Clarifying Statement Regarding Barnard Meal Plans for 2018-19

Barnard’s meal plans are designed to ensure that students have access to healthy and abundant food in a manner that fits their budget and lifestyle. The changes made to the 2018-19 meal plans were based on feedback from students, including the Food Advisory Board (FAB) which is a committee of the Student Government Association. We will continue to work with students throughout the next academic year to ensure that our meal plan offerings continue to evolve to best fit students’ needs.

Please see below for important information about meal plans, including deadlines for students to change their meal plans where that option is available:

  • All first-year residents must sign up for the Platinum plan;
  • All upper-class students living on floors 2-8 of the Quad and all residents of Andersen Hall must sign up for the Upper Class Plan;
  • Students living in Barnard College housing outside of the Quad or outside of Andersen Hall can sign up for any plan that meets their needs. Please note that the fall 2018 bills for these students will automatically reflect the Flex 100 plan, but these students can change this selection any time up through Friday, September 7, on
  • Commuter students can sign up for any plan; full time commuters will automatically be placed in the Convenience 400 Points Only (per semester) Plan and can change their plans up through Friday, September 7 on
  • Students can add meals anytime throughout the year in increments of 5 or 10, and can add points in increments of 25. This means that students living outside the Quad can purchase a lower-cost plan, and add meals as needed throughout the year.

Meal Plans FAQ

Are students required to purchase a meal plan?

Yes, all students must purchase a meal plan. The type of plan depends on the student’s housing:

  • First-year residents are required to purchase the Platinum plan (19 meals per week with 120 points per semester).
  • Upper-class students living on floors 2-8 of the Quad must purchase the Upper Class Quad Plan (150 meals and 625 points per semester).
  • All other students living in Barnard housing outside the Quad can choose any plan that meets their needs.
  • Full time commuters may choose any plan that meets their needs.
Why did Barnard change the meal plan offerings for the 2018-2019 academic year?

The College changed the meal plan options this year to address issues raised by students regarding flexibility and food insecurity. The intent was to give students robust options to ensure that they had sufficient meals to eat throughout the year. Meal Plan options include plans with more points, the ability to buy meal swipes in smaller increments throughout the year, and an expanded guest swipe policy. The new plans provide increased flexibility for many students. For example, students living outside the Quad now have the flexibility to purchase a lower-cost option, and add meals as needed through the year. Additional changes that were made in response to student requests include 24 hour access to JJ’s Place.

Why is Barnard charging me for the Flex 100 Plan? What if I do not want this plan?

For Barnard students living in Barnard/Columbia housing outside the Quad, we have set the Flex 100 plan (100 meals per semester plus 400 points) as the default plan in the fall 2018 bills. Students can change this at any time through Friday, September 7 in

For further instructions on how to choose a meal plan that meets your needs, please visit Under the Student Services tab, please select myHousing & Dining, then click Meal Plan. If the meal plan displayed for you is not the one that best meets your needs, you may change it to one within Barnard’s guidelines. After making a change to the meal plan, you will receive an email confirmation to your Barnard College email. Your student account will be updated on the following business day.

What dining halls will Barnard students have access to?

Barnard students will be able to use their meal plans (through swipes or points) at several locations on Barnard’s campus: Hewitt Dining Hall, the second floor Diana Student Dining Room (McIntosh Student Dining Room), Liz’s Place, and the Milstein Center coffee bar. Students will also be able to use their dining plans at three locations on Columbia’s campus: Ferris Booth, John Jay, and JJ’s place.

Can Barnard students use their meal plan to buy a meal for a guest?

Yes. This year, Barnard students can use their meal swipes for guests in Barnard dining facilities. The only limit to the number of swipes a student can use for a guest is the total amount of meals in a student’s particular plan. Right now there is no guest swipe limit at Barnard dining facilities; we are still working with Columbia on how to apply this guest swipe policy to their dining facilities.

How is dining factored into a student’s financial aid package?

The amount of financial aid we provide is matched to a student’s financial need. The financial aid budget for first-year students receiving aid includes a direct allocation for the Platinum Plan. All other student financial aid packages include an allocation to cover the Upper Class Quad plan. Note that if the student enrolls or defaults into a lower meal plan, the funds intended to cover the higher plan are not lost; they will be applied to other outstanding charges on the student’s bill. Students can address any questions to the Office of Financial Aid at

How can students become engaged in discussions with the College about meal plans and the future of dining at Barnard?

We welcome student input and make every effort to incorporate suggestions from students into our dining plans. This year we made several modifications based on the feedback that we received from the students’ Food Advisory Board including expanded access to JJ’s Place and full use of meal plans for guest swipes. Additionally, for the 2018-2019 academic year, we are offering a new Flex 100 plan for students living outside the Quad that will guarantee they receive at least one meal per day (though students are free to switch to any other plan, see above); we have ensured that students receiving financial aid will be allocated funds to cover the Upper Class Quad Plan, and we are offering smaller plans that will enable students to purchase additional meals throughout the year as needed.

This coming academic year, the College will be bidding dining services for the 2019/2020 academic year, and we will need student input throughout this process. We plan to work with the Food Advisory Board to gather input and ideas including hosting or co-hosting a meeting for all students to share their thoughts, engage in the conversation, and to help shape the future of dining at Barnard.

Stay tuned for more information at the beginning of the school year. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please email

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