British undergrads these days are suspiciously sober, and pub owners think they know the culprit. It’s tuition. The British government decided two years ago to let universities raise tuition fees. Confronted by tighter budgets and poorer post-graduation job prospects, students have traded beers for books. But that increase was nothing next to the average cost of attending college in the U.S. this year: $18,391 for public and $40,917 for private, according to the College Board. Even adjusting for inflation, that’s a roughly $5,000 and $8,000 hike, respectively, from a decade ago, and, at this point, some schools are pretty much tacking on an extra $1,000 to their tuition each year. In fact, American co-eds are also slightly less besotted than they used to be. According to the ongoing research, alcohol consumption rates for college students have been decreasing slowly but steadily for the past three decades. But here’s the thing: They haven’t been decreasing anywhere near as dramatically as the rates for people of the same age group who aren’t in college. In other words, young people are drinking less, and college students are drinking relatively more.
February 11, 2014