RubiKquest Great Eats at College....why it's important to understand the meal plans each college or university has to offer!

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Great Eats at College....why it's important to understand the meal plans each college or university has to offer!

Published on: 04 Feb 2020

Higher education institution in USA

Top 15 Best Cafeterias in Colleges and University in America

 

There are so many things to consider when deciding on a college or university.  One of those deciding factors could be food. Sounds silly, but to some, very important.  Are there lots of options? What’s the quality of the food? Are their places open late night?  Many people even consider the food options to be a big deal due to dietary restrictions they have such as vegetarians, vegans, pecatarians, strictly organic, food allergies, and religious reasons.  And even more daunting is the “freshman 15” or weight gain during freshman year. A lot of students do not want to come home on winter break unrecognizable, so healthy and quality food options are important.  So much to consider.  

RubikQuest.com will be your savior when it comes to choosing colleges based off of all the important qualities it needs to possess.  Tell RubikQuest.com what YOU want in a college, what’s important to you, and let RubikQuest do all the work. We’ll give you a list of colleges that check the boxes on your list making the college search a little less daunting.  If having awesome food on your college campus is important, check out this list of the top 15 best cafeterias in colleges and universities across the US rated by student reviews and best meal plan cost.

 

  1. University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

UCLA offers different meal plan options:

Plan

Description of Plan

Bruin Premier 19

Most flexible meal plan.  Offers preset number of meals at the beginning of each academic quarter.  Any unused meals carry over from week to week and can be used for extra meals, snacks, or meals for friends or family.

Gold 19

Most cost effective meal plan.  Plan provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Monday through Friday, as well as brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.  Meals not eaten during the week will not carry over.

Bear Premier 14

Plan just as flexible as Bruin Premier 19, but more for students who generally go home on the weekends or who prefer to skip breakfast.  Does include carry over privileges.

Blue 14

14 meals per week.  No carry over for uneaten meals.

Cub 11

Most basic plan.  For students who are not on campus during the weekend or for those who eat only two meals a day.  No carry over for uneaten meals.

 

UCLA offers:

  • Gluten-free options

  • Healthier meals due to the Wellness Meal Criteria from Partnerships for a Healthier America (PHA)

  • Nutritional and health information posted on dining tables

  • On-campus dietitian

  • Sustainable dining (local milk, fruit, USDA organic fruits and vegetables, cage-free, humanely raised eggs, sustainable seafood, and fair trade coffee and tea)

  • Vegetarian and vegan options

  • Compostable or recyclable packaging for food

 

UCLA Overview:

  • Tuition: $14,760 per year

  • Population:  30,458 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  16%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  political science and government, economics, and psychology.

  • Graduation Rate: 91%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  18:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid: 65%

  • Voted #1 for best college campus in America and #2 for colleges with best student life in America.

 

2.  Virginia Tech University (Blacksburg, VA)

Virginia Tech Meal Plan Options:

Each plan contains flex dollars to spend for meals or snacks.  All flex plans give students a 50% discount at a la carte facilities and a 67% discount at the all-you-care-to-eat dining facility.  Flex dollars roll over semester to semester.

Plan

Cost per Semester

Flex Dollars

Meals per Week

Major Flex Plan

$1,912

$692

About 10 meals per week

Mega Flex Plan

$2,050

$830

About 12 meals per week

Premium Flex Plan

$2,193

$973

About 14 meals per week

Minor Flex Plan

$1,015

$406

-

Commuter Cash Dining Plan

$332

-

-



 

Virginia Tech offers:

  • Health dining options due to the Y.E.S. program

  • Nutritional information located on the website

  • Hokie Dining App which as ingredient, nutrition, and allergen information and all menus

  • Vegan and vegetarian options

  • Gluten-free options

 

Virginia Tech Overview:

  • Tuition: $18,700 per year

  • Population:  26,603 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:70%

  • Top 3 most popular majors:  mechanical engineering, management sciences and information systems, and finance

  • Graduation Rate: 84%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  14:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid: 65%

  • Voted #3 best college campuses in America and #9 for college with the best student life.

