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Syracuse changes meal plans, consolidates declining balance accounts

Syracuse University has gone back to the campus dining drawing board, reworking its meal plan system and consolidating declining balance funds into a single account. The university’s Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card Services Office has chosen a new block meal plan system that will take effect with the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

According to an official university release, the meal plan overhaul has been driven by student feedback. Students had often expressed confusion over the number of meal plan options, the weekly meal swipe “reset” and the difference between the SUpercard FOOD and PLUS funds accounts, says Kris Klinger, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services, which also includes the Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card (HMPID) Services Office.

Under the new system, students will have the opportunity to select “block” plans. That is, a set number of meals for an entire semester. Unlike Syracuse’s current meal plan system, there will also be no weekly “reset,” meaning students can use dining center meal swipes at their own pace over the course of the semester.

HMPID will offer three different block plans—one with 220 meals per semester, one with 130 meals and a third with 85 meals. The new options roughly correspond with the university’s previous 14, 10 and 5 meals-per-week plans, respectively.

A first time addition to Syracuse’s dining plans will be a new, unlimited meal plan option. Students on these plans will be able to swipe into a campus dining center as often as they would like. This plan would enable maximum flexibility for students who may just want to pop into a dining hall for a cup of coffee or a muffin before class, or who want to return to the dining hall for an ice cream bar after dinner.

Most meal plans will come with Meal Plan Dining Dollars, a declining balance tender that can be used at campus cafés and select dining halls on the Syracuse campus. Meal Plan Dining Dollars only plans are available for select students living off campus or on the university’s South Campus.

Consolidating fund accounts

Joining Syracuse’s new meal plan overhaul will be a change to declining balance funds and accounts, starting with the retirement of the SUpercard FOOD and PLUS accounts.

Beginning on July 6, 2021, these two funds will be combined into a single account, accessible via students’ SU I.D. card or the CBORD GET app. Students can use their ‘CUSE Cash funds to purchase food and non-food items at nearly every point of sale on campus, including all Food Services locations, the Campus Store, convenience stores, vending machines and stadium concessions stands and shops.

At the end of each academic year, unused ‘CUSE Cash funds will be refunded to student bursar accounts.

Faculty and staff members can also use ‘CUSE Cash accounts to eliminate the need to carry cash or credit cards for on-campus purchases. Unlike student accounts, faculty and staff ‘CUSE Cash accounts do roll over from year to year.

“We’ve introduced a lot more flexibility into the meal plan system,” says Gillian Budman Kanter, interim director of the Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card Services Office. “We have something for everyone, from our on-campus students who will eat most of their meals in a dining center to the off-campus students who may only want to enjoy an occasional Dunkin’ iced coffee.”

Students can alter their meal plan choice up to the end of the second week of the Fall 2021 semester. Students who feel like they need a larger meal plan can also increase the number of meals they need throughout the semester.

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