Carolina Dining Services


Meal Plan Calculator

Undecided which meal plan is best for you?  No worries.  Here is our Meal Plan Calculator which can help guide you to making your choice.  Eat Happy!

First Time Residents

Traditional Meal Plans provide a bit of structure in your life and that's a big asset in your first year. The plan is designed to help make sure you do not run out of meals at the end of the week. A swipe can be used once per meal period. There are 21 meal swipe periods in a week (Friday Breakfast - Thursday dinner). If you eat at our all-you-can-eat restaurant, it is always one swipe. If you use a swipe in one of our multiplex cafeterias or at our national brand restaurants you have an allotted meal swipe credit you may use. You have the option of choosing 10,14,16+, or 21 meal swipes per week. The most popular traditional plan is the 16+ meal swipe plan as you receive an additional $100 in Meal Plan Dollars to spend each semester.


The favorite Traditional Meal Plan for a commuter is the 5 swipes-per-week plan.  As a commuter you spend 6 - 8 hours a day on campus and the 5 meal plan helps fight those hunger pains while attending class and studying!

Meal Plan Snapshot (2013-14 Pricing)

Meal Plan Options Traditional Preston Flex Meals ***
21 swipes-per-week plan $1,479 $1,761   353
16+ swipes-per-week-plan3 $1,503 $1,799   269
14 swipes-per-week plan2 $1,378 $1,662   236
Mega Flex Plan     $1,488 236**
Major Flex Plan     $1,413 160**
10 swipes-per-week plan1 $1,262 $1,563   168
5 swipes-per-week plan $740      84
Minor Flex     $752  84**

Preston's Residential College

4 swipes-per-week plan*


                                                                                       1 Required minimum for first time residents including Preston Residential College.

                                                                                       2 Required for Bates House Residents.
                                                                                       3 Includes additional $100 of Meal Plan Dollars that can be used in addition to your meal swipes.
                                                             * Required for upperclassmen in Preston Residential College.

                                                             **Dependent on student's purchasing habits.
                                                             ***May vary. Based on 16.85-week semester.


Important Info

Bonus Bucks

Carolina Dining rewards its meal plan customers by adding Bonus Bucks to your CarolinaCard! This extra money can only be used at campus dining locations to either purchase more than the meal plan allows or for those times when you just want a snack in between meals. Throughout your stay at Carolina, the bucks keep growing as you continue with your meal plans.

Meal Plan  Bonus Bucks
  Freshmen Sophomore Junior Senior/Graduate
21 swipes-per-week plan $20 $100 $150 $200
16+ swipes-per-week-plan3 $20 $100 $150 $200
14 swipes-per-week plan2 $20 $100 $150 $200
Mega Flex Plan n/a n/a n/a n/a
Major Flex Plan n/a n/a n/a n/a
10 swipes-per-week plan1 $20 $100 $150 $200
5 swipes-per-week plan n/a n/a n/a n/a
Minor Flex n/a n/a n/a n/a
4 swipes-per-week plan n/a n/a n/a n/a


Meal Swipes

Your meal swipe can equal one meal. One swipe of your meal card pays for your meal at Bates Diner, our all-you-can-eat cafeteria, and for a Value Meal Deal at other on-campus dining locations.

Swipe Credits

The University of South Carolina is one of only a few Universities that offer you the opportunity to use your meal plan swipes at retail cafes, coffee niches, and national brand restaurants as well as our all-you-can-eat unit. Students on a meal plan get one swipe per meal period. One swipe credit is the equivalent of:

Carolina Cash

Just as your Meal Plan and Bonus Bucks are ways to pay for your food, Carolina Dining also accepts Carolina Cash! This is the declining debit account YOU control-no more running to the ATM! Your Meal Plan, Bonus Bucks and Carolina Cash accounts are ALL conveniently located on your CarolinaCard.

Value Meal Deals

Value Meal Deals are on-campus specials available at various dining locations where the entire meal, including tax, fits on

one meal swipe. That means it requires NO Bonus Bucks, NO Carolina Cash, and NO extra spending by you! Look out for these changing specials at our dining locations all year long! 

Meal Plan Hours

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

The meal plan week starts Friday morning with breakfast and ends Thursday night with dinner. For example: If you have

14 swipes and have 1 swipe left after buying dinner Thursday night, Friday morning you will begin again with 14 swipes to use for the next week.

Preston Dining

Students living in Preston Residential College have the unique opportunity to dine together for dinner Monday through Thursday in the all-you-can-eat Preston Dining Room. Preston Freshmen are required to have a minimum 10-meal plan while upperclassmen have at least a 4-meal plan.