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Cornell University

Dining Terms & Conditions 2024-2025

Cornell University – Department of Campus Life
Cornell Dining Contract
Terms and Conditions:  2024-2025

The following terms and conditions apply to all Cornell Dining student meal plan and debit meal plan participants. These terms and conditions, together with the terms and conditions in the Dining Application and meal plan information at, constitute the Cornell Dining Contract. The Cornell Dining Contract becomes legally binding when you sign the Dining Application.  

Meal Plan Enrollment.

You are enrolled in your meal plan automatically or once you sign and submit the Dining Application. You will be billed once in the fall semester and again in the spring semester for the meal plan assigned. Meal plan charges are prorated weekly. If you apply for meal plan membership after the first week of meal plan service, you’ll be charged a prorated amount as of the week your meal plan enrollment begins.

Students living in Alice Cook House (includes Boldt Tower, North Baker Hall, Boldt Hall, Baker Tower, Cook House), Carl Becker House, Hans Bethe House (includes McFaddin Hall), William Keeton House, or Flora Rose House (includes Founders Hall, Lyon Hall, Mennen Hall, and South Baker Hall), in 2024-2025 are required to enroll in the Cornell Dining West Campus House System meal plan. You will be automatically enrolled in the House Meal Plan if you have signed a housing contract, but you have not enrolled in the House meal plan.

All undergraduate students living in on-campus housing are required to enroll in a meal plan. This requirement applies to all undergraduates who entered Cornell in the 2021-2022 academic year and after.

Meal Plan Week. The meal plan standard week begins on Thursday and ends on Wednesday. Your meal plan weekly meal balances are reset on Thursdays. Short weeks will be prorated accordingly. Meal swipe service is provided in the residential meal plan dining rooms (North Star; Morrison Dining; Risley Dining; Okenshields; Jansen’s Dining Room in Hans Bethe House; 104West!; Cook House Dining Room; Becker House Dining Room; Keeton House Dining Room; and Rose House Dining Room).

Administrative Fee. A nonrefundable $50 administrative fee is charged once each academic year, upon meal plan enrollment.

Your plan membership card and privileges are nontransferable; you cannot use your plan to obtain food or drink for others, except when using your plan’s bonus meal privileges for guests.

Meal Plan Program Schedule.

Opening and Closing Dates. Meals served fall semester 2024 begin with lunch on Monday, August 19, 2024 and end with brunch on Sunday, December 22, 2024. Meals served spring semester 2025 begin with lunch on Tuesday, January 14, 2025 and end with dinner on Friday, May 23, 2025. The meal plan program does not cover Cornell’s recess for winter intersession. Big Red Bucks (BRBs) can be used during these recess periods. 

Hours of Operation. The University reserves the right to modify dining program hours of operation as it deems necessary.

 Plan Changes.

The deadline dates for reducing your meal plan, if eligible, are Wednesday, September 11, 2024 for the fall semester and Wednesday, February 5, 2025 for the spring semester. You can add or upgrade a meal plan at any time. You can make changes online at or email Dining Contracts at

Meal plan changes are prorated on a weekly basis. For debit meal plans, the unused balance of your old plan will be refunded, and you’ll be charged the minimum required amount for your new plan. There is no penalty for changing meal or debit plans.

First-year students may not reduce or cancel meal plans. Transfer students may reduce from the Unlimited meal plan to the Bear Traditional meal plan by the published deadlines.

Change in status. Fall-semester registered students currently enrolled in a meal or debit plan who will not be attending Cornell during the spring semester or will be attending a Cornell program away from Ithaca must notify the Dining Contracts Office at by Wednesday, January 1, 2025, of their upcoming change in status to avoid being billed for spring-semester dining charges. Big Red Bucks (BRBs) balances are not refundable and must be used by the end of the fall semester. 

 Contract Cancellations.

The deadline for canceling your meal or debit plan, if eligible, is Wednesday, September 11, 2024. Exception: Students who enroll in a meal or debit meal plan at the beginning of the spring semester can cancel through Wednesday, February 5, 2025.

First-year, sophomore, and transfer students may not cancel meal plans.

Students who join and/or move to fraternities or sororities during the spring semester cannot cancel meal plans, but are permitted to change to the Supplemental Meal Plan by the stated deadline. Such change requests must include written verification from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

Students who move to University Cooperative Housing cannot cancel meal plans, but are permitted to change to a similar or smaller meal or debit meal plan by the stated deadline.

