Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What is the difference between the BASIC and FLEX portion of my meal plan?

A: The BASIC account represents the mandatory, non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-cumulative portion of all residence meal plans. It is a non-taxable account saving you up to 13% and can be used for food purchases on campus only. The FLEX account is an optional account that allows you to continue non-taxable purchases of food on campus once the Basic account is exhausted. The FREEDOM account gives you ability to purchase non-food items on campus at Hospitality Services locations and to dine at the participating Off-Campus vendors. All purchases made from the FREEDOM account will be subject to the appropriate taxes. At any time during the academic year, you can deposit into the FLEX and/or FREEDOM account or transfer monies between your FLEX and FREEDOM accounts. Unused funds in the FLEX and FREEDOM accounts will be automatically carried over to the next term or can be refunded to you, so there’s no risk involved!

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Q: Is any part of my residence meal plan refundable?

A: No matter which residence meal plan you select, the BASIC portion of your plan is non-refundable except on a prorated basis upon withdrawal from residence, subject to the charges specified in point 12 of the Residence Meal Plan Policy. Only the unused portion of your FLEX and/or FREEDOM account is fully refundable upon withdrawal. The unused portion of your FLEX and/or FREEDOM account will remain in your account for future purchases or can be refunded upon a written request.

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Q: How do I know how much money I have left in my meal plan account?

A: Every time you make a purchase, you can see the total amount of all your meal plan accounts on the customer display. Better yet, use our secure internet access to your meal plan information at http://mealcard.mcmaster.ca/acctnfo.htm. Once there, you are able to check your meal plan balance and review your transaction history. The web access also allows you to deactivate your meal card as soon as you notice it missing, as well as to change your meal account PIN.

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Q: How do I choose my meal plan?

A: There are two meal plan groups, Group-A and Group-B, and within these groups there are five meal plan sizes. Any student living in a traditional residence must choose a meal plan from Group-A. Students living in Bates or Mary E. Keyes Residence must choose a meal plan from either Group-A or Group-B. Refer to the Residence Meal Plan Details for clarification. You may add extra monies to your Flex and/or Freedom account at any time.

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Q: What do some typical meals cost?

A: Each individual has their own eating patterns and tastes, and there are many factors in choosing what to eat and when to eat it. This page has a listing of menu selections and prices for most locations http://hospitality.mcmaster.ca/menu/menu.html.

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Q: Will the Residence Meal Plan meet my special dietary needs?

A: Students with special dietary needs due to health or religious restrictions must contact Hospitality Services for written confirmation that their needs can be met within the residence meal plan before making a decision to apply for residence, as the meal plan is mandatory for all students living in McMaster University residences.

Visit the dietary restrictions page for detailed information regarding our additional services.

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Q: What’s cooking on campus?

A: Hospitality Services publishes a weekly menu, “Dining on Campus” listing entrees available at our full service dining locations. Vegetarian options are identified on this menu which is posted in your residence, in all our dining locations and on our website.

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Q: How do I voice my concerns?

A: The Student Dining Committee meets bi-weekly during the academic year to discuss concerns and issues regarding dining on campus, and to give feedback to Hospitality Services. You are represented on this committee by delegates from each residence hall on campus, the Inter-Residence Council, McMaster Students Union and off campus students. Many initiatives are introduced every year to benefit campus life. We also encourage you to use our “Questions/Answers” comment sheets found in our dining locations. Simply pin your question to the info board and your answer will appear within 48 hours!

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Still have questions?

Feel free to visit the Mac Express Centre in the Commons Building, Room 128; call the Mac Express office (905) 525-9140 ext. 27448; explore our website at http://mealcard.mcmaster.ca, or contact us by e-mail at express@mcmaster.ca