Frequently Asked Questions
What forms of payment do dining facilities accept?
We accept credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover), Obie Dollars, and Student/Faculty/Staff Charge. Board Meals and Flex Points can be used in select locations.
Guest Meal Tickets can be purchased at the Office of Residential Education and Dining Services with cash or check.
For more information, see How to Pay.
Can I take food out of the Dining Halls?
At our "all-you-can-eat" dining halls (Stevenson and Lord/Saunders), students are free to take a piece of fruit, cookie, or ice cream cone with them at the conclusion of a meal. Entrées must be consumed in the dining hall. At Wilder DeCafé, the Rathskeller, and Azariah's, you may purchase food and then either consume it there or take it with you. See the Reusable Container Program for related information.
I want to treat a friend to a meal. Can any part of my meal plan pay for this?
Board meals can be used to purchase meals for guests if you are on a semester meal plan. Board meals on the weekly meal plan are not transferable. You can also use Obie Dollars, Student Charge, Credit/Debit cards, or the Flex Points that come with certain meal plans. See How to Pay for more information about meals with a host.
How do Meal Plans work?
All students are required to be on a meal plan for the duration of their time at Oberlin.
- Weekly meal plans provide a certain number of board meals per week, which are deposited onto your card every Monday morning during the semester. Any meals not used at the end of each week are lost.
- On the semester meal plans, either 300 or 160 meals are deposited onto your card at the beginning of the semester and can be used until the end of the semester.
Board meals can be used at any location that accepts board meals. On the weekly meal plans, you are limited to one board meal per period. If you run out of board meals, you can pay for additional meals using another form of payment. See How to Use Your Meal Plan for details.
Please see the Meal Plans page for the different meal plans and their rates. Students with at least 4 semesters in residence, and students who live off-campus or in Village housing, are eligible for meal plans with fewer meals per week.
Which plan should I choose?
Students with at least 4 semesters in residence have a choice of meal plan. When choosing a meal plan, first assess your eating habits. Meal plans with more meals per week work well for students who eat meals regularly and consistently; meal plans with fewer meals work well for students whose meal schedules vary from day to day and week to week. Weekly meal plans with fewer meals also come with more flex points, which offer flexibility in what types of meals are purchased.
The Meal Plan Calculator can help you choose a meal plan based on how many meals you consume per week.
Can I change meal plans if I made the wrong choice?
Students with at least 4 semesters in residence are able to switch meal plans during the first two weeks of each semester. Requests can also be made during Summer or Winter Term that will take effect at the beginning of the upcoming semester.
Students switching between OSCA and CDS may do so every two weeks during the semester, pending acceptance into or release from a co-op.
For more information and specific deadlines, please see the Meal Plan Changes page.
Why are meal plans more expensive than purchasing meals separately?
All students are required to help pay for the cost of the dining program, as part of the educational experience of a residential college. The charge includes fixed costs (labor, utilities, maintenance) of running dining halls, as well as variable costs (food, supplies) of what students consume.
What are Flex Points?
The Flex Points program is a debit account built into meal plans (1 flex point = 1 dollar). Flex Points may be used to purchase additional meals or à la carte items at our dining locations. Please refer to the Meal Plans page to determine how many Flex Points come with each meal plan.
Do Flex Points roll over between semesters?
CDS Flex Points roll over from Fall semester to Spring semester, but not between academic years. Any Flex Points left in your account at the end of Spring Semester will be lost.
How are Flex Points allotted over the course of the school year?
Flex Points are deposited to your account near the beginning of each month on dates listed on the Flex Points Schedule. As long as you remain on a CDS meal plan, Flex points continue to accumulate until the end of the Spring Semester.