The Residential
College System

The residential college system is a familiar option, but if eating clubs aren’t quite your scene and you don’t want the responsibility of cooking, then the residential college system is a great place to eat and live.  As an upperclassmen, you are not limited to living in the residential college you were assigned to, but can draw into either one of the three 4-year colleges: Butler, Mathey, or Whitman.

In fall 2007, the University inaugurated an expanded residential college system that provides more housing and dining opportunities for all undergraduates. The new system establishes three four-year colleges and pairs them with three two-year colleges, enabling juniors and seniors to remain linked to a residential college, regardless of whether they live there.

Butler: Room Types

  • Singles
  • Triples
  • 3- and 5-room quads
  • Hallway, shared, and private bathrooms
  • Amenities

  • Classroom space
  • Gallery
  • Gender-neutral rooms
  • Kitchenettes
  • Music practice rooms
  • Laundry
  • Printer clusters
  • Seminar rooms
  • Studio 34 Food Emporium
  • WPRB Radio Station
  • Mathey: Room Types

  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Triples
  • Quads
  • Amenities

  • Game rooms
  • Gender-neutral rooms
  • Kitchenettes
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Printer clusters
  • Seminar room
  • Study lounges
  • Whitman: Room Types

  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Triples
  • Quads
  • Private and hallway bathrooms
  • Amenities

  • Dark room
  • Game room
  • Kitchenettes
  • Laundry
  • Printer cluster
  • Seminar room
  • Study lounges
  • Theater
  • Juniors and seniors who want to draw into a residential college are required to purchase a meal plan; however, you do not need to live in a residential college to eat in the dining halls. You can draw a room from upperclass or independent draw and purchase a meal plan or individual meals. And yes, upperclassmen meal plans can still be used to get late meal.

    These are the meal plans offered by University Dining Services for Juniors and Seniors:

    Plans and Prices for the 2015-2016 Academic YearPlans and Prices for the 2015-2016 Academic Year

    The cost for the Unlimited Plan is $5,200, the cost for the Block 235 plan is $4,992, the cost for the Block 190 plan is $4,784, and the cost for the Block 95 plan is $2,860.

    Paw Points

    Can't cook? Too lazy to walk to Panera? Or maybe you just like dining hall food? You can add Paw Points to your TigerCard (aka prox) and use it to get a 5% discount on meals in the dining hall. Breakfast is $9.12, brunch and lunch cost $11.16, and dinner costs $15.68 if you pay with Paw Points. This is a great deal when compared to the 95-meal block plan ($18.07 per meal!) and it means you can eat in the dining halls without living in a residential college or buying a meal plan. Paw points are easy to add and can be used all over campus (Frist, U-store, Chancellor Green, E-quad café). If you're too lazy to buy Paw Points, you can also charge meals in the dining hall using your prox; it's just a little more expensive ($9.60, $11.75, and $16.50 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively).

    Two
    Free
    Meals!

    Upperclassmen receive two extra meals per week to allow them to stay connected with their residential college, regardless of where they take the rest of their meals.  Juniors and seniors who purchase a University meal plan (including a shared meal plan) will have their extra meals bundled together with the meal plan they purchase. Juniors and seniors who do not purchase a University meal plan will receive two meals per week which may be taken in any of the six residential colleges, expire each Sunday, and are not eligible for late meals at the Frist Campus Center or for special meals such as visiting chef dinners.

    Free meals!

    Financial aid

    Junior and senior aid packages will include a board allowance equivalent to the average cost of an eating club meal plan (without social fees). Through this higher board budget, the University has tried to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the financial barrier for aid students who wish to join an eating club. Students who choose a less expensive University meal contract or who eat independently will also receive the higher board allowance and may use the excess support to cover other expenses.

    The Opposite of
    Being Independent:
    Shared Meal Plans

    A shared meal plan is the combination of a 'Block 95' meal plan (the minimum required University meal plan for juniors and seniors who choose to live in a four-year residential college), and an eating club membership. It enables upperclass students who reside in a four-year residential college to eat their meals in both their residential college and their eating club. Students who elect a shared meal plan pay an amount equal to the membership fee (not including the social fee) of their particular club. This fee is covered by financial aid packages.

    Rising juniors and seniors who belong to an eating club and who want to live in a four-year residential college have the opportunity to choose one of their club's available shared meal plans for their 2015-2016 academic year during room draw in the spring of 2016. Each club has established a maximum number of shared meal plans available each academic year for their junior and senior members. Club members are encouraged to ask their club leadership for specific information regarding shared meal plans at their club.

    All upperclass students interested in choosing a shared meal plan must submit an application for the residential college draw. Using a computer lottery, the room draw process determines the order in which students can select available rooms, and thus available shared meal plans. During the residential college room draw, a club member who is interested in a shared meal plan will be able to select from the shared meal plans that are available at their particular club during their draw time. The room draw system will allow students the option to select a shared meal plan for their club so long as the maximum number of shared meal plans set by their club has not yet been reached. Once a particular club's maximum is reached, the option to participate in a shared meal plan will no longer be available to any subsequent members of that club in the residential college room selection process.

    Any remaining members of that club could choose to remove themselves from the residential college room draw and enter the regular upperclass room selection with a full club meal plan, or they could choose to live in the residential college and purchase at least the required 95 meal plan for their residential college in addition to their full club meal plan. In this case, the student would hold (and pay for) two separate meal plans, not a shared meal plan. Upperclass students with questions about selecting a shared meal plan during their draw time are encouraged to contact Angie Hodgeman, Manager for Undergraduate Housing at hodgeman@princeton.edu or 8-3461.