C-Store employee Becky Rowley scans food items for a UNL student at the Cather C-Store on Thursday, Sept.12, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

There is a new way for University of Nebraska-Lincoln students to get the most out of their meal plan.

Starting this semester, students can spend up to $8 at a UNL convenience store in place of one meal swipe at a dining hall or Husker Heroes. The money can be spent on any food or beverage item. If more than $8 is spent, the rest can be paid via cash, credit card or NCard.

Students with all-access meal plans have the choice of one venue per meal period. They can either go to the dining hall as many times as they want during that meal period, or they can use one swipe at Husker Heroes or a C-Store.

Students with a Red 440 or White 250 meal pack can visit as many of the venues as they want and use up to five of their swipes per meal period.

At the C-Stores, the breakfast meal period lasts from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the lunch meal period lasts from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the dinner meal period lasts from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This new policy started with the goal of giving students more ways to use their meal plans, according to Rebecca Wood, manager of retail food operations. 

“They just have more options,” Wood said. “They get a better value with their meal plans.”

Freshman actuarial science major Beth Hardy attested to this as she visited the Cather C-Store in the morning between classes.

“It is convenient to get your money’s worth if you don’t have time to stop at Husker Heroes or a dining hall,” she said. “I know many students often skip breakfast if they don’t have time, so the C-Store really helps me fuel up for the morning.”

Wood said there have been many positive reactions to the new policy, and it has drummed up business for the C-Stores.

“It’s going great,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of great comments and our numbers are getting bigger everyday. At this time last year our Cather C-Store made around $500 a day, and now we are at roughly $2,500 a day.”

Some students are taking the $8 swipe limit as a challenge.

“It’s fun to see people try to calculate what they can get with their $8,” Wood said. “There was a couple times I’ve experienced seeing a group of friends competing to see who can get the closest to $8 without going over.”

The C-Store has products including chips, breakfast bars, energy drinks and microwaveable meals. However, if there is something that the C-Store doesn’t have, Wood said that students shouldn’t be afraid to make suggestions.

“We like to see what we can do about special requests,” she said. “If there is something we don’t have, let us know so we can try to see if we can find it.”


This article was modified at 7:50 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15, to capitalize C-Store in each reference.