Are college football tickets free for students?

Anybody who has ever seen a college football game on TV knows how crucial the student section is. But do students get college football tickets for free? 

are college football tickets free for students

Unfortunately, most of the top power conference schools do not provide free college football tickets. Students must purchase a season ticket pass for $50-$250, and they can attend every game. However, lower-level teams with low attendance will allow students in the games for free. 

Schools are public about their ticket prices, and we were able to compile data from major schools in the SEC and Big Ten to provide a clear understanding of what students will pay to attend. We also learned that schools with low attendance numbers typically allow students to attend for free by showing their school ID at the gates. 

Are College Football Tickets Free For Students?

As a student, attending college football games has become part of the college experience for many. It can be incredibly disappointing for those who can‘t get tickets to their favorite team’s game. 

The question remains: are college football tickets free for students? The answer is it depends. Some schools will free all student sections, while others may have some sections available at a reduced price or covered through student fees. 

Student Section at Appalachian State University vs UNC

No singular rule or policy applies to every school, but many schools allow a select number of students to attend games for free, while others pay smaller fees to get ticket access. 

Some schools, like USC, allow students to attend all sporting events for free, except football. This is because of high demand, so the school cannot afford to give tickets away without charging money. 

It also depends on the level of the program. For example, the SEC is arguably the biggest conference in college football, but not many students get tickets for free. At lower levels, the tickets are likely included. 

What Do Student Tickets Cost Per Game In College Football?

There is no universal policy in college football about student tickets. Each conference and school enforce different rules based on their stadium size, football team popularity, and revenues.

Below we have compiled two tables listing the student ticket prices for SEC schools and Big Ten schools. Every school does something different, but students get an advantage to attend games compared to the average fan. 

Texas AM Kyle Field vs Appalachian State

SEC Schools

Below are the estimates for student ticket season passes at every SEC school. These change every year, but based on recent reports, these are accurate estimates. 

TeamStudent Season Ticket PricePrice Per Game
Texas A&M$290$41
Ole Miss$150$21
Mississippi State$50$7
South CarolinaFree (Included w/ tuition)N/A
VanderbiltFree (Included w/ tuition)N/A

Big Ten

The Big Ten is similar for students, with lots of friendly pricing for students. The goal is to get the student section full for each game, so tickets must be affordable too. 

TeamStudent Season Ticket PricePrice Per Game
Ohio State$252$36
Penn State$231$33
Michigan State$182$26

How Do Students Afford Tickets To College Football Games?

Unfortunately, not all students can get their hands on season ticket passes. There is a limited number at each school, especially the Big Ten and SEC schools with larger enrollments. 

Students who miss out can still try to buy single-game passes, but they won’t be as cheap. Many people wonder how students can afford to attend games when tickets get sold out and resell for 3-4 times the original price. 

Most schools offer discounted single-game passes to students too. But these also quickly sell out, especially for the more important games against in-state rivals. 

Do Colleges Offer Free Tickets To Other Sporting Events Too? 

Football is a primary revenue driver in conferences like the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, PAC 12, and ACC. This is a key component of the athletic budgets at these major schools, and ticket revenue is critical too. 

basketball game Appalachian State University 1

Because of this, many schools still charge a small fee for students to go to games, and regular tickets for alumni and fans are also much higher. However, students typically get free access to sporting events like soccer, lacrosse, and sometimes baseball because the ticket demand is lower. 

If college football teams handed out free tickets to every student, they would lose a lot of ticket revenue since they sell out stadiums of 50,000-100,000 people. 

How Do You Get Student Tickets To College Football Games?

Every school is different, but generally, to get student tickets, we’ll need our school ID. At smaller schools, we don’t even need to buy tickets. Instead, we can attend the game, show our school ID, and get let inside for free.

Outside of the top 50-75 schools, this is a standard policy for college football programs with low attendance numbers. For example, this is how the University Of Rhode Island lets students attend their football games. 

Students on Miller HIll at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone North Carolina
(Students on Miller Hill at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina)

The process is more complicated for students at schools like Michigan and Ohio State. We must log in to our student accounts online and sign up for the student ticket release. It’s usually a lottery system, and students can get access to purchase tickets for a set period. 

If we fail to buy them during that window, we lose access, and they are granted to another student. It’s best to check with the school’s athletics department to determine how they sell their student ticket season passes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Many of the top programs in college football do not give out tickets for free to students. However, the fee per game is small and costs less than $50 for a ticket. 
  • Texas A&M charges the most for students to attend games. It costs $290 for the season or about $41 per game. 
  • Ohio State is similar in the Big Ten, charging $252 for a student season ticket pass. This equals $36 per game. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *