Frequently Asked Questions

Who can purchase a meal plan?

All students can purchase meal plans. Meal plans ensure that you will have well-balanced, nutritious meals throughout the semester regardless of your "cash on hand" situation. Flexibility comes with Ultimate Access, Dining Passes, and Dining Dollars. You can opt to dine in our state of the art "all-you-care-to-eat" facility offering six venues, or any of our other 21 campus eateries..

Who is required to have a Meal Plan?

All students living in residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. Students living in apartment-style accommodations are not required to have meal plans, but may purchase any of our meal plans.

Can I change my meal plan?

Yes. If you decided you selected the wrong meal plan, you have a grace period at the beginning of each term to change plans. Visit the Panther Central Publications Page to complete a Meal Plan Application/Change form and submit it to Panther Central no later than the last day of the add/drop period. Please refer to your Housing/Dining Services Contact or academic calendar for the exact add/drop date.

How do I use my meal plan?

Your meal plan is encoded on your Panther Card. Present this card to the cashier when you make a purchase, and Dining Passes or Dining Dollars will automatically be deducted from your account, depending on your preference at each transaction.

How do I keep track of my Dining Passes and Dining Dollars?

Each time you use your Dining Passes at Market Central, The Perch at Sutherland, or Market To-Go, your remaining balance will appear on your receipt. When you use your Dining Dollars at any dining facility on campus, the remaining balance shows on the register and your receipt. You also may access your Dining Dollars usage report at the Panther Central community at

To run a Dining Dollars or Dining Usage report, follow the steps below:

  • Log into My.Pitt.Edu
  • Click My Resources
    • Panther Central
  • Dining E-Services
    • “Dining Dollar Usage Reports”
  • Enter Credentials
  • Click either “Account Transactions” for Dining Dollars
    • Search time period
  • Or click “Board Transactions” for Dining Passes
    • Search time period

What if I run out of Dining Passes during the semester?

Most meal plans come with a set amount of Dining Passes. Should you run out of Dining Passes, you can still purchase meals with the Dining Dollars portions of your meal plan. If you need additional Dining Dollars, you may purchase them midway through the semester in $25 increments.  Of course, Panther Funds, credit cards, and cash are accepted at all of our dining facilities on campus.

What are Panther Funds?

Panther Funds is a safe alternative to carrying cash. A pre-paid, stored value program on your Panther Card, Panther Funds can be used just like cash at all our dining facilities on campus.

What are the hours of operation for dining facilities during holidays or other special events?

The hours will vary for each operation during special periods. Any adjustments to hours will be posted in advance. Check the Panther Central Dining Services Web site for up-to-date information.

Why can't food be carried out of Market Central and The Perch at Sutherland?

Market Central and The Perch at Sutherland offer a large variety of meal choices seven days a week. You are welcome to consume all you wish during each visit, but due to the pricing structure, food cannot leave this area.

Can I keep track of what I am eating?

Yes, you can keep an online journal through our nutrition program, You can look up nutritional facts about the foods you are eating.

Are there Dining Services employment opportunities for students, and if so, what are they?

Of course! We have employment opportunities at many of our dining facilities, and we always encourage students to seek employment with us. Student schedules are flexible with great pay. As the largest food service organization in the world, we would like for you to join us.

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Have a question?

Have a question about your Meal Plan? Look for the answer below or contact Panther Central. We're at your service.

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Have a question?

Have a question about your Meal Plan? Look for the answer below or contact Panther Central. We're at your service.