Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I am an incoming freshman, how do I sign up for a Meal Plan?

For those students who signed up for housing, you were also asked to indicate your meal plan choice. Beyond that however, all requests including meal plan changes are to be submitted in writing to the Meal Plan Office located on the 1st Floor of the Student Center across from the Rathskeller.  

No form of payment can be made at the Meal Plan Office. All meal plan charges will be applied to the student’s tuition bill and viewed on WESS. Payments can be made at the Student Account’s Office at College Hall.
The necessary forms can be found on the forms page.

Though available to All Students, Students residing on campus with fewer than 30 earned Montclair State University course credits are required to select one of these plans:
    •    Constant Pass with $200.00 Flex Dollars - $1,850.00
    •    Constant Pass with $300.00 Flex Dollars - $1,950.00

2. Am I required to participate in a Montclair State University Meal Plan?

All students living in the following residences are required to participate in a meal plan: Bohn, Freeman, Russ, Sinatra, The Heights and Webster. 

3. What if I am a Commuter?

If you will be commuting to the campus, you have a great amount of flexibility. Commuting students can enroll in any of the meal plans offered.  In addition, we have designed a set of Voluntary Meal Plans to meet your needs. Another option for commuters is to open a Red Hawk Dollar account to pay for food or snacks. Cash, Flex Dollars, Red Hawk Dollars, Credit Cards are always welcome at any Montclair State University food locations.

4. Which Meal Plan should I get?

Consider your daily routine: class schedule, study time, extracurricular and social activities and employment. Select the meal plan that is best for you. One block is equal to one meal at one of the two dining halls on campus. Blocks can also be used to equal to $5.95 towards the purchase of food only during meal equivalency hours at specified locations ($4.25 for Student Center breakfast equivalency). The block plans have added flexibility in that you can use your blocks until the end of the semester. Blocks can be exchanged for meal equivalency at the Rathskeller, Student Center Café, Café Diem, Red Hawk Diner, and the SubConnection.

5. Do I need a special Meal Plan Card?

Nope! Your meal plan, Flex Dollars and Red Hawk Dollars are accessed entirely through your Montclair State University ID Card.  You only need to worry about one card.  Once you enroll in a meal plan or Red Hawk Dollar account and the information is verified, your Montclair State University ID card is automatically updated to reflect your participation in the programs. There’s no need to go to the Meal Plan Office or the Red Hawk Office to “activate” you ID card.    

6. As a returning student, when do I sign up for next year's meal plan?

For returning students, meal plan selection information is included with the housing information in the Spring. The meal plan that you signed up for in the Fall semester will automatically be the same for the Spring, unless you officially change it. 

7. What are "Flex" dollars?

Flex Dollars is the declining balance function of a meal plan. The term comes from the “flexibility” one receives to make purchases at the various dining venues with this account. This account is similar to a debit account, where one begins with a certain amount of money and as purchases are made the balance declines. 

8. What is the difference between "Constant Pass" and "Block Plans"?

There two types of meal plans, Constant Pass Meal Plans and Block (Traditional) Meal Plans. Residential Meal Plans consist of two components: number of meals and Flex Dollars. Constant Pass Meal Plans expand the options for students by giving them unlimited access to food offered at our dining halls throughout the day, throughout the semester. Block Plans provide for a predetermined number of meals to carry the student through the semester, e.g. 155 Block Meal Plan. With each swipe of the ID card, a single block is deducted from the student’s block meal plan.  Once a student depletes their preset number of meals, no additional blocks can be purchased. Under Block Plans, you can also use an equivalency block toward the purchase of a meal at selected restaurants (at specified times) across campus. These restaurants are the Rathskeller, Student Center Café, Café Diem, the Red Hawk Diner, GFOC and the SubConnection.

9. What are the hours of service for retail and residential dining throughout the campus?

See our Dining Options page

10. Where can I use my Flex Dollars?

You can use “Flex” Dollars at any of Montclair State University’s retail locations, residence dining halls and vending machines.  Flex Dollars are used only for food purchases. 

