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Resident Meal Plan Information and FAQs

Coming in Fall 2020

Resident meal plans are convenient! They allow students to spend more time on academic and other personal pursuits, no cooking, cleaning, shopping or driving; they are the most convenient way for students to save time and eat a healthy, well-balanced meal; and lastly, new dining café will be located on the bottom floor of the QUAD... it doesn't get much more convenient than that.  

Plan Plan Details Cost per Meal Meals per Week Dining Dollars Semester Cost Annual Cost

Cougar Plan

19 MPW + $75 dining dollars






Tukwut Plan

15 MPW + $400 dining dollars






Paw Plan

12 MPW + $625 dining dollars



$ 625.00



Plan Plan Details Cost per Meal Meals per semester Dining Dollars Semester Cost Annual Cost

Cougar Blue Plan

Block 160 + $150 dining dollars

 $    8.74





Gold Plan

Block 115 + $500 dining dollars

 $    9.12


$ 500



Silver Plan

Block 90 + $650 dining dollars

 $    9.99






  • Who is required to buy a meal plan?

    Participation in a meal plan is mandatory for all residents in the UVA and the QUAD. First Year students must purchase a 19 Meal, 15 Meal, or 12 Meal Plan. Second Year students may purchase one of the block meal plans or one of the First Year plans.

  • Why am I required to be on a meal plan?

    The purpose of a dining program at CSUSM is to provide students with a safe and comfortable extension of their home to get healthy, affordable, well balanced meals. Campus dining fosters community growth, enhances the quality of campus life and contributes to the social components by providing additional space for meetings with faculty and other students. Studies show that students who live and eat on campus are more likely to stay on campus for other events and use university services than those who commute. For First-Year students, the academic transition to college can be challenging, we want our students to have the opportunity to focus on their academic pursuits instead of worrying about cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.  
  • Where do I purchase a meal plan?

    Residents will be able to select their meal plan when they fill out their housing application. Costs for a meal plan will show up on students MyCSUSM account starting in August.

  • What does MPW mean?

    These are “meals per week” that can be redeemed at the Dining Café. Once students enter the café, it’s all-you-care-to-eat. These meals will expire every Saturday at 11:59pm, starting Sunday, at 12:00am, a new week begins. Any unused meals during the week will be forfeited.

  • What does BLOCK mean?

    These are meals which can be used throughout the semester and can be redeemed at the Dining Café. Once students enter the café, it’s all-you-care-to-eat. Block meals will expire at the end of each semester and will not carryover to the next semester.
  • What are Dining dollars?

    Dining dollars are a cash equivalent loaded onto the meal plan card and can be used at the café, any of the USU eateries or Starbucks in the library. Dining dollars are like cash that can be added to the dining card at any time. Whenever a student makes a purchase, they can simply present their card to the cashier and the amount will be deducted from their balance. Dining dollars left over at the end of the fall semester will roll over to the spring semester, but will expire at the end of the spring semester. Sales tax is applied to dining dollar purchases.

  • How many meals can I redeem within one day?

    There is no limit to how many meals can be redeemed within one day, however, each meal redeemed will be deducted from the allotted MPW or Block meals available.

  • When does the meal plan begin?

    This date has not been set yet, please check back in August 2020 for a start date. In the meantime, please visit other campus eateries for hours of operation.
  • When do I need to select a meal plan?

    Residents must select a meal plan when they fill out their housing application.
  • I’m on the waitlist for housing, do I have to select a meal plan?

    Students on the waitlist for housing will still select a meal plan when they complete their application, however, no payment will be required unless they are able to get a spot in one of the housing communities.
  • Where can I use my meal plan?

    Location Meal Plan Payment Options Accepted
    Dining Café Meals Per Week (MPW), Block Meals, Dining Dollars
    Market at USU Dining Dollars
    USU (Panda, Wow, Caliente, Subversions) Dining Dollars
    Starbucks Dining Dollars
    Coffee Cart None
  • Can I change my meal plan if it does not fit my needs?

    Mandatory plans can be changed. These changes can be made within the add/drop period (first two weeks of the semester) with Dining Services.  All changes must be approved by Dining Services and additional fees may apply based on cost of meal plan, MPW already used, and dining dollars that have already been spent.

  • I am withdrawing from CSUSM, can I get a refund for my meal plan?

    Refunds will be granted on a prorated basis until the end of the class add/drop period. After the class add/drop period, refunds will be granted under certain circumstances. Please contact Dining Services for additional questions.

