Top 25 Recipients of Student Activity Fees in BCS

Last Updated on April 27, 2011

Student Section at UCF Football Game

Last week I showed you the top recipients of student fees in the AQ conferences. That list changes dramatically when you consider non-AQ schools. Here are the top 25 recipients of student activity fees in the BCS based on dollar amount:

1University of Central Florida$17,466,918.0044%
2Ohio Univ$16,460,250.0069%
3Univ of Akron$16,199,911.0067%
4Florida Intl Univ$15,635,778.0071%
5Miami Univ (OH)$13,786,549.0053%
6University of South Florida$13,026,289.0033%
7University of Virginia$12,160,103.0015%
8Kent State$10,516,660.0054%
9East Carolina University$10,441,783.0032%
10San Diego State Univ$10,220,740.0031%
11Univ of Toledo$9,824,257.0049%
12Bowling Green$9,497,261.0050%
13Ball State Univ$9,221,400.0046%
14Florida Atlantic Univ$8,877,456.0055%
15University of Connecticut$8,626,506.0015%
16Rutgers University$8,441,092.0013%
17Northern Illinois Univ$8,333,419.0038%
18University of Memphis$7,666,067.0019%
19Univ of Buffalo$7,439,422.0029%
20Florida State University$6,919,449.009%
21University of North Carolina$6,859,868.009%
22Middle Tennessee State$6,848,065.0033%
23Virginia Tech$6,533,756.0010%
24Western Kentucky$6,437,652.0028%
25Univ of Southern Miss$6,056,608.0031%

Only six on the list come from AQ conferences and all are either from the ACC or Big East. It’s also interesting to note that five Florida schools and four Ohio schools are in the top 25, which I’ll discuss more below.

Perhaps more interesting than the dollar amount, which is certainly influenced by size of enrollment and amount of student activity fees charged per student, is which schools top the list in terms of the percent of total athletic department revenue being generated by student fees:

 SchoolStudent Fees% of Total Revenue
1Florida Intl Univ$15,635,778.0071%
2Ohio Univ$16,460,250.0069%
3Univ of Akron$16,199,911.0067%
4Florida Atlantic Univ$8,877,456.0055%
5Kent State$10,516,660.0054%
6Miami Univ (OH)$13,786,549.0053%
7Bowling Green$9,497,261.0050%
8Univ of Toledo$9,824,257.0049%
9Univ North Texas$5,007,059.0049%
10Ball State Univ$9,221,400.0046%
11University of Central Florida$17,466,918.0044%
12Northern Illinois Univ$8,333,419.0038%
13Univ Arkansas Little Rock$3,627,665.0038%
14Univ South Alabama$5,680,478.0035%
15University of South Florida$13,026,289.0033%
16Middle Tennessee State$6,848,065.0033%
17East Carolina University$10,441,783.0032%
18San Diego State Univ$10,220,740.0031%
19Univ of Southern Miss$6,056,608.0031%
20Arkansas State Univ$2,832,773.0030%
21Univ of Buffalo$7,439,422.0029%
22Western Kentucky$6,437,652.0028%
23San Jose State$4,683,122.0023%
24University of Memphis$7,666,067.0019%
25Utah State$3,700,874.0019%

Seven schools get at least half their budget from student fees, with students at Florida International providing more than 70% of the total revenue for the athletic department! If you expand the pool to schools receiving at least a third of their athletic department revenue from student fees, you’re up to sixteen schools. This time only one AQ school makes it onto the list: South Florida. While there’s certainly a trend in the non-AQ conferences for requiring student fees to fund athletics, there’s a definite pattern in Florida and Ohio.

I spoke with Brad Stricklin of University of Central Florida and asked why Florida schools might need to be more reliant on student fees than schools from other states. He pointed out that in Florida state funds can only be used for Title IX purposes. With regards to UCF’s appearance on both lists, Mr. Stricklin pointed out that UCF’s student fees are the fourth lowest per student in the state. He also explained how students are involved with the decision-making process on student fees. A committee of eleven members, six of which are students, decide how to allocate fees each October. Fees fall into three categories: health, athletics and student activities. The athletic department presents their needs to the committee, who then makes a recommendation that goes on to the Board of Trustees.

With UCF being such a young school, I would imagine student fees will be relied on less heavily in the future as their alumni base continues to grow.

On the whole, however, non-AQ schools are far more reliant on student fees to support the athletic department than the AQ schools. The average percentage of total athletic department revenue coming from student fees at AQ schools was 4 percent. By contrast, the average non-AQ school is relying on student fees for over 25% of their total revenue. In dollar values it’s a $2.3 million average in the AQ conferences compared to a $5.7 million average amongst non-AQ schools.

The bottom line is that the money to run the athletic department has to come from somewhere. Where do you think it should come from? How much of non-AQ’s reliance on student fees is a product of smaller conference distributions? Is there a direct correlation between football revenue and the need for student fees? We saw with the AQs that there certainly seemed to be a correlation.

I’ll post the numbers for each non-AQ school later today.


  • Kristi Dosh

    Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more

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