Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us.

How can I select/change my meal plan?

You will be able to make a meal plan selection once fall semester bills are distributed. You will receive an email that your bill is ready for view from UMass Bursar’s Office. Log on to SPIRE and from main menu select finances> meal plan> fall/spring and you will see the options for meal plans that you are eligible for. If you are an off-campus student then you will also see an option for commuter meal plans and a no meal plan selection as well. SPIRE will update your bill the following day.

Are first year students assigned to a meal plan?

Yes, first year students default to the Unlimited 250 Plan.

What options are available for students with food allergies?

Students with food allergies or intolerances have a variety of choices at both the Residential Dining Commons and Retail Cafes. Every menu item has an identifier that includes ingredients, allergens (top 8 plus corn and sesame), nutrition facts, and more. Students may view each item’s nutritional profile on site, the UMass Dining mobile app, or on our website. In addition, our mobile app and website includes allergen filters so students can view what items are safe for them to consume at a specific dining location. If students need further assistance, they may email our registered dietitians at [email protected]

Do Winter/Summer meal swipes carry over to Fall/Spring semester?


What is a YCMP?

A YCMP is a meal swipe that can be used at any retail dining location for a maximum of $10.50 per swipe. It can also be used as a swipe to enter any of the DCs on campus.

Why are first year residential students required to purchase a meal plan?

In order to ensure that our students are eating, living, and learning in healthful ways, UMass Amherst requires all first year residential students to purchase a meal plan. The four Dining Commons at UMass Amherst are social and educational hubs on campus, and help to build community, encourage healthy living, and enrich the college experience.

Are returning students assigned to meal plans?

Students automatically reassigned, and billed, their previous semester meal plan.  If you were not on a meal plan last semester and would like to purchase one, please do so on SPIRE before the end of Add/Drop period. See academic calendar at

When does my meal plan begin/end?

All semester meal plans follow the residence halls schedule of operations. Fall semester meal plans end the day after move-out day. Spring semester meal plans end the Sunday after Commencement. Meals do not carry forward from one semester to another; however, Dining Dollars carry forward from Fall to Spring semesters only.

How do I check my meal plan balance?

You can check your meal plan balance and usage online at

Am I required to purchase a meal plan?

All undergraduate students living in non-apartment style campus residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. First-year and transfer residential students living in apartment and non-apartment style housing are automatically assigned to the Unlimited Plan.

May I use my friend’s meal plan?

Meal plans are not transferable between students. Keep your UCard secure at all times to prevent unauthorized use. Misuse of UCards will result in disciplinary measures.

Do you have a Kosher Meal Plan?

Yes, students may sign up for the Kosher Option listed on Spire.  Our certified Kosher program is located at Franklin Dining Commons in the Central residential area. Our kosher meat (non-dairy) kitchen is under the strict supervision of a Mashgiach and the Springfield Vaad Hakashruth. Kosher meals are available Sunday to Thursday, for lunch and dinner and Friday for lunch. High holiday meals are also available for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover. Students must sign up in advance for these special meals.

What happens to my unused meals at the end of the semester?

Unused meals forfeit at the end of each semester. There are no refunds for unused meals. Current Meal Plan prices reflect the fact that not all students consume all meals available on their plan.  Dining Dollars rollover from Fall to Spring Semester only.

How can you add additional dining dollars?

You are able to select additional dining dollars on SPIRE after add/drop in increments of $25.00 under the meal plan tab selection. You are not able to add dining dollars to any meal plan that does not initially include dining dollars as a benefit.