Alcohol and College: How Much Money Are Students Really Drinking?

Alcohol and College: How Much Money Are Students Really Drinking?
Alcohol and College: How Much Money Are Students Really Drinking?

The average college student spends $500 per year on alcohol, according to Rachel Barrington of the University of Wisconsin.

With the average student taking five years to graduate and borrowing about $23,000 in the process, that means that more than 10% of all college loans are actually used to finance alcohol consumption.


The average undergrad is also drunk for 10.6 hours a week. If instead of being drunk, they spent that 10.6 hours working and taking home $8 per hour (after taxes and deductions), they would have $4,409.60 per year. Over the course of five years, that's $22,048.

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Add those two sources of savings together and you find out that, on average, if college students didn't drink they could leave with $1,548 in cash instead of $23,000 in debt.

When you look at it like that, it sounds like we might not even have a college affordability problem. We have a college drinking problem.

Zac Bissonnette'sDebt-Free U: How I Paid For An Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, Or Mooching Off My Parentswas called "best and most troubling book ever about the college admissions process" by The Washington Post.