  • Can I use my meal plan for guests in the dining café?

    MPW and Block meals are only allowed for the student on the meal plan. All resident meal plans also come with 3 guest meals which students can use throughout the semester. Just let the cashier know you’re bringing a guest and enjoy your meal. It’s that easy! These guest meals do expire at the end of each semester. Students can use their dining dollars to purchase meals for other students/guests.
  • Can I add dining dollars to my meal plan?

     Yes, dining dollars can be added to meal plans at any time. These will be paid for at the time of purchase and not added to the student’s MyCSUSM account.  More information on this coming soon.
  • Can I add more meals to my meal plan without changing my plan?

    No, adding MPW or Block meals will change the meal plan type. If a student is interested in changing their meal plan, those changes must be made within the add/drop period (first two weeks of the semester) with Dining Services. 

  • How can I check how many meals I have left in my plan?

    Students may check their remaining meal and other balances at the cash registers in the dining café and the eateries in the USU.

  • Is there a payment plan option to purchase meal plans?

     Yes, payment plans are available for students on a mandatory meal plan. Here is the payment plan schedule for those wishing to be on a payment plan.

    8 payments
    Month Payment
    August $574.75
    September $574.75
    October $574.75
    November $574.75
    December No Payment
    January $574.75
    February $574.75
    March $574.75
    April $574.75
    May No Payment
    Total $4,598.00
    Semester payments
    Semester Payment
    August $2,299.00
    January $2,299.00
    Total $4,598.00
    8 payments
    Month Payment
    August $387.25
    September $387.25
    October $387.25
    November $387.25
    December No Payment
    January $387.25
    February $387.25
    March $387.25
    April $387.25
    May No Payment
    Total $3,098.00
    Semester payments
    Semester Payment
    August $1,549.00
    January $1,549.00
    Total $3,098.00
  • What items are prohibited in the dining café?

     Skateboards, bikes, scooters, and outside food will not be allowed in the dining café.
  • What are the rules of the dining café?

    All patrons of the dining café must follow all CSUSM, CSUSM Corporation, and Sodexo policies, rules and regulations. Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times and only food in the appropriate To-Go container is allowed to leave the facility. Failure to comply with all policies, procedures and rules, may result in a suspension or revocation of the meal plan and or access to the dining café.

  • What are the hours of the dining café?

    Use the CSUSM app to view hours or visit Sodexo My Way and see "What's Open Now" and "Hours of Operation" for current hours.
  • Will the dining café be open over breaks?

    Some type of dining option will be available for students during part of Winter break, Thanksgiving break, and Spring break. Continue to check the Sodexo My Way website for hours of operation.

  • Can we take food out of dining café?

    If a student is on the run and unable to enjoy a meal in the café, they can use the Simply-To-Go option or the To-Go Container in their meal plan. When they arrive at the café, they must let the cashier know they would like a To-Go meal. The cashier will swipe your card and give you a sustainable To-Go container or point you in the direction of our Simply-To-Go area. For good health, include fruits and vegetables in your selections. The brighter the colors, the healthier your meal! At the cashier, you’ll find napkins, and utensils. Enjoy your meal!

  • Can I check what will be on the menu in advance?

    Yes. Visit Sodexo My Way for additional information on menus.

  • Can others join me at the dining café if they don’t have a meal plan?

    Yes, friends can certainly join students with meal plans at the dining café. They can pay the door price upon entering, or the student with a meal plans can use their guest meal or dining dollars to treat them to a meal. Door prices vary by meal time and are more expensive than the price-per-meal of the meal plan.

  • What if I lose my meal plan card?

    Students will need to present their dining card each time you visit one of the dining locations to use their meal plan or your dining dollars. If students lose your dining card, they will need to replace it immediately because they will not be able to utilize the meal plan/dining dollars without it. Dining Services can freeze your lost card and replace it with a new one. Fees may apply to the printing of a new dining card. Please contact the Dining Services for additional information.

  • I have special food needs (allergies, intolerances). Who can help me?

    Please contact the Dining Services to ensure the dining café can meet your needs.

  • Can I be exempt form purchasing a meal plan?

    Yes, under certain circumstances, residents may be exempt from purchasing, or allowed to change their meal plan. More information on this process coming soon. 
  • Will there be a meal plan option for CalFresh recipients?

    Yes, residents receiving CalFresh benefits will be able to enroll in a 10 meal per week plan. Please contact for more information.

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