Kansas Union and DeBruce Center

2017-2018 KU Dining FAQ's


Image of a hamburger prepared by KU Dining

Below are some frequently asked questions concerning KU Dining plans. If you have any further questions, you can contact Karen Cross at kcross@ku.edu or by phone at 785-864-7274.


How do I sign up for a KU Dining Plan?

If you live in the residence halls, signing up is part of the room selection process. If you live off-campus, you may sign up by logging into the myKU portal, sign into Student Housing under “Services” then click on “Dining Plans” under “What do you want to do?"

How do I use my KU Dining plan?

Your KU Card is required for each transaction. Present your KU Card for access/meal swipe in the Residential Dining Centers or have your card scanned at any of the Campus Retail Cafes to use your Dining Dollars, Retail Pass, or Beak ‘Em Bucks.

You are responsible for the condition of your KU Card. If it is damaged and will no longer scan through the dining center card readers, you will need to go to the KU Card Center and have it replaced.

Where can I use the KU Dining plan options?

We offer maximum flexibility in the 20+ campus locations – including residence hall (all you-care to eat) dining centers, Jaywalk Meals (to-go meals), retail cafes in the KU Memorial Unions, Wescoe Hall, DeBruce Center, Hashinger Hall, and Pharmacy building located on West Campus, as well as convenient Jay Breaks (snack bars).

Here are how the different components of the dining plans are used:

  • Dining Center Access/Meals: Includes access to Ekdahl Dining Center (Mrs. E’s), Oliver Dining Center, and North College Cafe Dining Center for meals or snacks. Also can be used for Jaywalk Meals (to-go meals).
  • Guest Meals: are assigned to the KU Card and can be used at the all-you-care-to-eat Dining Centers to host friends or family. Inform the cashier that you wish to use a Guest Meals before your KU Card is run through at the register.
  • Dining Dollars: Use at all 20+ locations on campus and for Domino’s Pizza and Glory Days Delivery. To view the campus locations, click here.
  • Parent/Guardian Meals: Parents/Guardians can accompany their student in the residential dining centers for two meals per month. Parents/Guardians will sign in at the cashier station.
  • Retail Pass: A meal equivalency in the retail locations: Underground, Market, Courtside Café, Mortar & Pestle, The Studio Grill, Southside, and certain JayBreaks. For the All Access and 50 Block plan, one Retail Pass is allowed per day.
  • 14 Meals and 10 Meals weekly plans reset early Monday morning.
What does “All Access” mean?

All Access means you may enter the dining center (Mrs. E’s, North College Café, or Oliver Dining) as many times as you like during the hours of operation. There is no cap on the number of time you may enter each day providing you have opted for the All Access plan. It is ideal for students who eat several smaller meals per day or for students who utilize the dining centers for studying and have access to snacks.

What is the difference between Dining Dollars and Beak ’Em Bucks?

Dining Dollars is part of the dining plan and cannot be recharged. Beak ‘Em Bucks is a declining balance account that is automatically set up for you when the KU Card is issued and can be recharged. If there are both accounts on a KU Card, the system is programmed to use Dining Dollars first and then Beak ‘Em Bucks.

What is a Jaywalk Meal versus a Retail Pass?

The Jaywalk Meal is a quick "to go" meal exchange on all of the KU Dining Plans (dining center access/meal) that allows you the flexibility and convenience to select from varied menu options of foods to take with you on those busy days. Let the cashier know when they swipe your KU Card to get plastic silverware and a compostable container (the lid must be able to close). Cannot be used if staying to eat inside the dining center. One Jaywalk Meal is allowed per day.

The Retail Pass is only available on the All Access and 50 Meal Block plans in the retail locations: Underground, Market, Courtside Café, Mortar & Pestle, The Studio Grill, Southside, and certain JayBreaks. You may choose from a particular menu that includes Za Pizza, Chick Fil A, Brella’s and much more. One Retail Pass is allowed per day.