Residents of Alice Cook House (Boldt Tower, North Baker Hall, Boldt Hall, Baker Tower, Cook House), Carl Becker House, Hans Bethe House, William Keeton House, or Flora Rose House (includes Founders Hall, Lyon Hall, Mennen Hall, and South Baker Hall), cannot cancel their House Meal Plans. Students transferring out of Alice Cook House, Carl Becker House, Hans Bethe House, William Keeton House, or Flora Rose House during the 2024-2025 contract year and into other on-campus housing must select a comparable meal plan or can cancel by the stated deadline by contacting

The University may permit you to cancel your Dining Contract under the following circumstances:

  1. If you withdraw or take a voluntary leave of absence from the University during the Term;
  2. If you are granted a medical withdrawal or leave, or an academic internship, graduation or study in absentia during the Term;
  3. If the University determines that there are adequate other grounds for cancellation.

The University retains sole and absolute discretion over all cancellation determinations. You may request a cancellation by submitting a written petition to

If you are granted a contract cancellation, you must pay for meal plan service used through the date of cancellation or your last usage date, whichever is later.


Credits are calculated on the basis of the number of serving weeks remaining in the semester. New York State tax law prohibits credits for meals missed during the contract period for any reason, including, but not limited to, academic scheduling, extracurricular activities, religious restrictions, special dietary needs, or the temporary closing of the dining units. Credits will be made to your bursar account.


You are required to pay for the meal plan for which you are billed, within the specified time, even if you later change your meal plan. Charges or credits resulting from such changes will appear on your bursar statement after the change. Finance charges resulting solely from meal plan changes will not be adjusted or refunded. Contract charges and penalties will be charged to your bursar account. The Office of the Bursar’s policies on payment of the finance charge for late payments and other penalties for failure to make proper payments apply, except where expressly modified by the Cornell Dining Contract.

Contract Adjustments.

The University reserves the right to adjust meal plan rates before or during the contract period by action of the Board of Trustees.

Use of Cornell ID Card.

Your plan membership card is your Cornell photo ID card validated for the plans in which you are enrolled. To enter a dining unit, you must let the door-checker mechanically scan your ID card. One meal will be deducted from your plan’s weekly meal balance upon each entry into a dining room. Any meal plan member who cannot present a valid card, for whatever reason, will be denied entrance. The University reserves the right to have an employee inspect ID cards at any time and to request other appropriate identification.

Lost Cards.

If you lose your Cornell ID card, you must report the loss immediately to the Office of the University Registrar. To protect your membership in meal, debit, and laundry plans, you can flag your card online as lost at You can continue to use your meal or debit plan by reporting the loss of your ID card to the Campus Life employee who checks cards as you enter a dining unit.

Contract Termination. 

The University may terminate your Dining Contract in its sole discretion if:

  1. You fail to comply with the Dining Contract terms and conditions.
  2. You engage in or threaten acts or behavior that in the University’s sole opinion, may endanger public order or property, threaten the personal safety or security of yourself or others (by acts of physical or mental harassment, self-harm, or other means) or disrupt other students.
  3. You allow others to use your meal card, steal food, or otherwise misuse your meal plan privileges.
  4. You refuse an evaluation by Counseling and Psychological Services staff, following your hospitalization for psychiatric reasons.
  5. To respond to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies, including but not limited to epidemics or other public health and safety reasons.
  6. For any other reason that the University, in its sole discretion, deems to be good cause.

If your Dining Contract is terminated under 1-4 above, you will receive no refund of any meal plan charges that have been billed or are scheduled to be billed for the current semester, and you may also face fines and disciplinary action.  Penalties assessed for breach of contract are independent of those that may be imposed by the Office of the Judicial Administrator. The University retains sole and absolute discretion regarding refunds if your Dining Contract is terminated for any other reason.

Conditions of Meal Plan Participation

Servings Policy. The meal plan program features servings of all meals taken from or eaten in the residential meal plan dining rooms. It is your responsibility to take only what you can reasonably eat at each meal. Campus Life reserves the right to limit the number of servings. For eat-in meals, the food you select must be eaten in the dining area.

Other Restrictions.

  1. Smoking is not permitted in dining units or Cornell buildings.
  2. Alcoholic beverages cannot be brought into a dining unit.
  3. Students are responsible for returning their own dishes to the designated return area.
  4. Shirts and shoes are required in all dining units.
  5. No animals except service dogs are allowed in dining units.
  6. The University is not responsible for personal belongings brought into or left in dining units.
  7. Photographic and video equipment cannot be used in a dining unit unless authorized in advance by the dining unit manager.

Meal Plan Options and Debit Meal Plans.

Please go to for a complete description of all meal plans and debit meal plans. If you do not have web access, please contact the Cornell Dining Contracts Office at to obtain descriptions of meal plans and pricing information.

