How Long Do Meal Plans Last?

how long do meal plans last

Meal plans can be beneficial for some, while others find them challenging. No matter your level of experience with meal planning, there are steps you can take to make it simpler.

Start by setting aside a dedicated time each week to plan meals. Additionally, create an organized shopping list of foods you need to purchase in order to carry out your menu plan successfully.


A light meal plan may be one of the most crucial decisions a student makes. These plans often allow students to eat more than the standard three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), by allowing them to swipe or add points onto their accounts. While it may sound like an ideal idea at first glance, students should think about how long their meal cards last before adding extra swipes or points; otherwise, they could quickly empty out bank accounts without planning ahead.


If you’re a student who typically eats breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining hall, a medium meal plan might be for you. These plans grant students access to three meals daily (breakfast, lunch and dinner) through meal swipes or points; heavy plans provide students with enough points or swipes for additional daily meals but costlier options than lighter or medium options. It’s important that the plan suits your lifestyle and eating habits – especially if you’re a night owl or have a busy schedule.

Declining Balance

Students who don’t want to commit to a full meal plan can take advantage of Kent State’s declining balance program for use at various dining locations on campus. Dollars from these balances roll over from semester to semester and can be redeemed at Starbucks, The HUB, or other on-campus spots such as Panera Bread.

According to the type of declining balance plan, students may have limits on how many meals they can use each semester and must pay for any extras out of their account. On the plus side, this option helps students save money on food costs and gives them more freedom when planning meals.

A declining balance meal plan includes a debit card to use at various food establishments on campus and in the surrounding community. These cards can be purchased during either fall or spring semesters and credited with an amount that decreases as students use their meal plan.

Declining balances work the same way bank debit cards do. Each time you use your DB card, the total amount spent will be deducted from your declining balance and then refunded back to you once you’re finished using it.

These cards can be purchased by the semester and used at any of our on-campus locations, including The HUB, Oak C-Store and more. Furthermore, DB can also be redeemed at off-campus establishments like Fireside Cafe or College Bookstore.

Some schools, like University of Kentucky in Lexington, offer semester block plans which give students a set number of meal swipes for the entire semester. Unfortunately, these plans tend to be more expensive than traditional all-you-can-eat board plans.

In the college dining industry, service style is a hotly debated topic. How best to accommodate customer preferences for flexibility and extended hours without jeopardizing the goals of an institution’s dining program–which should provide students with diverse choices and experiences–remains at the forefront of discussion.

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