11. My student has special dietary requirements. Are you able to provide them meals to meet their dietary needs?

Yes, our dedicated staff is happy to accommodate students with special dietary needs. We provide nutritional facts on the signs at each station with prepared foods and post possible allergen alerts where applicable. If you have special dietary needs, our Registered Dietician, Aliz Holzmann, will be happy to meet with you and discuss any special arrangements needed and let you know which items on our menu meet your needs. Aliz can be reached at In addition, menus are available that accommodate to Kosher, Vegetarian, and Vegan diets. Please visit the nutrition section of the website for further information.

12. What is the alcohol policy in the dining halls?

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from being possessed or consumed in Montclair State University Dining Halls during meal times and food service. University dining staff can deny admission, access, or meal service to anyone who is deemed to be intoxicated. 

13. Are there any locations open after regular meal hours?

Montclair State University Dining recognizes that sometimes making one of the late dinner periods just isn’t feasible; or students might want to meet for study groups somewhere other than their houses or libraries. Montclair State University Dining Services has a number of late-night eateries that offer after hours dining for students.  The Red Hawk Diner and Café Diem are open 24 hours when the university is in session.  Though not 24 hours, The Rathskeller and Bistro 62 are open late to serve those late night guests.  For more information regarding Montclair State University Dining hours of operation and locations, please visit our hours and locations page. 

14. Does Montclair State University Dining provide balanced meal options?

Montclair State University Dining Services offers a wide variety of options no matter how you like to eat. From salads, fresh fruits and vegetables to pizza and desserts, our menus are based on nutritional soundness and student feedback. Our menus are diverse; it is up to our customers to choose wisely. We promote fresh and nutritious meal selections and use healthy cooking methods, like steaming and grilling, whenever possible. Nutritional information is available in all our dining locations and on the menus page on our website to help you make informed decisions about your food choices. 

15. What if I don't use all my Flex Dollars or Blocks?

Flex Dollars will automatically roll over from the Fall semester to the Spring semester; provided the student is 1) enrolled in the Spring semester; and 2) has signed up for a meal plan for the Spring semester. At the end of the Spring term, any unused Flex Dollars will expire. Unused blocks automatically expire at the end of each semester. 

16. Can I bring guests to dine with me at the all-you-can-eat venue (Sam’s Place & Freeman)?

Yes! Should you ever wish to bring along a friend or family member to Sam’s Place or Freeman Dining Hall, you can pay with cash, Red Hawk Dollars, Flex Dollars, Blocks or Credit Cards. Cash prices for guest meals are as follows:
    •    Breakfast - $5.00
    •    Lunch - $8.40
    •    Brunch/Dinner - $9.50
    •    Special Meals - $9.80 

17. What should I do if I run out of Flex Dollars before the semester ends?

If you run out of “Flex” Dollars before the end of the semester, you may deposit additional funds to your “Flex Dollar” portion of the meal plan by Check, Cash, Credit Card or Credit Transfer. (If the student has a credit from loans and/or financial aid, a portion of that credit can be used to replenish their “Flex Dollar” portion of their meal plan.)  Visit the Meal Plan Office (1st Fl. Student Center) or the Student Account’s Office (2nd Fl. at College Hall) for assistance.  Keep in mind that additional Flex Dollars must be paid for, in full, at the time of the request.

18. What happens if I lose my University ID card?

If you misplace, lose or if your ID card has been stolen, you should immediately “FREEZE” your card.  By freezing your card, it would halt it from being used by anyone.  Use the Online Card Office application…24/7… to also track meal plan, Flex Dollars and Red Hawk Dollar usage.

19. Who do I contact if I have questions about the meal plan?

Contact Auxiliary Services at 973-655-3375/7889 or via e-mail at 

20. What is Sodexo?

Sodexo is the leading food and facilities management Services Company in North America with locations at corporations, colleges, universities, schools, hospitals and other specialty venues. Sodexo caters to diverse community tastes and blends many favorite national and signature brands created to give our customers the style they want at a lower cost. Read more about Sodexo services at our website:

21. Are there employment opportunities with Montclair State University Dining Services?

There are various opportunities for student workers at hospitality services. Please visit the employment section of our website for more details about positions and for contact information.