Dining Dollars, meal swipes, Eagle Bucks, oh my

Incoming students at American University have lots of newfound freedom — and many of choices. Where to live? How to spend money? What to do for fun? Among these freedoms is one very important decision: How to pay for food?

Meal plans always consist of a certain amount of meal swipes from 75-200 or unlimited, and $200 Eagle Bucks and Dining Dollars. When paying with Dining Dollars the meal costs 10-15 percent less than the retail cost.  The card works only in campus eateries.

“I like Dining Dollars the best because you can get discounts on food which helps,” AU sophomore Zac Powell said.

While paying with Eagle Bucks does not get students a discount, it works at more places.  Eagle Bucks can be spent at several Tenleytown restaurants and some on-campus stores that sell other items besides food.

People can buy a certain amount of meal swipes where each swipe allows access to the Terrace Dining Room, which is the main cafeteria, and other limited options.

“I think the meal plans are great because you have a lot of things to choose from for any budget,” AU sophomore Jordan-Marie Smith said.

Freshmen and sophomores are required to get at least the 150-swipe plan, but upperclassmen have other options.

It is common that as students advance in school they get smaller dining plans, often because juniors and seniors students live off campus, which gives them easier access to cooking their own meals.

“There are a variety of ways to pay, which makes it easier and more convenient for students to dine on campus,” AU senior Tarika Lall said.