How are the dining plans prices figured?

There is a great deal that goes into providing student meals in three all-you-care-to eat dining centers on campus. We research the latest consumer price index for food for the coming year; calculate our fiscal expenses; and, finally, determine the total number of operating days for that academic year in order to establish the prices for each meal plan option offered.

KU Dining is a not-for-profit organization and receives no funding from the State of Kansas. All revenues go directly back into dining programs and facilities. Here is the breakdown of those costs:

  • Food (all food and paper supplies): 39%
  • Human Resources (salaries, wages and benefits, including employee meals): 37%
  • General Expenses (utilities, uniforms, laundry, cleaning chemicals, telephone, office supplies, etc.): 18%
  • Reserves (facility and equipment repairs/renewals): 6%
What if I'm not living on campus?
KU Dining Plans are available to any KU student, faculty or staff member with an active KU Card. Sign up by logging into the myKU portal, sign into Student Housing under “Services” then click on “Dining Plans” under “What do you want to do?” Our 50 Meal Block plan can be purchased and used for a Residential Dining Center meal; one Retail Pass per day; one Jaywalk Meal per day for $425. Plan is active August 17, 2017 – May 11, 2018.
How long does it take after I sign up online until I can use my KU Dining Plan?

If you do not live in University Housing, you may sign up for a KU Dining Plan by logging onto the myKU portal, sign into Student Housing, and choose “Dining Plans” under “What do you want to do?” It will be in the system 1-2 business days after you submit the application.

How can I change my KU Dining Plan?

You may change your plan according to semester deadlines. Log into the myKU portal and sign into Student Housing under “Services” or “Campus Life”. Choose “Dining Plan” under “What do you want to do?”

The Fall semester deadline is September 1, 2017, 5:00 p.m. Spring semester deadline is January 26, 2018, 5:00 p.m.

How can I view my dining plan usage and KU Dining Dollars balances?

You have the ability to view your KU Card balances and transaction history, add funds to your Beak ‘Em Bucks account, set account notifications, and report your card lost or stolen via smart phones. Go to the KU Web Card Center Website to manage these transactions. For plans that have meal swipes, the balance can also be given at the cashier’s station when the plan is used.

What happens to the Guest Meals and Dining Dollars at the end of the Fall semester/year?

The Guest Meals that remain at the end of the semester are forfeited. The Dining Dollars balance that remains at the end of fall semester will roll over to spring semester with an active spring semester KU Dining Plan. The other half of the Dining Dollars will be added to the account at the beginning of Spring semester.

All Dining Center Meals, Dining Dollars, Guest Meals and Parent/Guardian Meals are forfeited at the end of the academic year.

What if my Dining Dollars balance becomes low?

You may add money to your KU Card in your Beak 'Em Bucks account. Beak 'Em Bucks is a declining balance account that is automatically set up for you when the KU Card is issued. In order to use Beak 'Em Bucks, you need to add to the account.

There are several options available:

  1. on-line via the KU Card Center
  2. selecting it through Optional Campus Fees
  3. at a campus cash-to-card machine.

Beak 'Em Bucks can be used for food purchases, printing, photocopying, and laundry.

For additional information, please contact the KU Card Center at 785-864-5845 or kucard@ku.edu.

What if my meals run out before the end of the week?

You are able to use the Guest Meals for yourself, Dining Dollars, credit cards, and cash are all accepted. Guest prices are: breakfast - $9; lunch - $10.50 and dinner - $11.25.

You may want to consider changing to a meal plan with more meals at semester to receive the best value.

What if I want to bring my family or friends to eat with me at the Residential Dining Centers (Mrs. E's, North College Café and Oliver)?

Accompanied by their student, Parents and Legal Guardians have two free meals per month. They will sign in at the cashier station. You may use a Guest Meal, Dining Dollars or pay the guest meal price for friends and siblings. Dining Dollars are not charged tax at the Residential Dining Centers (Mrs. E's, North College Café, and Oliver Dining Center).

