USC’s meal plan names aren’t the most intuitive (the scale ranges from “Trojan” to “Cardinal” and “Gold”) so we broke everything down for you here.

sure, but does your dining hall have logo waffles? #nofilter

A photo posted by Will Karr (@honutmuffin) on

Fight on with waffles at EVK. Photo by Instagram user @honutmuffin.

[highlight_red]Cardinal Meal Plan: The Default ($2,650/semester)[/highlight_red]

If you’re a freshman living in USC Housing, you are required to at least get this plan. You get unlimited meal swipes into the main dining halls: EVK, Cafe 84 and Parkside. This means that you can use your student ID to swipe in as much as you want, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you swipe in and grab a banana to go. You also get 7 complimentary guest swipes which are handy for visiting friends and family.

[highlight_yellow]Gold Meal Plan: For those who get sick of dining hall food easily ($2,960/semester)[/highlight_yellow]

With this plan you get the same unlimited swipes deal + 7 guest swipes with the Cardinal plan except you’re paying an extra $310 for a $500 credit in “dining dollars.” This credit can be used at any USC Hospitality retail or residential operation (that does not serve alcohol). That includes, the food court, TroGro, Lemonade,Seeds market, Literatea, Coffee Bean, Popovich Cafe, the noodle bar in Viterbi’s Tutor Hall, etc. Click here for a map of all the USC Hospitality retail locations.

Trojan Meal Plan: Pure Dining Dollars ($3,200/semester)

You pay $3,200 and you get $3,200 in pure dining dollars credit. You can use it at either dining halls (and pay about $12 a swipe) or at USC Hospitality retailers. Useful if you never plan on eating at EVK, Parkside or Cafe 84. Think of all the Lemonade and Starbucks you could get.

Plans that fill in the gaps (of hunger

The Apartment Meal Plan ($595/semester)

Designed to make sure non-Freshman don’t starve in between grocery dry spells, this plan gives you 40 swipes into one of the three dining halls and $150 in dining dollars. It is required for Parkside Apartment and Webb Tower residents.

Community 25: For students who are not required to have a meal plan ($310/semester)

25 dining hall swipes and $50 dining dollars.

Community 50 ($600/semester)

50 dining hall swipes and $100 dining dollars.

You can read more about meal plans at the USC Hospitality website.


Use your dining dollars like this. Photo by Instagram user @lemonadela.

Living large at #LemonadeLarchmont ? #lemonadela (?: @xoxo.thea)

A photo posted by Lemonade (@lemonadela) on