Like most incoming freshman, I was on the unlimited meal plan for my first semester on campus. Second semester, however, I decided to go with the cheaper option: the DC basic meal plan. In short summary, the DC basic plan gives you 224 swipes per semester and is currently $288 cheaper than the Unlimited. This is largely due to the fact that it does not include the $250 dining dollars that the unlimited plan comes with. This is obviously not a huge price difference, but it never hurts to save where you can!
The DC Basic plan was a good fit for me for the following reasons:
I don't drink coffee or tea, which meant that I found it extremely difficult to spend all 250 of my dining dollars in the full year, let alone the first semester. Dining dollars carry over from first to second semester (but not year to year), so even though I was not on the unlimited plan second semester, I still had access to the dining dollars from first semester in the spring. Despite having an entire extra semester, I was so terrible at spending my dining dollars consistently throughout the year that I ended up having to spend about $90 worth at Harvest during the last week of school so that my money wasn't going to waste! Considering it's a dollar-for-dollar system, it makes more sense for me to not have any dining dollars so that I don't have to worry about wasting money.
- While it is not a habit I recommend making, I habitually skip breakfast and tend to only eat two meals in the dining halls a day. As a result, 224 meal swipes is more than enough for me for one semester. While the restriction to 224 might sound intimidating at first, I never feel like I have to ration my meals, even if I do eat a full 3 meals a day for awhile. There are still plenty of swipes to go around!
If you need a coffee every morning and know that you're going to be at the dining hall three times every day, or even four if you go to late-night, the DC basic plan is probably not right for you. However, if you are anything like me, I highly recommend you consider it and hopefully save a few hundred dollars!