Bluto and Stifler would be flabbergasted.
Fewer college freshmen are drinking beer. A lot fewer.
The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute reports in a new survey that 33.4 percent of freshmen had beer frequently or occasionally in the past year. That compares with 41.2 percent five years ago, and it’s well below the peak of 75.1 percent in 1982 when the drinking age was lower.
Binge drinking and wild parties — glorified in such movies as Animal House and American Pie — were rights of passage for many college students. And many still revel when their school hits Princeton Review’s ranking of the top partying schools. But the shine apparently is waning for freshman, who nowadays aren't even old enough to drink beer legally.
The reason just might be the moribund economy.
Freshman are more focused on picking the right college to get the right job and make more money, according to the American Freshman: National Norms 2012 survey, which has been conducted annually since 1966.
“Students have figured out that increased lifetime earnings result from a college education,” institute Director Sylvia Hurtado said. “It is important to continue to encourage a long-term view of the benefits of college in this recovering economy.”
The 2012 survey is based on the responses of 192,912 first-time, full-time students entering 283 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S.
Other beer-related results from the survey include:
• Freshman at private colleges are more likely to drink beer (35.7 percent) than those at a public college (28 percent). The same holds true for private universities (37.4 percent) vs. public universities (34.9 percent).
• More freshman attending nonsecular private colleges drank beer (42.2 percent) than those at Catholic (38.4 percent) and other religious colleges (27.5 percent).
• Freshman at black colleges and universities were the least likely to drink beer (12.7 percent).
The Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute was encouraged by the drop in freshman drinking.
“Brewers and beer importers make serious efforts to reach out to educators, retailers, law enforcement and community leaders to reduce underage drinking,” institute President Joe McClain said. “While we recognize there is more work to be done to eliminate underage drinking, today we have a record number of college freshmen who are making the right choices about drinking. We are encouraged by this reduction, and America’s brewers and beer importers will continue to build upon this success through programs that will further reduce the harmful use of alcohol.”