 

3.  University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Amhurt, MA)

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Meal Plan Options:

 

Plan

Cost Per Semester

Access

Dining Dollars

Guest Meals

Unlimited 500

$3,367

Unlimited Access to all four campus dining commons

$500

15

Unlimited 250

$3,159

Unlimited Access to all four campus dining commons

$250

15

Unlimited DC

$2,912

Unlimited Access to all four campus dining commons

None

None

DC Basic

$ 2,862

224 swipes per semester & 9 meal exchanges

None

15


 

UMass offers:

  • 4 residential dining commons

  • 12 eateries at the Campus Center

  • 20+ cafes

  • The University Club

  • Concession

  • 2 food trucks 

  • Locally sourced foods

  • Plant-Forward Diet (vegetarian / vegan)

  • Organic Options

  • Fair Trade Certified products

  • Sustainability initiatives for waste and recycling

  • Two registered on-campus dieticians who assist with special dietary needs, which include:

    • Food allergies

    • Food intolerances

    • Celiac disease

    • Other medical conditions

    • Broken Jaw

    • Dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

    • Religious and cultural diets (kosher, halal, etc.)

 

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Overview:

  • Tuition:  $21,281 per year

  • Population:  21,577 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  58%

  • Top 3 most popular majors:  psychology, liberal arts and humanities, and economics

  • Graduation Rate:  77%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  18:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  89%

  • Voted #15 for best college for sports management and #24 for best college for public health.










 

4.  Washington University (St. Louis, MO)

Washington University Meal Plans:

 

Plan

Points

Cost per Year

Platinum Plan

5,170 points

$6,639

Gold Plan

4,636 points

$6,097

Silver Plan

3,779 points

$5,250

Bronze Plan

2,928 points

$4,389 

Apartment Plan

1,342 points

$1,974

Off-Campus Plan

792 points

$1,228

 

Washington University offers:

  • 30 eatery options

  • On-campus dietician

  • Healthy meal options

  • Accommodations for food allergies and intolerances

  • Vegetarian, kosher, and halal options

 

Washington University Overview:

  • Tuition:  $27,777 per year

  • Population:  7,074 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  16%

  • Top 3 most popular majors:  finance, psychology, and computer science

  • Graduation Rate:  94%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  8:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  54%

  • Voted #1 best colleges for architecture, #2 for best college campuses, and #2 best college dorms.

 

5.  Bates College (Lewiston, ME)

Bates College did not have meal plan costs or options listed on their website, however they do offer the following:

  • Sustainable dining

  • Dietary needs liaison

  • Bagged lunch for class conflicts

  • Breakfast bar

  • Deli Bar

  • Salad Bar

  • Ice Cream & Sundae Bar

 

Bates College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $23,312 per year

  • Population:  1,787 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  22%

  • Top 3 most popular majors:  economics, political science and government, and psychology

  • Graduation Rate:  92%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  10:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  51%

  • Voted #4 Best Test Optional colleges and #14 best small colleges.

 

6.  St. John Fisher College (Rochester, NY)

St. John Fisher College Meal Plan Options:

 

Plan

Cost/Semester

Meal Swipes/Semester

Meals per Week

Dining Dollars

Guest Passes

Unlimited

$3,560

300+

26+

$50

5

Tier 1

$2,675

220

16

$100

5

Tier 2

$2,275

180

13

$150

5

Tier 3

$1,810

125

9

$200

5

Commuter Plan

$970

75

5

$75

5

 

St. John Fisher College Offers:

  • Food allergy / intolerance friendly foods

  • Religious/Cultural food options

  • Vegetarian/Vegan options

  • 6 Dining Locations

St. John Fisher College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $27,628 per year

  • Population:  2,624 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  65%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  nursing, biology, and business

  • Graduation Rate:  74%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  12:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid: 100%

  • Voted #18 for best college campuses and #30 for best catholic colleges.



