will begin on Tuesday, August 27, 2019- the first day of class.

Plans will open on Tuesday, August 27 and can be used through Wednesday, November 27.

All cafés will be closed from November 28-30, 2019.

Cafés will begin to re-open on December 1 evening, and will remain open through December 19, 2019.

Fall 2019 dining plans will end with dinner on December 19, 2019, which will have modified hours to accommodate the last exam schedule.


Spring 2020 Dining Plans will begin on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.  (Note: beginning on January 2, 2020, limited retail cafés will be open with modified hours, though January 14.)

Spring 2020 dining plans are valid from January 14-March 6, 2020.

From March 7-15, 2020, 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 Dollars.

Cafés will begin to re-open on March 15 evening, and will remain open through May 12, 2020.

All ACYTE cafés will be closed after May 12, 2020.

All Dining Dollars will expire on Commencement Day, Monday, May 18, 2020.

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.

A noodle bowl from the Global Fusion station at Hill House.

Need to Know Info

ATTENTION FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS: Freshmen students that do not select a dining plan by June 16, 2019, 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.

New students (first-year, transfer, and exchange) arriving for NSO 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 27 - September 17, 2019.  If you have any questions, please contact:

Dining plans are listed by annual price, annual swipes to the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls and annual Dining Dollars. 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 Dollars 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, Lauder College House and Falk Kosher Dining). Each time you eat in an on-campus café, one swipe is subtracted from your semester swipe allowance.

Dining Dollars

Dining Dollars 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), Accenture Café, Houston Market in Houston Hall, Joe’s Café in SHDH, Mark’s Café in Van Pelt Library, Lauder College House Retail and Pret A Manger in Huntsman Hall. Each time you make a purchase, that amount is subtracted from your Dining Dollars account balance. You can add Dining Dollars to your PennCard at any time via Campus Express.

A skillet of beef brisket, coleslaw and green beans from Smoque'd at Hill House Dining Cafe

Cancellation and Change Policy

Cancellations are not permitted unless you are leaving the University for one of the following reasons: Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, Study Abroad, Graduation, or Fall Exchange Students (cancellation for Spring semester only).

All students will have the opportunity to log into Campus Express and make one change to their dining plan during the Fall Change Period.  The Fall Change period will run from August 27-September 17, 2019.  Students will also have a second opportunity to change their dining plan during the Spring Change Period, which will run from January 14-February 4, 2020.  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:

The dining program is not affiliated with any decision concerning financial aid to students. We cannot consider any financial matter as an acceptable reason for requesting a meal plan cancellation.

If you have more questions about dining plans, contact

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