Fall 2021 Dining Plan FAQs

Updated September 30, 2021 


We want to hear from you!

Tell us about your favorite food? See something you love? Have a concern? Our online comment card is confidential – and we post all comments and responses on our comment wall.

We look forward to seeing you on campus!

For a complete listing of hours and locations, visit our Hours and Locations page.

For menus and nutrition information, visit Nutrition.umd.edu.

For Terrapin Favorites specials, follow us on Twitter @UMDDining. Starting September 20, we’ll tweet them out!

Resident Dining Plans

How do the resident dining plans work? 

Students living in traditional on campus housing have Resident Dining Plans. These Anytime Dining plans are designed to provide you with the food you need and want throughout the semester – from the first day you arrive on campus until the last day of finals. 

    • We will offer four Resident Dining Plans: Basic, Plus, Preferred and Premium.
    • This Fall semester, all four plans include unlimited access to three campus dining halls. Any time we’re open, any number of times a day, anything we’re serving, all semester long.
    • The upgraded three plans include Dining Dollars to use at cafes and shops around campus. 

What is a “dining experience”?

  • A dining experience is what you want it to be.
  • We offer breakfast 7:00 am to 10:00 am Monday through Friday. Lunch 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. (brunch on weekends), Dinner 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Join us anytime you’re hungry!

Where will I eat?

Three dining halls – The Diner (Ellicott), 251 North and South Campus Dining Hall will be open starting on move-in day,

Is there a map of where / when / how I can eat this Fall?

Yes, there is! Click on the updated  Spring 2021 Quick Guide to get a complete list of operations, hours and payment types accepted.

How do I know what’s being served? 

Visit nutrition.umd.edu for menus, ingredients and allergens for all the great food served in the dining halls. Filter your search by clicking on the icon in the upper right and selecting the icons that match the way you want to eat. 

How do you accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions?

251 North and South Campus Dining Hall each include a station called the Purple Zone – serving food free from the most common nine allergens. Cooks wearing purple chef jackets have received extra training in providing for students with allergies and the purple freezers are stocked with allergen-free food for self service.

We list recipes, ingredients and allergens for all items served as part of the resident dining program on our website and on nutrition.umd.edu. Menu boards and counter cards are labeled with icons showing which allergens are contained in that item. You can eat safely and without additional help at the Purple Stations and following the counter cards. And you are welcome to ask the Purple Team for advice. 

We provide accommodations for allergies and dietary restrictions on an individual, case-by-case basis and are prepared to help you as much or as little as you would like. To find out about our nutrition programming, go to dining.umd.edu/nutrition. To contact our nutrition team, complete the food allergy contact form. Our nutritionist and senior executive chef  will arrange an appointment either online or in person to discuss your diet and make dietary accommodations to meet your needs.

Will there be a carry-out option in the dining halls this fall?

Our Anytime Dining Program is dine-in only and honors our commitment to building community, reducing our sustainability footprint, providing unlimited access and keeping program costs reasonable. You can carryout one piece of whole fruit or one handheld dessert each time you visit a dining hall. 

You offered carry-out last year, why can’t you offer it this year too?

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 last year, Dining Services required guests to take their food to go.  At that time, we also limited the number of times per day that students could visit the dining halls.  While this was unavoidable last year, offering carry-out as a normal aspect of our program has a negative impact on our sustainability goals and it adds additional costs to the program, which would increase dining plan prices to students.  (We don’t want to charge more and we want to do our part to save our planet).   This fall, we expect a fully vaccinated campus and we are able to return to our Anytime Dining program.  

Where can I get take-out?

All of our cafes, our Food Court and our convenience stores provide students with portable options.  The Base Plus, Preferred, and Premium dining plans include Dining Dollars that can be used in all of these locations.   

Will masks be required in dining halls?

We will follow campus, local, state and national direction. At this time (8/8/21), masks are required. In addition, we expect that everyone will use the hand sanitizing station upon entry.  

What safety protocols are in place in the dining halls?