Big Red Bucks (BRBs). When you enroll in a meal plan, you will be issued a minimum required amount of Big Red Bucks (BRBs) in a declining-balance account that is accessed with your Cornell ID card. You can purchase additional BRBs during the semester by depositing additional money in your BRB account (each BRB equals $1). BRBs can be used only for food purchases. You can use BRBs to purchase your own meals at any Cornell Dining location, but not to purchase meals for guests. Any debit balance in your account carries over only from the fall semester to the spring semester. The entire balance in the account must be used by Monday, May 26, 2025. BRBs are not transferable and are not refundable except upon cancellation of meal plan membership.

Debit Meal Plans. Debit meal plans are limited to students who do not live in Campus Life housing and are not enrolled in a meal plan. (Exception: Students who will reside in Cascadilla Hall, Sheldon Court, Schuyler House, 112 Edgemoor, and Equity & Engagement Living-Learning Community for the 2024-2025 academic year and were enrolled at Cornell in the Spring of 2021 or prior can continue to enroll in these plans.). Any debit balance carries over only from the fall semester to the spring semester; any unused dining room admissions do not carry over. You will be automatically billed for each semester’s initial deposits. Any remaining BRB balance must be used by noon Monday, May 26, 2025. The Graduate Student Meal Plan is limited to graduate students and ExecutiveChoice meal plan is limited to students of the Johnson School of Management. The Graduate Student Meal Plan and Executive Choice meal plans do not have an administrative fee.

Bonus Meals. Each semester, meal plan members (except those enrolled in debit plans can use their bonus meals to purchase meals in the residential meal plan dining rooms for guests accompanying the member. Bonuses cannot be used for members’ own meals, or in Cornell Dining’s retail eateries, or for Shabbat, holiday, and special meals in 104West! Each semester, two bonus meals may be donated to the Swipe Out Hunger bank during meal plan sign up or at designated tabling events. See for details.

House Bag Lunches. House bag lunches are available only to House Meal Plan subscribers. This service is available when classes are in session, and is not available during weekends, holidays, study, or exam weeks. Bag lunches must be ordered at and placed by 10am the day prior to pick up. Bag lunches must be picked up at the Rose House Dining Room between 8:00am and 10:00am, Monday through Friday. You must present your Cornell ID to the Rose House Dining Room door checker who will charge your meal plan for one meal (bag lunch). You will not be permitted to use another meal in the residential dining rooms for that meal period. If you fail to pick up an ordered bag lunch on three separate occasions, you will no longer be permitted to participate in the House Bag Lunch program.

Sick Trays. Sick trays are available if you are ill and unable to come to a dining unit for a scheduled meal. Sick trays can be picked up at any residential meal plan dining room at breakfast, lunch, or dinner by emailing another student and copying to request the sick tray. The email must include student name and card ID number. The student can either bring the paper email or show the email on their phone to pick up the sick tray.  One meal will then be deducted from the plan's weekly meal balance. The student will not be permitted to use another meal in the residential dining rooms for that meal period.

City Bucks. This declining-balance account, accessed with your Cornell ID card, can be used only to purchase food for you and/or your guests at participating off-campus food service establishments. Persons 21 years of age and older can use City Bucks to purchase alcohol. It is the responsibility of merchants to follow all applicable laws regarding the sale of alcohol in New York State. City Buck purchases are subject to New York State sales tax. Deposits can be made online at City Bucks are nontransferable and cannot be used to purchase tobacco products or lottery tickets. All financial disputes involving a City Bucks purchase must be addressed to the vendor within two weeks from the date of purchase; the original receipt must be presented. Your account will stay open until you are no longer registered with Cornell. 


  1. Execution of the Cornell Dining Contract is not a commitment of admission to or continued enrollment in Cornell University.
  2. The University assumes no responsibility for failure to perform any terms or conditions of this Dining Contract due to fire, earthquake, flood, act of God, weather events, strikes, work stoppages or other labor disturbances, riots or civil commotions, litigation, war or other acts of any foreign nation, terrorism, epidemics, pandemics, power of governments or governmental agencies or authorities, national emergencies, or any other cause that is beyond the control of the University, regardless whether such a cause is similar or dissimilar to the foregoing examples, and regardless as to whether the subject event or cause was conceivable or foreseeable. 
  3. Any waiver by the University of its rights under this Dining Contract shall not be deemed a continuing waiver.
  4. If any provision of this Dining Contract shall be found to be invalid, the remaining provisions hereof shall continue in full force and effect. 
  5. This Dining Contract represents the complete agreement between you and the University regarding your meal plan, and supersedes any prior contracts or understandings, whether oral or written.  It may not be amended in any way without the prior written permission of the University in each instance.
  6. The Dining Contract is subject to the laws of the State of New York, without regard to conflicts of laws or principles. You agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the federal and state courts in Tompkins County, New York State, for the resolution of any disputes arising under the Dining Contract.