 

7.  California Baptist University (Riverside, CA)

California Baptist University Meal Plan Options:

 

Plan Name

Price Per Semester

Total Meal Swipes

Total Dining Dollars

A

$550

45

50

B

$830

70

50

C

$1,110

90

100

D

$1,665

135

150

E

$1,920

155

200

F

$2,160

180

200

G

$2,390

200

250

H

$2,605

225

250

I

$2,830

250

250

J

$3,045

275

250

K

$3,275

300

250

 

California Baptist University Offers:

  • 10 Campus Eateries including Chick-Fil-A

  • Healthy food options in alignment with CBU Wellness Initiatives

  • Vegetarian/Vegan options

  • Gluten-free options

  • Lactose-free options

 

California Baptist University Overview:

  • Tuition:  $25,714 per year

  • Population:  6,367

  • Acceptance Rate:  77%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  business, nursing, and psychology

  • Graduation Rate:  59%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  17:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  95%

  • Voted #6 Best College Campuses and #27 for Best College Dorms



 

8.  University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)

University of San Diego Meal Plan Options:

 

Plans

Meals per Semester

Average # of Meals per Week

Guest Meals per Semester

Dining Dollars

Cost Per Semester

Pavilion 135

135

9

2

$1,159.40

$2,504

Pavilion 120

120

8

2

$1,042.40

$2,252

Pavilion 105

105

7

2

$801.85

$1,876

 

University of San Diego Offers:

  • Mobile food ordering

  • 11 Dining Options including a Food Truck

  • Sustainable dining options

  • Healthy food options

  • Vegetarian/Vegan options

  • Gluten-free options

  • Halal options



 

University of San Diego Overview:

  • Tuition:  $38,592 per year

  • Population:  5,605 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  50%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  finance, business, and marketing

  • Graduation Rate:  82%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  14:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  85%

  • Voted #8 Best Catholic Colleges and #11 Best College Campuses

 

9.  St. Norbert College (De Pere, WI)

St. Norbert College Meal Plan Options:

1st and 2nd year students residing in the residence halls are required to have this plan:

Plan

Meal Dollars

Guest/Take-Out Passes Per Semester

Cost per Semester

Cost per Year

Platinum Plan

$425

10

$2,586

$5,172

 

St. Norbert College Offers:

  • 4 Dining options

  • Made to service food

  • Low-calorie options

  • Salad Bar

  • Allergen-friendly fare

 

St. Norbert College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $25,980 per year

  • Population:  2,021 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  79%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  business, communications, and biology

  • Graduation Rate: 74%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  13:1

  • Percentage of Students who receive financial aid:  100%

  • Voted #31 Best Catholic Colleges and #45 Best College Campuses

 

10.  James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)

JMU Meal Plan Options:

 

Plan

Meals per Week

Dining Dollars

Cost per Semester

14-Plus Plan

14

$275

$2,536

Weekly 11-Plus Plan

11

$500

$2,657

19-Plus Plan

19

$175

$2,755

Grace Street Apartments Block 50

50 per semester

$175

$833

 

JMU Offers:

  • 28 Dining options including Steak n Shake, Auntie Anne’s, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks

  • Healthy meal options

  • Sustainable dining

  • Gluten-free options

  • Peanut and Tree nut-free options

  • Low-calorie options

  • Vegetarian/Vegan options

  • Whole Grain Options

  • Locally sourced products

  • Chef prepared meals

 

JMU Overview:

  • Tuition:  $16,154 per year

  • Population:  18,905 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  75%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  community health services and counseling, communication, and liberal arts and humanities

  • Graduation Rate:  83%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  16:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  63%

  • Voted #5 Best College Campuses and #11 Best Test Optional Colleges 

 

11.  Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)

Bowdoin College Meal Plan Options:

Bowdoin College offers the 19, 14, 10, or 9 meals per week plans which include a cash equivalent to the weekly meals called Polar Points.

Bowdoin College Offers:

  • 5 Dining options

  • Nut-free options

  • Gluten-free options

  • Vegetarian/vegan options

  • Locally sourced ingredients

  • Halal options

  • Sustainable dining

  • Organic options from Organic Garden


Bowdoin College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $24,447 per year

  • Population:  1,813 undergraduate students 

  • Acceptance Rate:  14%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  political science and government, economics, and math

  • Graduation Rate:  95%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  9:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  48%

  • Voted #2 Best Liberal Arts College, #2 Best Test Optional, and #3 Best Small Colleges

 

12.  Kendall College (Chicago, IL)

Kendall College Meal Plans are included in student fees.

