How Plans Work

How Meal Plans Work: The Fine Print

How to Purchase Meals

Classic Meals are all-you-care-to-eat (buffet-style) meals. You can enjoy classic meals from early morning to late at night. After Dark (PAR) even offers dinner every night from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Café Credits can be used at any University Housing A La Carte location (for food items only) or to purchase an all-you-care-to-eat meal at a dining hall. Café credits work like cash, except you swipe your i-card to use the credits (1 credit= $1.00). Rollover policy: You may roll over a maximum of one week’s worth of your plan’s Café Credits into the following week (the maximum balance you can have is double your weekly allotment). Rollover of applicable credits will occur automatically. Note:  If you change your meal plan, you can roll over up to one week's worth of your plan's current Café Credits to your new plan.

Illini Cash (formerly called Extra Credits) is not part of a meal plan, but can be purchased as a supplement and is accepted in all dining locations. Swipe your i-card to use Illini Cash. Illini Cash may also be used for printing costs in University Housing computer labs.

Note: Classic meals, Café Credits, and Illini Cash are not refundable and cannot be transferred to another person. If you would like to bring a guest, you may use your Café Credits or Illini Cash.

Choose How You Pay: The default is for a classic meal to be deducted from your weekly allotment, but if you would rather use Café Credits or Illini Cash for a meal, inform the checker as you enter the dining hall.

Location Types

University Housing meal plans are welcomed at all six dining hall locations, conveniently located around campus. On designated days in the dining halls, our specialty restaurants feature a specialty cuisine or theme. 

A La Carte locations offer items that are priced individually. Use Café Credits or Illini Cash to pick up a quick snack or grab a bite to go.

Or visit the beautifully historic Colonial Room Lunch at the Illini Union. The Colonial Room accepts cash, check, credit card, Illini Cash, or department account number. 

Meal Periods and Rates

If you have a meal plan with Classic Meals, you may enter a dining hall using a meal credit up to 7 times per day, once per meal period (up to the limit of your meal plan: 6 meals, 10 meals, or 12 meals). Maximum Classic meal plan holders may enter once per meal period, up to 47 times per week. What time you enter a dining hall determines which meal or credits you use.

Meal Period

Hours

Credit Equivalent

Breakfast 7:00 a.m. - 10:29 a.m. 8.03 Cafe Credits
9.21 Illini Cash (includes tax)
Early Lunch 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon 10.21 Cafe Credits
11.72 Illini Cash (includes tax)
Lunch 12:01 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 10.21 Cafe Credits
11.72 Illini Cash (includes tax
Late Lunch 2:01 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  10.21 Cafe Credits
11.72 Illini Cash (includes tax)
Dinner 4:01 - 6:00 p.m. 13.30 Cafe Credits
15.26 Illini Cash (includes tax)
Late Dinner 6:01 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 13.30 Cafe Credits
15.26 Illini Cash (includes tax)
After Dark 8:01 p.m. - 12:00 midnight (PAR only)  10.21 Cafe Credits
11.72 Illini Cash (includes tax)

Children's Rates

Children under age 5 (accompanied by an adult) may eat for free in our dining halls. Bring your family!

The dining hall meal rates below are for children under age 12 (accompanied by an adult):
  • Breakfast: 4.63 Illini Cash (or $4.63), includes sales tax* 
  • Lunch: 5.89 Illini Cash (or $5.89), includes sales tax*
  • Dinner: 7.63 Illini Cash (or $7.63), includes sales tax*
  • After Dark: 5.89 Illini Cash (or $5.89), includes sales tax*

*Meals paid for with credit card or Illini Cash are subject to sales tax. Meals for children paid for with Cafe Credits are not subject to tax.

Prorated Meals 

Standard meal weeks begin on a Sunday. At various times of the year when the meal week begins on a different day (e.g., opening week in the fall, and after some break periods) your meal plan is prorated. This means you will have fewer meals during the week than you would in a regular week during the school year. When your meal plan rate was set, prorated weeks were already figured in, so you did not pay for them.

Prorating is calculated by dividing your meal plan into sevenths, representing seven days of the week. 

To figure out prorated meals:
# of days with meals x 1/7 of your meal plan = Prorated meals and credits given