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From the popularity of binge drinking to the immense pressure to fit in with one’s peers, each year, college students across the country find themselves forming drinking habits that can be harmful to both their physical and mental health. And given that 31% of college students report symptoms of alcohol abuse, alcohol use among this young, impressionable population is not a subject we at Oxford Treatment Center take lightly.
While some colleges are more likely to be associated with drug and alcohol abuse than others, earning a ‘party school’ reputation, we were curious to learn which universities across the country really have the worst alcohol problems. After all, the first step to finding a solution to alcohol abuse on college campuses is acknowledging the problem.
With this in mind, we looked at the number of alcohol offenses on college campuses across the country, including both violations and arrests, to determine which colleges have the most pervasive alcohol problems. Interested in our findings and methodology? Read on.
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We first looked into the colleges with the most alcohol offenses based on 2017 figures – the most recent available data. With nearly 2,900 total alcohol offenses, Purdue University-Indianapolis has more alcohol offenses than any other college in the country, followed by Ohio State University (2,000 offenses). Interestingly, these are just two of the eleven Midwestern universities that are among the twenty-five colleges with the most alcohol offenses, making the Midwest the region with the greatest number of college alcohol offenses.
In regards to other schools that made the list, two reputable New York schools, New York University and Syracuse University, as well as two large California state schools (the University of California- Santa Cruz and the University of California- San Diego) made the list. The University of Southern California, which is one of the 25 best colleges in the country, was also among the universities with the greatest number of alcohol offenses.
As for the colleges with the greatest number of alcohol offenses per 10,000 students, Coastal Carolina University tops the list. Located in Myrtle Beach (SC), the university sees over 1,000 alcohol offenses for every 10,000 students. Following closely behind is Boston College (999 offenses), and Purdue University (Indianapolis), as it was the college with the most overall alcohol offenses.
The change a university sees in alcohol offenses committed over time is perhaps even more telling than the sheer number of offenses associated with the school in a single year.
With this in mind, we decided to determine which schools have seen the greatest increases in alcohol offenses in recent years (from 2015 to 2017).
We found that Fox Valley Technical College of Appleton Wisconsin has experienced a 4,107% increase in alcohol offenses over this three-year span. Another Midwestern school, Columbia College of Missouri, saw the second-greatest increase (nearly 1,400%) in alcohol offenses.
San Diego State University (669.2%), Lamar University (622.1%), and CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College (609.8%) are among the other schools that have seen some of the most substantial increases in alcohol offenses from 2015 to 2017.
Given that Purdue University-Indianapolis and Ohio State University are the colleges with the highest and second-highest number of alcohol offenses, it only makes sense that they also have more alcohol-related offenses per school day than any other schools in the country: 19 and 13, respectively.
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and The University of Wisconsin-Madison are among the other Midwestern schools with the highest number of high alcohol offenses per school. In the Eastern part of the country, Pennsylvania State University, West Virginia University, Boston College, Coastal Carolina University, Syracuse, and New York University – which have anywhere between 7 and 12 (depending on the university) alcohol-related offenses per school day – also top the list.
We used the U.S. Department of Education data on the number of alcohol-related arrests and disciplinary actions associated with each college for 2015, 2016, and 2017. The basis of our rankings is the 2017 figures (the most recent available data). We included all colleges with a student enrollment of 10,000 students or more in 2017.
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