 

Kendall College Offers:

  • Meals prepared by culinary arts students

  • Student-run cafeteria

  • Student-run coffee shop

  • Fine-dining restaurant / living classroom

 

Kendall College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $30,324 per year

  • Population:  576 undergraduate students 

  • Acceptance Rate:  71%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  hospitality and tourism management, culinary arts and food service, and early childhood education

  • Graduation Rate:  38%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  8:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  69%

  • Voted #16 for Best Online Colleges and #67 for Best College Locations

 

13.  University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia Meal Plans:

 

Plan

Price per Year

Price per Semester

All-Access 7-Day

$4,036

$2,018

All-Access 5-Day

$3,834

$1,917

All-Access 7-Day PLUS 110 Paw Points per Semester

$4,236

$2,118

All-Access 5-Day PLUS 275 Paw Points per Semester

$4,334

$2,167



 

University of Georgia Offers:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Options

  • Gluten-free choices

  • Nutrition Counseling

  • 29 dining options including:  Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express, Einstein Bros Bagels, Au Bon Pain, and Starbucks

  • Special selections line at Bolton Dining Common serves cuisine free of the eight most common food allergens:  egg, milk, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts and is also gluten-free.

  • On-campus registered dietician

 

University of Georgia Overview:

  • Tuition:  $15,934 per year

  • Population:  27,142 students

  • Acceptance Rate:  54%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  finance, psychology, and biology

  • Graduation Rate:  85%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  17:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  96%

  • Voted #3 for Best Colleges for Agricultural Sciences in America, #4 Top Party Schools in America, and #5 Colleges with the Best Student Life in America



 

14.  The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

The Culinary Institute of America Meal Plan Options:

Plan

Meal Points

Gold Points

Total Points

Cost per Semester

CIA Meal Plan

1400

325

1725

$1,900

CIA Meal Plan PLUS

1400

650

2050

$2,180

CIA Meal Plan ULTIMATE

1400

1000

2400

$2,460

 

The Culinary Institute of America Offers:

  • Food court

  • Craft Brewery on campus

  • Rotating pop-up restaurants

  • Guest chefs

 

The Culinary Institute of America Overview:

  • Tuition:  $32,290 per year

  • Population:  3,116 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  97%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  culinary arts and food services, baking and pastry arts, and restaurant and food service management

  • Graduation Rate:  73%

  • Student to Faculty Ratio:  19:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  94%

  • Voted #2 Best College for Culinary Arts in America and #76 for Most Diverse College in America

 

15.  Hendrix College (Conway, AR)

Hendrix College Meal Plan Options:

  • Unlimited Access- unlimited access to dining hall

  • 10 Meal Plan - access to dining hall 10 times during 7-day period (Sunday-Saturday)

  • 5 Meal Plan - access to dining hall 5 times during 7-day period (Sunday-Saturday)

 

Hendrix College Offers:

  • Vegetarian/vegan options

  • Grill station 

  • World’s fare station

  • Deli, salad, dessert, wok, pizza, vegetable, and soup bars

  • Healthy meal options

  • Homestyle options

  • Sustainable dining

  • Low-fat options

  • Allergy-free options

  • Halal options

  • Local ingredients

  • Organic options

  • Nutritional Counseling

 

Hendrix College Overview:

  • Tuition:  $22,089 per year

  • Population:  1,228 undergraduate students

  • Acceptance Rate:  80%

  • Top 3 Most Popular Majors:  psychology, biology, and economics

  • Graduation Rate:  75%

  • Students to Faculty Ratio:  11:1

  • Percentage of students who receive financial aid:  100%

 

While this list does give the top 15 colleges and universities with the best cafeterias there are tons of other factors to consider like the cost of tuition, student population, acceptance rate, graduation rate, student to faculty ratio, and so much more.  Let RubikQuest.com do the work and make finding your dream school a little bit easier!

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