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Cornell University

City Bucks FAQs

  • City Bucks, Cornell Dining's off-campus meal plan, can be used to make taxable purchases at dozens of off-campus restaurants and food stores.
  • City Bucks eliminates the need to carry cash or use a credit card – enjoy meals off campus with the simple swipe of your Cornell ID card.
  • City Bucks is an easy to use, one-card service, keeping all your accounts on your Bursar bill.
  • City Bucks is great for a date or dinner with your friends and family, year-round.
  • City Bucks enables you to explore Ithaca's great cuisine and add the variety of many favorite local restaurants to your dining options.
  • City Bucks can be used for delivery from participating restaurants.
  • City Bucks is available for late-night dining and allows you to take a friend out to eat with you.
  • Parents, relatives, or friends can add money to your City Bucks account, too.

Funding (depositing money) into your City Bucks account will automatically make the account ready to use for purchases at all City Bucks participating businesses. Funding of your City Bucks account can be made online at Manage Your Account with a credit card by you, your parents, or relatives. Bursar billing is also available online for all registered students. You may also make deposits at the Cornell Housing & Dining Contracts Office at 206 Robert Purcell Community Center, Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm.

Only you can make purchases for you and your guests at any participating City Bucks locations. Merchants are responsible for collecting applicable sales taxes. As long as you remain a registered student at Cornell University, any balance in your City Bucks account will carry from semester to semester, subject to the terms and conditions of Cancellation/Leave Refunds.Please see the City Bucks Terms & Conditions for important, binding information.

City Bucks FAQs

Can I use this plan on campus?

No, this plan is designed for off-campus purchases only. You can use cash, credit cards, Big Red Bucks, and your meal plan options at on-campus dining locations.

When can I start using my City Bucks?

You can start using your City Bucks account as soon as you deposit money into it. You can deposit money at Manage Your Account or the Housing & Dining Contracts Office at 206 Robert Purcell Community Center. See Terms and Conditions for specific details.

Does City Bucks differ from Big Red Bucks?

Yes. City Bucks are designed to allow you to make purchases at participating off-campus locations and will be subject to New York State sales tax. Don't forget, you can host a friend with City Bucks! Big Red Bucks, on the other hand, can be used for non-taxable purchases (for yourself only) at any on-campus Cornell Dining facility.

How do I open a City Bucks account?

If you are a registered Cornell student or have a faculty/staff Meal Choice plan, you automatically have a City Bucks account. All you have to do to activate your account is add money, which you can do online anytime utilizing our online account administration system. Please note: Bursar billing will be disabled if you have exceeded $500 in Bursar billed deposits to your City Bucks account within the last 30 days.

Where can I use City Bucks?

City Bucks can be used at participating restaurants - look for the City Bucks window stickers. Be sure to come back and check the list on this website occasionally for an updated list of current restaurants and special City Bucks discounts!

What if I only have enough money in my City Bucks account to pay part of the bill?

The available balance in your City Bucks account must be sufficient to pay the entire cost of a purchase at a participating merchant; if your City Bucks account does not have sufficient funds, it will be declined as a form of payment for that transaction.

Can I treat friends with City Bucks?

Yes, you can use your City Bucks to purchase a meal for any guest(s) you choose - great for a date or dinner with friends and parents.

Can I purchase alcoholic beverages with City Bucks?

Some merchants affiliated with the City Bucks program sell alcohol. Individuals 21 years of age or older may purchase alcoholic beverages using City Bucks. It is the responsibility of merchants to follow all applicable laws regarding the sale of alcohol in New York State.

How can I check my account?

It's more convenient than ever to check your balance and add to your City Bucks account online ANYTIME (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) using our online account administration system.

What if I forget or lose my Cornell ID?

Sorry, no purchases can be made without your Cornell University ID card. Report your lost card either online at Lost ID Cards or to Cornell Dining at or by calling 607 255-8582, 8:00am – 4:30pm, Monday-Friday.

What if I run out of money?

You (and your parents, friends, aunts, uncles, etc.) can add money to your declining balance accounts utilizing our online account administration system.

Can I cancel my City Bucks plan?

If you are a graduating senior and wish to cancel your account, simply use up any balance, or stop by the Dining Office before the last day of classes spring semester. Balance of $35.00 or greater will be refunded. If you don't cancel your account, your account will remain active until you are no longer registered at Cornell University. See Terms and Conditions for details.Review the complete City Bucks terms and conditions.

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