The University policy is that the KU Card is non-transferable; KU Cards cannot be loaned to another student. This includes the students' dining plan. The Guest Meal are included in the dining plan to provide opportunity to host a guest.

What if I have a food allergy, intolerance, or require a special diet for medical or religious reasons?

We ask that the student contact Christine Ebert, RD, LD at 785-864-2424. Due to allergies, doctor’s orders, or religious reasons, a student may request a special diet and will require meeting with the dining manager to make appropriate accommodations. Special diets will be provided on an individual basis. We encourage students to contact the Academic Achievement & Access Center (AAAC) and register if food allergies or other medical needs are severe at 785-864-4064.

What if I don't have my KU Card yet at the beginning of the semester?

Occasionally students will move into the residence halls earlier than when they have had the opportunity to get their KU Card. The meal plan contract begins "move-in day," residential dining centers provide a temporary solution to allow students to eat in the Dining Centers locations.

Cashiers at any of the Dining Center locations (Mrs. E's, Oliver Dining and North College Café) will issue a temporary card after verifying the student has a KU Dining Plan. The student will sign a Temporary Card Form to document which card the student has been assigned.

We encourage students to resolve their card issues as quickly as possible.

Temporary card information:

  • This card has been issued for the student's convenience and is the student's responsibility. Since there is no photo, please keep it in a secure location. If the card is lost or stolen, you must report it to the Dining Access Coordinator at 785-864-7274.
  • The student will need to return the temporary card to a dining center cashier when the KU Card is activated or obtained.
  • The temporary card will be deactivated the first of the first full month of the fall or spring semester (September 1 in the fall and February 1 in the spring).
  • This card will substitute for the KU Card (dining center meal/Jaywalk Meal component only) until the KU Card is activated/obtained.
  • The student must have the temporary card to enter a residential dining center and may be used for dining center meals at Mrs. E's, Oliver Dining and North College Café.
  • This card carries the same rules and policies as the KU Card regarding meal plan use. Meals are non-transferable; you may not host guests with this card.
  • The temporary card will not provide security access nor serve as your KU Card for any other campus activity.
  • Retail Pass is not available on this card.
What if I lost/don't have my KU Card at the Dining Centers during the year?

If your KU Card has been lost or stolen, it must be deactivated immediately online through the KU Card Center; by calling the Card Center at 785-864-5845 during business hours; or by visiting the KU Card Center located on level 4 of the Kansas Union. Please note that KU Dining Services is not liable for financial loss or criminal repercussions associated with lost, stolen, damaged or fraudulently used KU Cards.

To replace your KU Card, go to the KU Card Center on level 4 of the Kansas Union during business hours. Once you have purchased the replacement KU Card, the old one is invalidated by the KU Card Center and may no longer be used. There is a $20.00 replacement fee for the new card.

Meal Pass Policy

To allow you time to purchase a replacement KU Card, a meal pass will be written for two business days. There will be a $5.00 charge for each meal pass.

Important information:

  • Since the KU Card Center is open Monday through Friday, meal passes issued over the weekend will be written for extra days allowing the patron the two business days stated in the policy in which to obtain their replacement card.
  • Possession of a meal pass does not guarantee the holder meals. Availability of meals is based on the holder's current account balance.
  • Just like the lost KU Card they replace, a meal pass must be presented to the Cashier in order to obtain meals. If a meal pass is not presented or is lost, then patron will be issued the next sequential meal pass.
  • Meal pass does not work at the retail locations, you will need to use another form of payment.
Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns about KU Dining Services?
  • For Residential Dining centers, including Mrs. E's, Oliver, and North College Café, contact Jim Schilling, Assistant Director, at jschill@ku.edu
  • For Retail Dining centers, including The Underground, The Market, Courtside Cafe or the Jay Breaks (snack bars), contact Mark Petrino, Director, at mark.petrino@ku.edu
  • For KU Catering, contact Whitney Fox, Catering Coordinator, at catering@ku.edu
  • For the Impromptu Cafe, contact Kim Nixon, Impromptu Manager, at kimnixon@ku.edu
What if, as a parent or guardian, I have questions regarding my student’s dining account?

