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EIU Panther Dining


What meal plan is best for me?
With an abundance of meal plans at varying prices, including an “unlimited” option, you’re sure to find one that best suits your budget and needs.  Commuters and students who skip breakfast, or often leave campus on the weekends may find that the 7+ or 10+ option works well for them.  If you rarely skip a meal and/or have difficulty balancing a budget, a larger meal plan will ensure you are able to eat on a regular basis.  If snacking is more your style, you may consider a meal plan with a larger amount of Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can be used to purchase a ‘la carte items at the Thomas Marketplace Convenience Center, Panther Pantry, Java B&B, or the Food Court.

What are meals per week?
Meals per week are served in the residential dining centers.  Unused meal swipes do not carry over into the following week nor are they reimbursed.  We suggest utilizing all of your board meals per week to ensure you’re getting the most out of your meal plan.  The board meals are reset every Monday morning.

What are bonus meals?
Bonus meals, like meals per week, are board meals served in the residential dining centers. They may be used as extra meals for you or for a guest of yours, and are good for the semester in which they are provided. Unused meals do not accumulate nor are they reimbursed.

How many meal swipes can I use per day?
Students may use their meal swipes every two hours. If you swipe your card at 8:00 a.m., the next time you can use a meal swipe is 10:01 a.m.

What are Dining Dollars?
Students receive Dining Dollars upon purchasing a meal plan and, if living off-campus, can choose a Dining Dollar only plan for the semester.  You may use Dining Dollars to purchase meals/items in any of the three dining centers, Thomas Marketplace Convenience Center, Panther Pantry, Food Court, and Java B & B. Dining Dollars are good for the entire academic year and provide a 20% discount off the cash/guest meal price in the dining centers.

Can I add more Dining Dollars to my meal plan?
Yes! Meal plans come with Dining Dollars, but you can always add more. Also, you do not need to purchase a meal plan to get Dining Dollars. You can add them separately. Bring your Panther Card into the Housing and Dining Services Office in the MLK Jr. Union Lower Level to add them to your account. We accept checks or you may bill your student account. You can also purchase Dining Dollars online here.

Can off-campus students sign up for a meal plan?
Meal plans are always available to off-campus students.  The meal plan that best suits you will depend on the expected frequency of use and where you plan to use your plan (dining halls, Food Court, or a mix).  To explore the options for off-campus students, click here or call 217-581-5733 for further assistance.

Can meal plans be changed?
Increasing a meal plan: A student's meal plan can be increased at any time by filling out the proper form at the front desk of the Office of University Housing and Dining Services.

Decreasing a meal plan: Meal plans can be decreased no later than the Friday following the first class day of each semester by filling out the proper form at the front desk of the Office of University Housing and Dining Services.

How can I check how many meal swipes or Dining Dollars I have left?
To check the balance on your card, go to any of the checkers or registers in the dining centers, Food Court, or markets. Simply ask the checker to swipe the card and tell you the remaining balance. You may check the number of meals that you have left each week, as well as how many Dining Dollars you have left for the semester. Also, our staff would be happy to check your balance at the Office of University Housing and Dining Services in the lower level of the Martin Luther King Jr. Union.

Can someone else use my ID to use the meals I won’t eat?
For security purposes, we do not allow anyone besides the cardholder (the person pictured on the card) to use a panther card. Each of the dining centers will check that you are the person pictured on the card, thus you may not give the card to your friends to use without you present.

I have special diet/food concerns. Who can I discuss this with?
If you have a medical condition or special dietary needs please contact the Nutrition Graduate Assistant at or call 581-7687 for assistance.

Is there a take-out option and how does it work?
Three of the dining centers (TaylorThomas, and Tower) allow students to take meals to-go Monday (breakfast) through Friday (lunch). An exception to this policy is the Tower Deli which offers to-go meals every day of the week. In order to get your meal to go at each of the dining centers (except Tower Deli) simply tell the checker that you would like your meal to go when they swipe your card.

Can I dine at an on-campus facility if I don't have a meal plan?
All students, faculty, or visitors are welcome to dine at any of the dining centers on campus. You can simply tell the checker that you will be paying with credit/debit or Dining Dollars when you enter the dining center. For meal prices, click here.

Can a guest dine with me?
Students can bring guests to dine with them in the dining centers. There are a few different ways in which the guest can pay for the meal: a student may use a bonus meal swipe, a student may use Dining Dollars, or the meal can be paid for in credit/debit. To see meal prices for guests, click here.

What if I lose my Student ID?
If you have lost your panther ID, you can get a new one from the Panther Card Office in the Student Services Building. After you replace your ID, you must come to the Housing and Dining Services Office in the MLK Jr. Union Lower Level to have your meal plan put on the new card before being able to use it to purchase meals. Your old card will no longer work with your meal plan.

I want to work for Dining Services. Where can I apply?
There are many opportunities for employment throughout Panther Dining from dish room, wait staff, to office assistants, to managers. There are more than 400 student employees throughout Panther Dining. Our students may work during the summer months for camps and conferences and other special visitors if they choose to do so. Follow this link to fill out an application.

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