First-Year Student Dining Plan Playment Schedule

First-Year Student Dining Plans

The first-year dining plans for 2020-2021 offer incoming students the flexibility, convenience and value they crave. Students can choose from a wide variety of dining options throughout their day; from grab-and-go to pop-ups to take-out from their favorite dining venues. Campus Dining features more than 21 dining venues including the brand-new Vista Grande Dining Complex, three markets and over 1,000 menu options. With their dining plan, new Mustangs have the freedom to make their own food choices.


Food plays a huge and very personal role in students’ lives, and each relationship with it is different. Some students can’t consume enough calories, while others are happy to graze and snack their way through the day. For this reason, Campus Dining offers three brand dining plans that use a "declining balance system.".

First-Year Flex Max

First-Year Flex Max

Designed for students who live to eat and eat to live, the First-Year Flex Max plan offers $1,656 a quarter, roughly $150 a week to spend on food. This is enough to keep a student with a large appetite fueled for success.

An average day could start with a ciabatta breakfast sandwich, and maybe a protein-heavy snack and a trip to the bulk bins in Campus Market. Then some Banh Mi with garlic parmesan fries for lunch and fire-roasted chicken and garlic mashed potatoes for dinner.

First-Year Flex Prime

First-Year Flex Prime

Not everyone needs, or has the time for, three squares a day, and for those students there is First-Year Flex Prime. Calculated to offer $1,503 a quarter, which translates to $136 a week to spend on food. This is enough to keep a student with an average appetite fueled for success.

A typical day may start with eggs, sausage and potatoes at Brunch, then a snack to tide you over for a healthy lunch at Balance Café. Then maybe a mid-day apple before a full dinner of beef stroganoff at Noodles.

First-Year Flex Basic

First-Year Flex Basic

For those who are happy to nosh throughout the day, there is the First-Year Flex Basic plan. The Basic offers $1,383 a quarter, roughly $125 a week. This is enough for a student with a light appetite or one who will eat off campus often.

A normal day, if there is such a thing, could start with crunchy apple pie oatmeal with fresh fruit, followed by a snack before a lunch of smoked sweet potato hummus with fire roasted pita chips. A PolyFresh parfait for a snack will hold the "hangry" until an Asian Chicken Salad for dinner.

How the plans work

At the beginning of each quarter, a specific amount of Dining Dollars is added to the student's Poly Card (Cal Poly I.D.). The amount is determined by the plan the student chooses. Then the student simply uses their Poly Card like a debit card at any Campus Dining venue, dollar-for-dollar. This system gives students the liberty to eat what they want, when they want.

Switching Plans

Campus Dining plans are convenient, flexible and easy to use. The only hard part is picking the plan that is right for the student. To make the decision stress free, students are allowed to make a one-time switch in dining plans at the end of fall quarter from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1, 2020. Their new choice will go into effect the following winter quarter.


Wrapped in each dining plan is a list of factors and costs that go into running a program that supports first-year students and their varied locations, schedules, likes and dislikes, and nutrition requirements. Below is the cost break down of each plan including the Dining Dollars available per quarter.

First-Year Flex MaxFirst-Year Flex PrimeFirst-Year Flex Basic
Plan Cost$5,904$5,445$5,085
Base Expense-$936-$936-$936
Annual Dining Dollars$4,968$4,509$4,149
Quarterly Allotted
Dining Dollars
Maximum 2021-22 Rollover*$400$200$0

*Students who purchase & maintain a plan for 2021-22 will be able to rollover remaining funds per these maximums.

Payment Schedule

Choose to make one annual payment, three quarterly payments or nine monthly payments with the first payment due September 15, 2020 and the last one due May 1, 2021. A one-time $21 enrollment charge will be charged for the quarterly or monthly payment option. Students with enough financial aid to apply to their dining charges are not subject to this one-time charge. Initial payment deposits will be applied when fall charges are placed.

First-Year Flex MaxFirst-Year Flex PrimeFirst-Year Flex Basic
Total Fall Charges$1,968$1,815$1,695
Installment Due Dates
9/1 amount if $1000 deposit was made$0$0$0
10/1 amount if $1000 deposit was made$532$430$350
Total Winter Charges$1,968$1,815$1,695
Installment Due Dates
Total Spring Charges$1,968$1,815$1,695
Installment Due Dates
Total Academic Year$5,904$5,445$5,085


All freshman living in campus housing are required to have a dining plan for the entire academic year. This gives students the convenience of having meals easily accessible so they can focus on their academics and student life.


Dining Dollars can be used at any Campus Dining venue.


All plans include a 20% discount at Vista Grande with the exception of Jamba Juice and Grand Avenue Market.


Each dining plan includes a base cost that helps cover the non-food operating costs that go into serving 20,000 meals a day at 21 venues and employing 1,500 students. This includes equipment and facility maintenance.


Dining Dollars roll over to the next quarter, however, funds remaining at the end of the spring quarter are forfeited, unless a plan is purchased and maintained for the 2021-22 academic year.


Students with dietary restrictions should review their dining plan food options at to determine if their dietary needs can be met prior to submitting their initial payment registration for the Housing and Dining License.


If a student runs out of Dining Dollars before the quarter is over, they can put funds on a Campus Express account. Please note Campus Express does not include the 20% discount at Vista Grande.

Additional terms and conditions may be found in the Housing and Dining License Agreement Terms and Conditions 2020-2021