Meal Plan FAQ

What is included in a meal plan?

Meal Plans are tax-free and include a combination of the following

  • Meals in all-you-care-to-eat residential quad dining rooms
  • A declining balance account, called Munch Money, which allows you to purchase meals, food and beverages in dining rooms, the Campus Center, the Downtown Cafe, vending machines and Shop24.

If I live on campus, am I required to purchase a meal plan?

Yes, if you live in traditional residential quad housing, you are required to have a meal plan. Incoming freshman are automatically assigned the Unlimited Meal Plan #1 and incoming upperclassmen (transfer students) are automatically assigned the 175 Meal Plan #2. Freshman can change to the Unlimited Meal Plan #2 once Residential Life has assigned housing and you have registered for classes. Upperclassmen can change to the Unlimited Meal Plan #1 or #2, 175 Meal Plan #1 or 120 Meal Plan once Residential Life has assigned housing and you have registered for classes. Changes can be made online or by going in person to the SUNYCard office in the Campus Center.

Returning residential upperclassmen will automatically be assigned the same meal plan they had the previous semester.

Please note that the 50, 30, 15 and Munch Money Meal Plans are not available to traditional residential quad housing students, only commuters and University apartment students.

Why is the Unlimited Meal Plan #1 automatically assigned to me as an incoming freshmen living on campus?

The Unlimited Meal Plan #1 is a good choice for freshman students as it offers worry-free dining. No budgeting is required, which is nice for both you and your parents. The Unlimited Meal Plan #1 guarantees that you will have meals from the first day of the semester to the last day. So rather than worrying about budgeting your meals, you can focus on your schoolwork and socializing with your new friends.

What is a 'meal swipe'?

A 'meal swipe' is the way UAlbany Dining refers to the deduction of a meal from your chosen meal plan account balance. For example, let's say it is the first day of the semester and you are on the 175 Meal Plan. You decide to go to the Colonial Quad Dining Room for breakfast and the Indian Quad Dining Room for dinner. At the end of your first day at UAlbany, you will have 'swiped' your SUNYCard for two meals, leaving you with 173 meals for the rest of the semester.

If you were on an Unlimited Meal Plan in the above scenario, however, you would not have to budget your meals for the semester, you just swipe and enjoy!

Can I go to dinner more than once per evening on the Unlimited Meal Plans?

Yes, on the Unlimited Meal Plans, you can go to any of the five residential dining rooms (all-you-care-to-eat) as many times as you wish during the regular hours of operation (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There are no restrictions on the number of 'meal swipes' you use or which dining room you choose to go on any given day.

If I don't live on campus, can I still purchase a meal plan?

Yes, if you are a commuter or living in a University apartment, you can purchase any of the meal plan options.

How do I choose the right meal plan?

Think about your class year and schedule, and you’re eating, study and social habits. Some helpful questions you should ask yourself include:

Can I add more Munch Money if I run out of the amount that comes with my meal plan?

Yes, you can add Munch Money at any time by going online or by visiting the SUNYCard office in the Campus Center. You should remember to budget your Munch Money purchases and check your Munch Money balances throughout the semester (balances can be checked online, in the SUNYCard office, or with any cashier).

It's also important to remember that Munch Money only carries over from semester to semester during one full academic year (summer-spring). Any Munch Money not used by the end of the spring semester will be forfeited.

Can I change my meal plan if it's not working for me?

Yes, meal plan changes can be made through the 10th business day after the start of each semester. Freshmen can change from the Unlimited Meal Plan #1 to the Unlimited Meal Plan #2. Upperclassmen may change from the 175 Meal Plan to the Unlimited Meal Plan #1 or #2, the 175 Meal Plan #1 or 120 Meal Plan. Commuter and University apartment students can change to any meal plan option. You can change your meal plan online or by visiting the SUNYCard Office. Find all details about the meal plan change/refund policy here.

After the 10th business day after the start of the semester, meal plans are non-refundable and non-transferable due to New York State tax codes.

Can I use my meal plan to purchase a meal for a friend?

Since meal plans are tax free, New York State tax codes do not allow meals (including meal swipes and Munch Money) to be transferable to guests.  You may use Podium, a credit card or cash for guest meals.

What happens to unused Munch Money at the end of the semester?

Munch Money carries over for one academic year (summer to spring), as long as you remain enrolled; any remaining Munch Money at the end of the spring semester will be forfeited.

At the end of the semester, will unused meals carry over to the next semester?

No, unused meals do not carry over to the next semester.

What accommodations are made for students with special diets due to food allergies, celiac, intolerances etc.?

UAlbany Dining makes every effort to accommodate students with special dietary requirements at no additional cost. Simple Servings is an allergen-free and gluten-free dining station available at all quads (Alumni Quad is upon request). This platform provides dining options that avoid the 7 major food allergens (i.e. milk, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, soy, shellfish) and is completely gluten free. In addition, a full-time, on-site registered dietitian is available to provide the best dining options to safely and reasonably guide students in making their own food choices in the resident dining rooms and the retail venues.

Students with medically-related special dietary requirements should contact Nutritional Services at:

Does a meal plan include vegetarian, vegan and other lifestyle-based food options?

UAlbany Dining works hard to accommodate food preferences based on lifestyle preferences. All five all-you-care-to-eat resident dining rooms have a variety of vegetarian and vegan options on a daily basis, such as an extensive salad bar and hot entrée choices. Retail locations also have numerous vegetarian options.

Contact Nutritional Services if you need assistance on how/where to eat while on campus at:

What kosher options are available on campus?

The new Kosher Kitchen at Indian Quad offers prepared and made-to-order kosher meals.  Add $100 to the cost of any meal plan (except the Munch Money Meal Plan) or deduct $100 in Munch Money to have access to the venue. For students without a Kosher Meal Plan, the cost is an additional $3.50 in Munch Money per meal swipe. Students, faculty, staff and visitors without a meal plan can visit the Kosher Kitchen for the door rate of $15.00.

In retail at the Campus Center, there are several pre-made kosher items available in the Jazzman’s Café cooler (East Addition) and at the 518 Market. Kosher food items are clearly labeled. Kosher meals are also available for special events, please contact UAlbany Dining at
Note: Dutch Quad’s Kosher Kitchen is permanently closed.

Is halal meat available on campus?

State Quad dining room offers halal chicken upon request (available 11a - 8p daily). Grilled halal chicken salads and sandwiches are also available at 518 Market in the Campus Center. Food items are clearly labeled. Students looking for halal meals should refer to the Hours of Operation to see the specific locations and operating times. Halal meals are also available for special events, please contact UAlbany Dining at

If I run low on meals on my meal plan how do I purchase more meals?

Students cannot purchase more meals but they can place additional Munch Money in their account by visiting MyUAlbany. You can check the number of meals remaining on your plan by going online. Students on the Unlimited plan do not run out of meals and can swipe as often as they’d like in the all-you-care-to-eat dining rooms throughout the semester. Munch money can also be used when meals run out.