Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Bonus Dining Dollars are held in a separate account and can only be accessed if a cashier uses the "Best Available Tender" key.  If you would like to use Bonus Dining Dollars, please let the cashier know.  Bonus Dining Dollars roll over from year to year until you graduate.  If you would like to know what your Bonus Dining Dollars balance is, please contact Rosie Fernandez at or 212-854-4076.

No! Your Dining Plan, Dining Dollars and Flex are all accessed entirely through your Columbia ID Card (CUID), so you only need that card.

To determine which plan to select, you may want to consider your current and future activities. If you lead an active lifestyle, or are an athlete requiring a higher caloric intake, a plan that offers the maximum number of all-you-care-to-eat meals may be the best choice. If your eating style is light, and you prefer fewer full course meals in favor of more frequent smaller meals and snacks, then you may want to select a plan with fewer meals, supplemented with Dining Dollars or Flex. Of course, there are several meal plans specifically designed for students whose dining style falls someplace in between. For a side-by-side comparison, see our dining plan comparison chart.


Yes! There are two Kosher Dining Plans available:

1. Columbia University Kosher Dining Plan

Once you enroll in any of the Columbia Dining Plans (first year or otherwise), you may elect to participate in the Kosher Dining Plan for an additional 10% fee. This allows you access to a restricted kosher area within John Jay Dining Hall that serves a full array of kosher items (entrees, side dishes and vegetables served daily). You can sign up at any time throughout the semester by going to 118 Hartley Hall or by calling 212-854-4076.

2. Barnard College Kosher Dining Plan

The Barnard College Kosher Dining Plan provides kosher 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. High quality food, including freshly-made pizza and a great salad bar, is conveniently located in Barnard's main dining facility, Hewitt Hall. Both Barnard and Columbia students can enjoy their meals in comfort with the rest of the student population. The Kosher dining plan is strictly supervised k'halakhah by the Columbia/Barnard Hillel Rabbi. Additionally, the Barnard Kosher Dining Plan provides a homey atmosphere for Shabbat, Yom Tov and other festive occasions. For more information, please contact Barnard Dining Services.

Yes! You can change your Dining Plan from August 27 - September 10, 2018.  You are required to submit the online change form here, available during those dates.

Please note:  There is a $25 fee to change Dining Plans. We are unable to accept cancellations of Dining Plans or offer refunds.

It is important to understand that changes are made manually and processed in the order received. You can expect the difference in cost from your old plan to your new plan to reflect on the second Spring statement.

Any unused meals from the Fall will become available once you use your entire Spring meals.

Dining Dollars can be used for any/all food purchases in any of the on-campus dining locations and is tax-free. Flex can be used to make dining purchases too, but also at places like the bookstore, vending and copy machines, laundry facilities, at the Hospitality Desk, and at a variety of off-campus locations. Flex purchases are subject to sales tax.


It's easy... you have 5 different options:

  • To have it billed to your student account statement, go to:
  • To pay by cash, check or credit card, go to:
    • Customer Service Center, 118 Hartley Hall
  • You may make cash-only deposits to an existing account:
    • At Value Transfer Stations in the following libraries: Butler, Uris, Avery, Lehman (IAB), Lehman (Barnard) and Milbank (Teachers College)

Dining Dollars and Flex accounts roll over from year to year until you graduate.

Your Dining Plan can be used at John Jay Dining Hall, Ferris Booth Commons, and JJ's Place. You can use your Dining Dollars, Flex, or cash at any of the on-campus dining locations.


Yes! All first year students are given up to 15 guest meals each term, while participants of the upperclass/graduate/GS meal plan are given up to 6 guest meals each term. The number of guest meals you receive depends on which dining plan you are on (see below). When you swipe in at the door, simply tell the cashier how many guests are with you and the meals will be deducted from your account.

First-Year Dining Plans

  • Plan One: 15 floating meals per term
  • Plan Two: 10 floating meals per term

Other Dining Plans

  • Plan A: 15 floating meals per term
  • Plan B: 6 guest meals per term
  • Plan C: 4 guest meals per term
  • Plan D: 2 guest meals provided

Yes. You can use your meals at select locations for brunch and dinner at either school. At Columbia, Barnard meal plan holders can use exchange meals at John Jay and Ferris Booth Commons. The exchange is not available at JJ’s Place. At Barnard, Columbia students can dine at Hewitt. ­Only students on the Kosher Dining Plan have access to kosher areas at either school.

According to TransFair USA, "Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace." By purchasing products that are fair trade certified, you are doing your part to ensure that the farmers who produce these products are being compensated fairly for their efforts.

Fair Trade is much more than a fair price! Fair Trade principles include:

  • Fair price: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
  • Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
  • Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
  • Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
  • Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
  • Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations. 

Simply go to the Hospitality Desk (in the lobby of Hartley Hall, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and fill out a refund request form (i.e. the location of the machine, how much was lost, date, time, etc.) and your refund will be processed right there.

Visit the online Columbia Card Deactivation website to inactivate your account so no one can use it. Then go to the ID Center in 204 Kent Hall to get a new university ID card. Everything will be on your new card.