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UC Merced Dining Frequently Asked Questions


I have a question, concern or comment about my dining experience, who can I talk to?

UC Merced Dining Services always appreciates feedback. Please send your inquiry to, and we will reply promptly.

Why isn’t a certain item available at the Pavilion?

We strive to provide a wide variety of healthy and delicious options for diners. We always appreciate feedback on our menu. Please send and any specific menu recommendations to

Can we get additional healthy dining options?

We understand concerns about healthy options and are consistently adjusting our menu to provide additional healthy food on campus. We always appreciate feedback on our menu. Please send and any specific menu recommendations to

What do I do if I have a special diet?

Please contact Student Accessibility Services if you have a food allergy or other medical dietary restriction. If you have a religious dietary restriction or other question or a concern regarding diet, please email us at for more information or to request a meeting.

Why does UC Merced offer unlimited meal plans?

UC Merced offers unlimited, all-you-care-to-eat meal plans to provide the best service to our campus community in the most sustainable and flexible ways possible.

Unlimited meal plans provide diners a wide variety of choices to meet all kinds of nutritional needs. The Pavilion Dining Center also acts as a campus hub. All-you-care-to-eat meal plans foster community by allowing unlimited access to this hub throughout the day.

Unlimited access also helps address food insecurity on campus. With previous meal swipe plans, we found students were often running out of meal swipes before the end of the week and going hungry. Our unlimited plans address food insecurity by ensuring all residents receive proper nutrition every day they are on campus.

What are the differences between the meal plans?

Each UC Merced meal plan provides unlimited access to the all-you-care-to-eat Pavilion Dining Center. The plans differ in the amount of Cat Dollars provided at the beginning of a semester. Cat Dollars may be used at a variety of on-campus locations and provide flexibility to purchase food, goods and services outside of the Pavilion.

How do I select a meal plan?

Selecting a meal plan is part of the housing application process through the Housing Portal. Please select a meal plan during your housing application process. More information about UC Merced meal plans is available at

To purchase non-residential meal plans, please visit for more information.

Can I change my meal plan prior to the start of a semester?

Yes. Please make changes to your meal plan selection through the Housing Portal. Please note changes to the base meal plan will not be accepted after a semester starts, but Cat Dollars may be added to a meal plan at any time. You may add Cat Dollars to your account through the CatCard website at

Can I change my meal plan after the start of a semester?

Changes to the base meal plan will not be accepted after a semester starts, but Cat Dollars may be added to a meal plan at any time. You may add Cat Dollars through the CatCard website at

If I leave UC Merced, will the cost of my residential meal plan be refunded?

An adjustment or reversal of your residential meal plan charges will be applied to your account if you leave UC Merced and may or may not result in a refund to your account. Each student's account is different and is dependent upon when a person leaves the university. Housing will work closely with students if to ensure they have the most accurate information possible.

How much does it cost for someone without a meal plan to eat at the Pavilion?

Guests without a meal plan are welcome to dine at the all-you-care-to-eat Pavilion and can pay with CAT Dollars, debit or credit. Meal plans also include three guest passes per semester. Each guest pass allows a person without a meal plan one entry into the all-you-care-to-eat Pavilion. Entrance prices are listed below:

Breakfast: $10.95

Lunch: $11.95

Dinner: $12.95

Can I share my meal plan with someone?

Residential meal plans do not allow sharing are only valid for the plan holder and are not transferable. Non-residential meal plan holders may use swipes to allow guests to enter a dining center.

How do I refund my CAT Dollars?

Please visit the cashier’s office next to the Students First Center to request a refund of CAT Dollars when you separate from the university. A CAT Dollars balance is only refundable upon disassociation from the university.

Are student staff positions will Dining Services eligible for work-study?

Yes. Student staff positions with Dining Services are typically eligible for work-study. For more information on student staff positions, please visit or email

Additional questions or concerns? We always appreciate feedback. Please contact us at