Dining Services adheres to all campus, local, state and national safety guidelines.  We stay informed about the changing environment and we update our COVID-19 protocols as public health guidance requires.  Additionally, we require all guests to sanitize their hands upon entry into a dining hall; we sanitize our tables with an approved cleaning/sanitizing solution; we change-out shared utensils frequently, and we clean high touch surfaces often.  Disposable gloves or tissue wrap are available for students who may want to use them while selecting their meals.

New – 

We have installed covered outdoor dining spaces at The diner (Ellicott) and 251 North (Denton). Between The Diner and South Campus Dining Hall there are three dedicated de-densified spaces. 251 North is entirely de-densified. You can eat with your pod at tables that are spaced for physical distancing from other diners. 


Connector Dining Plans:

Will students be able to purchase multiple meal blocks at one time, i.e. can I buy an Option 1 and an Option 2 plan? If I purchase an Optional plan, how many meals need to be left before I can purchase another block?

You can purchase one plan in each forty eight hour period. This is a safety precaution built into the computer program to avoid accidentally duplicating purchases. There is no other limit to how many plans you can purchase or how “empty” your existing plan has to be before you buy the next plan. We strongly suggest that you take the time to calculate the rate at which you’ll use your plan, remembering that your goal is to empty the plan and end the semester at the same time.  


Dining Business Concerns

How do I register for biometric entry to the dining hall? 

Enroll to enjoy quick, touch-free access to campus dining halls. If you did not enroll at Xfinity, you can do so at the South Campus Dining Hall Building, Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30. We are in the Dining Plan Office just below the dining hall – face the entrance to the dining hall but don’t go in. Instead, turn right and come halfway down the exterior stairs and in through the glass doors. The Dining Plan Office is straight ahead.

If you believe you should be exempt from this requirement, please email diningplan@umd.edu with your explanation.

When can I change my dining plan? When can I buy a dining plan or Dining Dollars for Fall Semester? 

You can purchase or change your dining plan through September 10. If you have requested campus housing, you have already selected and purchased a dining plan. You can purchase Dining Dollars through November 12. This gives you enough time to use the Dining Dollars before the end of the semester.  

How do I change my dining plan or buy Dining Dollars? 

Either go online to dining.umd.edu, and in the upper right hand corner select “Online Services” to access online services or visit the Dining Plan Office which is downstairs from the South Campus Dining Hall. We would be happy to talk you through the process.  

When does my dining plan go live? 

New to housing students Resident Dining Plans go live at 4:00 pm on August 25. Returning Resident Dining Plans go live at 10:00 am on August 28.

How do I pay for my dining plan
Your dining plan charge is posted to your UMD Student Account.
A 7-Day Resident Dining Plan will appear on your bill as “Board Fall”
A Connector Dining Plan will appear on your bill as “Board Supplement”
Pay this charge through  Student Financial Services and Cashiering . To find the details about the dining plan you selected and your Dining account, visit Online Services.

Why is there a charge for “Fall Welcome” on my Student Account? 

Fall Welcome Dining covers meals during pre-semester programming days for new to housing students (Aug 25 to Aug 28). Returning Student dining plans are activated on Aug 28. Find the Dining Plan Calendar at http://dining.umd.edu/plans/dining-plan-calendar/

Can students opt out of the resident dining plan?

Students living in traditional on campus housing must have a resident dining plan. The minimum requirement is the Base Dining Plan. This requirement is part of belonging to the Maryland Resident Community and the intent of the resident dining system is to provide worry-free access to food – every day from the start of the semester until the last day of finals. Connector Dining Plans and Terrapin Express do not meet that intent, and do not fulfill that requirement. No student is required to live on campus and students who choose not to live on campus are not required to have a dining plan.

Will Dining Dollars with my 7-Day Plan roll over or be refunded?

Dining Dollars purchased with your 7-Day Dining Plan do not roll over from one semester to the next. Resident Plan Dining Dollars for Fall 2021 will expire on December 21, 2021 and are not refundable.

Due to the unusual circumstances for the 2020-2021 academic year, we reactivated unused Spring 2021 Dining Dollars for use during the Fall 2021 semester. Dining Dollars purchased for Fall 2020 expired on May 20.2021.


We value your patronage and we look forward to seeing you at our table.