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Carolina Dining


Commuter/Upperclassman FAQ

Get details about our flexible meal plan options for commuting students and upperclassmen. See common questions people have about meal plans and declining balance plans.

How Do Meal Plans Work?

Meal Plans, Meal Swipes and Meal Plan Dollars (MPD) 

For unlimited dining, your meal swipe can be used once per meal period at Bates Diner, Honeycomb Café and Gibbes Court Bistro. Swipe and enjoy all-you-care-to-eat per dining period.

A swipe can only be used once per dining period and up to the allotted retail credit at on-campus retail restaurants. If your meal total is at or below the retail credit amount, we'll swipe your card and you'll be on your way. If your meal total is above the retail credit amount, you can pay the remaining balance using MPD, Carolina Cash, cash or a debit/credit card. It's that simple. 

Dining Periods

There are 21 dining periods per week (3 per day).

Breakfast: 6:00 a.m. – 10:59 a.m. 
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 3:59 p.m. 
Dinner: 4:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m.
Late Night: 12:00 a.m. – 3:30 a.m.

When do meal plan weeks begin?

The meal plan week starts Thursday morning with breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and ends Wednesday night with late night at 3:00 a.m. Meals not used by Wednesday late night will be forfeited. Meal plans reload for the week before breakfast on Thursday. Students on a meal plan get one swipe per meal period.


How Does a Declining Balance Plan Work?

Declining balance plans provide a straight declining balance that can be used at all on-campus dining locations at any time. As a bonus, these plans come with guest meals that can be used at our 3 all-you-care-to-eat dining locations: Bates Diner, Gibbes Court Bistro and Honeycomb Café. These plans provide sales tax savings and complimentary meals which can’t be realized when using cash, credit cards or Carolina Cash.


Frequently Asked Questions About Declining Balance Plans

How does my declining balance plan work?

You can spend your $1,500, $1,300 or $825 meal plan dollars (MPD) at all 31 dining locations. Using MPD works much like a debit card; every purchase is dollar for dollar. Unused declining balance dollars expire at the end of the semester.  

Where can I use my declining balance dollars?

Your declining balance dollars can be used at any of our 31 on-campus locations. Declining balance dollars can even be used at Starbucks, except for the Starbucks in the University of South Carolina Bookstore.

Are there savings associated with my declining balance plan?

Yes, all purchases within our operations are tax free when using declining balance dollars. The complimentary meals associated with each plan have a $10 value for each meal.

Where can I use my guest meals?

Guest meals associated with the declining balance plans can be used at Gibbes Court Bistro, Honeycomb Café and Bates Diner. Guest meals expire at the end of each semester. 

Can I use my declining balance dollars outside of the 31 dining locations on campus?

No. Declining balance dollars can only be used in dining locations on-campus (except for the Starbucks in the University of South Carolina Bookstore). Declining balance plans cannot be used to pay for parking, vending and copies.

Is my meal plan refundable if I am suspended during the semester?

Your meal plan is not refundable if you're suspended during the semester.