In accordance with KU Student Records Policy, the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that students provide written authorization to the Bursar's Office before we can release financial information to anyone. We understand that many parents, spouses, or other individuals pay or need to discuss charges on a student's account. To assist students who want the Bursar's Office to communicate with other individuals, the student must complete and deliver the Financial Information Release form to the Bursar's Office. This form is available through this website www.bursar.ku.edu on the main page by selecting FORMS. The form is also available at the Bursar's Office reception desk in Carruth O'Leary, Room 20.

For general questions regarding KU Dining Meal Plan accounts, contact Karen Cross, Dining Access Coordinator, by email at kcross@ku.edu or by phone at 785-864-7274.

Who do I contact if my KU Card isn't working?

If the card is damaged (scratched or broken) the card holder will need to go to the KU Card Center (864-5845) located on the 4th floor of the Kansas Union to get a new card. There is a $20 charge to replace the card.

The card may not work if the KU Dining Plan has not been credited to the account. Remember, there is a 1-2 business day processing time after the application is submitted until the KU Dining Plan is activated.

A card may not work if the student in question has not enrolled for the semester.

Does KU Dining Services offer a healthy selections program?

KU Dining Services offers a variety of options. Vegetarian and vegan options as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are offered in all locations. Nature’s Finest can be found at all residential dining centers, this concept features all plant based menu options. Our Beak Bites program denotes healthier menu options in each of the following categories: entrees, sides, composed salads, soups, and desserts. The Beak Bites concept is a part of the campus nutrition and wellness campaign to provide students, faculty and staff with healthier menu options at convenient locations. Check out our NetNutrition site for complete nutrition and ingredient information.

Where can I find nutritional information of the foods served at campus dining locations?

Net Nutrition is our online nutrition analysis program. This service provides a convenient method to calculate the approximated nutritional values of your food selections from our various campus dining locations. These Daily Value percentages are based upon a setting that averages the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for individuals between the ages of 19-24. Net Nutrition is located here.

What does KU Dining do in regards to sustainability?

KU Dining Services is proud to say it is an active campus partner in the sustainability effort. From our conservation and recycling partnership with KU Recycling Programs to our Biodiesel Initiative to staff and consumer education and our efforts to buy local we show our dedication to sustainability. Check out the Union's sustainability page to see all that we are currently doing - and plan to do in the near future - in this increasingly important area.

What happens if classes are canceled due to weather?

The residential dining centers (Mrs. E’s, North College Café and Oliver Dining) will serve regular operating hours even when classes are canceled due to weather. Retail locations will typically be closed.

What happens if I’m sick and am unable to go to the dining halls?

The dining centers will provide pick up meals for student who have dining plan. Please explore the "Feel Better Meals" section of KU Dining's Nutrition and Alergies page for more information.

What does KU Dining do to promote wellness?

KU Dining Services takes a multifaceted approach to collegiate wellness and nutrition education, with one central idea in mind: allow the customer to make the most informed decision. All Residential and Retail dining facilities display nutrition education materials through monthly table tents, creative display cases, registered/licensed dietitian counseling/information sessions and featured events such as wellness fairs and American Dietetic Association’s National Nutrition Month® in March.

Does my KU Dining Plan work during Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks?

During these breaks, the Studio Grill will be opened shortened hours. For Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks, if your plan includes the Retail Pass (All Access and the 50 Meal Block), then you will be able to use one per day. Over Winter Break (December 15 – January 2), a block of 10 meals will be included if you have signed up to stay in the residence halls to be used at Studio Grill (one per day), Dining Dollars, Beak Em Bucks, credit card and cash are also accepted. If you will be on campus over break periods, plan accordingly with your Dining Dollars.


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