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.



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

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Advice for Recent College Grads

Prepare yourself for the "real world".

View Course »

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

8 Comments

Filter by:
imworkinrightnow

I'd like to see those numbers after you put taxes into that equation!

September 05 2010 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fallinsky

Yeah, college is CHEAP! It's just all this drinking you're doing! Stop the drinking,work 10.5 hours a week and its FREE! BUT make sure you never study logic otherwise you'll find all the holes in this article.

September 05 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BIG JOHNNY Z

Yeh, but that would have been a real boring college career.

September 05 2010 at 7:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
wambajcy1

$500 per year! are you kidding me, where did you come up with that number? is hard to belive that average collage student only spends $9.61 per week on alcohol....

September 05 2010 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wambajcy1's comment
zepmet01

well the majority are in school for 3 quarters of the year which bumps the average per week to about $13.00 which sounds about right. You can go to two house party's and buy a cup for a 1.00 and still have enough left over to buy an 18 pack of 'delicious' Miller High Life. It's not like these guys are going to the bars and drinking Grey Goose, Silver Patron, and Maker's Mark.

September 05 2010 at 4:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
zepmet01

Require students to work a minimum of ten hours per week and maintain an average GPA in order to receive government loans. If they have time to drink after meeting those contingencies then drink away. Otherwise, fund your own education or get a private loan.

September 05 2010 at 4:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lazyh

If you include the cost of recreational drugs, approximately 25% of money spent by the average college student is used to get high, not to get an education.

September 05 2010 at 2:51 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
stubit586

Excellent article, with facts and numbers. The student's school performance would likely improve as well with less drinking.

September 05 2010 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply