Managing Your Meal Plan

Meal Plans can have one or more parts. 

  • Guaranteed Meals (Available on 1st Year, Platinium, Gold, Silver, Block and Commuter Hybrid plans)
    • The guaranteed meal portion of your plan provides the security of knowing that your basic dining needs are covered for the entire semester.
    • Guaranteed meals permit you to eat designated number of meals per week depending on the plan chosen.
    • Guaranteed meals are to be eaten in the Lehman Dining Center, which is an all-you-care-to-eat facility with multiple food stations and a wide variety of products. This is where you get the best value for your meal plan dollar.
    • You may also trade your guaranteed meal for a meal allowance, which is a $6.25 block credit against retail food purchases in all dining units except Dexter's Café and Becky's Place at lunch (10:30am-4pm.)
    • Guaranteed meals are issued weekly-you may use as many in a given day as you wish. Meals must be used in the week they are issued; they do not roll over and are reset every Sunday at 2 a.m.
    • For any week that is less than seven days (such as the short week at the beginning of the semester) the allotted amount of guaranteed meals is pro-rated (learn more about pro-rating meals below).
  • Flex Dining Credits (Available on all plans)
    • FLEX credits have the purchasing power equivalent to one dollar but they have no cash value.
    • Many students use them to supplement their guaranteed meal allowance/$6.25 block credit, but they can be used in any dining unit, for catering purchases through PACES and at the Bear's Den in Maxcy Hall.
    • They can only be used towards purchases of goods from PACES Dining Services.
    • FLEX provides you with maximum purchasing flexibility: you can use any or all of your FLEX credits at any time during the semester.
    • They are allocated to your meal plan account per semester and do not rollover to the next. Unused FLEX credits are nonrefundable.
    • You can add FLEX credits to your meal plan at any register. If you go in person to the PACES Business Office window in Merritt Hall, you will receive a 20% premium on the amount you add on your Residential Meal Plan (except the ALL Flex Plan).
  • Be My Guest Passes (Available on all plans)
    • Guest passes, allow you to bring a guest to enter Lehman Dining Center.
    • You may use as multiple passes at one time, you can use one for yourself.
    • Passes have no other value.

You never have to “lose” or miss a meal with the PACES meal plans.

Here are some Tips for Managing your Meal Plan:

  1. Plan Ahead: You can use your meals at any time and as many meals as you want at one time.
  2. Use Guaranteed Meals First: since they must be used within the week in which they are allocated: it generally makes the most sense to use them first, for their full value.
  3. Get the Best Value: go to Lehman for your meals. Meals are meant to be used at Lehman Dining Center, where you can have all you care to eat.
  4. Do the Math: When you use your meal as an allowance it is credited as a single $6.25 block. Plan accordingly – don’t use a meal allowance to purchase a single slice of pizza.
  5. Look for Meal Deals: Good value, no math to worry about! Look in areas that take allowances for value menus.
  6. Spend Your Flex: you’ve paid for them as part of your plan. Don’t save them all for the end of the semester and then waste them on things you don’t really need or be forced to forfiet them.
  7. Check Your Balances: You can check your balance at any register, or online at sunycard.edu, or on BearPAWS.  Refer to the Ideal Flex Meal Balances (PDF) table, so make sure you are on track for the semester.
  8. Prorated Meals: Most colleges build in and charge you for meals that they think you won’t use (aka missed meal factor). PACES wants you to get what you paid for, so we take into account the three "short weeks" (opening week, fall/winter recess and final exam week). Check the Pro-rated Meal Allowances (PDF) for the amount of meals you will get per day during those times. You won’t pay for what you can’t use.