Frozen food, lettuce, burritos, soup, pasta, sauce, tomatoes

Meal Planning

With more than 90 diverse dining partners, you have your choice of where, when and what you want to eat. The amount of Dining Cash in your plan depends on your class year plus whatever funds you add or rollover. While some partners offer deals and discounts to students using their GWorld card, you may need to be mindful about what you spend on food. To customize your dining plan to meet your unique needs, tastes and budget, consider a balance between eating at restaurants, purchasing groceries and preparing meals.

By downloading the GET app, you can find the full list of our dining partners and check your account balance at any time. Use it to track and manage your spending and add Dining Cash or Colonial Cash if your funds are running low.

Planning Your Meals

To make the most of your Dining Cash each semester, try to plan ahead and think about how you will spend your Dining Cash to best meet your dining needs. You might plan on a daily or weekly basis or use budgeting apps. Your dining plan assignment depends on your class year, as defined by your Housing Licensing Agreement and only includes the minimum amount. You can add funds as needed to best meet your individual needs. 

Second-, third- and fourth-year students that are interested in having more Dining Cash may opt to purchase any higher value dining plan than the plan that is assigned, according to the class year.

Students should visit the GWorld Office, located on the Ground Floor of the Marvin Center to purchase a higher value dining plan. The deadline for submitting dining plan changes is Friday, September 8, 2017 for the fall semester, and Friday, Janurary 26, 2018 for the spring semester.

Dining Plan Minimums

GW Dining plan minimums represent the average amount of Dining Cash needed for the academic year. It decreases each year to reflect the real-life experience of our students.

  • First-Year Dining Plan: $4,100 Dining Cash ($2,050 per semester)
  • Second-Year Dining Plan: $2,700 Dining Cash ($1,350 per semester)
  • Third-Year Dining Plan: $2,200 Dining Cash ($1,100 per semester)
  • Fourth-Year Dining Plan: $1,200 Dining Cash ($600 per semester)

Making the Minimum Last

There are many actions you can take to make the minimum amount last while eating the foods you enjoy:
  • Cook with friends and share ingredients
  • Purchase name brand items or items on sale
  • Look for specials and rewards programs at the restaurants you love. For example, you can download Sweetgreen and/or Beefsteak’s app to earn rewards
  • Sign up for programs at CVS and/or Safeway to earn rewards, get coupons and learn about discounts
  • Look for coupons to use at the store
  • Take a list with you to the grocery store so that you only buy what you need
  • Cook more than one serving at a time and plan to eat the leftovers for another meal




How Our Students Eat

Man with coffee cup, burger & fries and hot soup




Dan uses his Dining Cash to mostly eat out at GW dining partners. He exercises often but tries to find food that is filling, convenient and fits within his budget. He goes to the grocery store once every two weeks to purchase snacks or items to eat for breakfast. 


See how Dan eats

Female with sandwich, carrots and hot soup




Staying on budget is very important to Logan so she mostly grocery shops and cooks in her residence hall to do so. She lives on Mount Vernon and shops at Safeway but is on Foggy Bottom often so she packs her food to bring. Logan can't go without her coffee and uses her Dining Cash for a coffee break (or two) every day. 

See how Logan eats

Male with coffee cup, burger & fries and hot soup




Alex uses his dining plan to find a balance between eating out at dining partners around the city and cooking food in his dorm. When going out, he tries to find different cuisine from what he cooks at home that is also healthy and filling for the price. At the grocery store, Alex looks for specials and deals to get what he needs. While he only eats two meals a day, he also makes sure to take coffee breaks.

See how Alex eats

Female with hot dinner, hot soup and vegan food




Annette is a vegan student and while she uses her dining plan to buy food for meals and snacks at the store, she has also found dining partners with many menu options for her to eat. When shopping, she looks for coupons and specials to make her budget last. Even though she is just learning to cook, Annette has found many things that she can make for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the microwave in her residence hall. 


See how Annette eats