All About Choice

Leave the cooking and the dishes to the dining team. Dining plans at the University of Iowa are designed to help you select the meal plan option that best fit your schedule, budget, and lifestyle. 

A meal plan is a pre-set number of meals purchased in advance for an academic semester. At the University of Iowa, meal plans offer both market place meals and flex swipes. With your meal plan, you will be free to eat when and where you want (with some limitations), throughout the semester. A meal plan is required for all first-year students living on campus, as well as returning students not living in a room with a university-supplied kitchen. 

You will utilize these meals by presenting your Iowa One card to a cashier who will swipe it at the register. This swiping action deducts one meal from your balance and is called a meal swipe. The two types of swipes offered in our meal plans are market place meals and flex swipes. Most students will use most of their meals in the market places. However, we have retail locations available to you, should you choose to use them.

Check Your Meal Plan Balance

Market place meals are available at our all-you-care-to-eat market places: Burge Market Place, Catlett Market Place, and Hillcrest Market Place. The Gold and Black meal plans offer meal swipes for use exclusively in market place locations. Market place meals will draw from the number of market place swipes provided in your Gold or Black meal plan. Once you run out of market place swipes, flex swipes will be used automatically.

The most flexible option available, flex swipes, can be used in the all-you-care-to-eat market places and at retail locations that accept flex swipes. Every meal plan contains 75 flex swipes for use in market place and eight retail locations (River Room Café, Street Hawk Food Truck, Union Station, Food for Thought Café, Grand Avenue Market, Pat’s Diner, Mayflower Market, and Clinton Street Market). In retail locations, a swipe can be used to purchase a meal comprised of one entrée, two sides, and a drink.


We know that convenience and sustainability matter. That is why our team has developed the Market2Go program where you can take your meals to-go. Market2Go is a program that is included with your meal plan, that allows you the convenience of eating where you want, while working to reduce waste.  

Simply grab your container take it in any market place, fill your container, and take your meal to-go. 

Please note: You can use your meal swipe to either dine-in or use Market2Go. 

Your IowaOne card has been programmed to allow you to pick up your free Market2Go container from any market place. One container is included with your meal plan. This is a green container that is reusable.  All students will have free access to this program regardless of meal plan status. If you lose your container, you will need to purchase additional containers. 

You will follow these steps to use your container:  

  1. Your IowaOne card has been programmed to allow you to pick up your Market2Go container.
  2. Tell the cashier, as you swipe into the market place, that you want to take your meal to-go. If this is your first time to use the program, the cashier will swipe your IowaOne card to verify that you are eligible for a free container and give you a clean container and a disposable cup for your beverage.  
  3. Select your meal items and fill your container.   
  4. Take your container to-go to consume outside of the market place. You will not be allowed to remain in the market place to eat your meal. (Please empty and rinse your container once your food is consumed). The lid on your container must close and snap shut. 
  5. Return your used container in a timely manner to the market place in order to obtain either a clean container or a carabiner.  
  6. Keep the carabiner handy. The next time you enter the market place and want a meal to go, we will trade you a clean Market2Go container for your carabiner.  

To obtain a new container, you will follow these steps:  

  1. Bring your container to any market place.  
  2. Hand your old container to staff at the cashier stand.   
  3. Our staff will hand you a clean container for you to use.  
  4. If you don’t want to take your meal to-go at this point, we will give you a carabiner.  
  5. The next time you chose to take your meal to go, you can exchange your carabiner for a clean container.  
  6. If you do not have a container to return or a carabiner to give to us, you will be charged for a replacement container. 

Market2Go containers can be used in three market places: Burge, Catlett, and Hillcrest. Market2Go containers cannot be used at retail locations or the Street Hawk Food truck. 

While your first container will be provided free of charge, any subsequent containers that you lose will need to be purchased. Each container will cost $5.00. 

Market2Go containers can typically hold an entrée, 2-3 sides, and a dessert or whichever food items you want to fill your container with. Your container must be able to close and latch.

You can use the container as often as your meal plan allows.

No. This container is meant for your convenience.

The Market2Go program is open to any faculty and/or staff at the University of Iowa. UI faculty and/or staff can visit any market place cashier station to get their first container. 

In order to use your container, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Visit any market place cashier stand and tell the staff member you want to participate in the Market2Go program.
  2. You will be handed a clean green container. This container will cost $5.00 for UI faculty and staff. This is a one-time fee for the container.
  3. Select your meal items and fill your container.    
  4. Take your container to-go to consume outside of the market place. You will not be allowed to remain in the market place to eat your meal. The lid on your container must close and snap shut.  
  5. Return your used container in a timely manner to the market place in order to obtain either a clean container or a carabiner. Please empty and rinse your container once your food is consumed. Additionally, you must use the carabiner given to you, which is a green carabiner with a white Iowa lock up.
  6. Keep the carabiner handy. The next time you enter the market place and want a meal to go, we will trade you a clean Market2Go container for your carabiner.
  7. When you come back to a market place again, you will fill your food items in the container.
  8. Please note: You will still need to pay the walk-in rate in order to eat in the market places using your Market2Go container.    

Guest Meals and Walk-In Pricing

All Gold and Black meal plans include eight (8) additional guest meals per semester. You can use these meals to treat a friend in either Burge, Catlett, or Hillcrest Market Places. Unused guest meals expire at the end of each semester.

For those customers without a meal plan contract, Burge, Catlett, and Hillcrest Market Places accept the following forms of tender: UI Charge, Hawkeye Dollars, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

  • Breakfast: $8.00
  • Lunch & Dinner: $11.50

Market Place Meal Tickets

University affiliates (UI conference/camp staff, UI staff or UI students working for a department or student organization) are eligible to purchase market place meal tickets using a university (MFK). When placing the order, enter the MFK and an accounting entry will be automatically made. In the system, MFKs and ticket orders can be named or identified by a specific event, camp, or conference name so they can be reused at a later date. Meal ticket costs are $8.00 for breakfast and $11.50 for lunch and dinner.

Order Market Place Meal Tickets (UI Affiliates Only)

Meal tickets should be ordered at least three (3) business days in advance. The person placing the order will be contacted by email when the meal tickets are available for pick up (in person).  Meal tickets cannot be sent through campus mail as they are negotiable. Tickets may be picked up at the University Housing and Dining administrative office at 4141 Burge, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Guests should present the ticket before entering the market place.

Any unused meal tickets can be turned back into University Housing and Dining, 4141 Burge, for credit up until 5:00 p.m., of the date noted for return on the form. When returning tickets for credit, include the form provided with the tickets. Please list number of tickets being returned for each meal (e.g. 10 breakfast) and indicate the MFK to be credited on the return form. This information is required to receive a credit.

Retail meal tickets may be purchased by selecting the preferred retail operation under Where to Eat, and ordering retail tickets from that page.

Off Campus Meal Plans

Just because you live off campus doesn't mean you shouldn't have access to quality food. No matter your lifestyle, University Housing and Dining has options for you. Students living off campus have the opportunity to purchase meal plans. Meal plans not only give you access to our three market places, but all retail and cafe locations on campus. Convenience, variety, safety, and quality. All available in budget-friendly meal plan options. 

How To Use Your Meal Plan

Learn more about using your meal plan by viewing the video on the left side of the screen.