Student Loans Help Pay for the Beer and Bikinis of Spring Break

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Have you ever wondered how cash-strapped college students manage to pay for those spring break trips to sunnier climes? After all, plane tickets, lodging, meals, adult beverages — all these cost money and that is commonly thought to be in short supply among college students.

Website LendEDU, a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinancing, wondered about that question as well, so it conducted a survey of 500 current college students who plan to go on a spring break trip this year and who also have some amount of outstanding student debt.

Nearly a third (30.6%) of college students with outstanding student loans say they are using funds provided by student loans to help pay for their spring break trips this year. The researchers calculated that of some 7.8 million U.S. college students planning a spring break trip this year, nearly 2.4 million will be paying for that trip with money provided by student loans.

LendEDU researchers were alarmed and frustrated:

Considering the severity of the student loan crisis in the United States right now, this number is severely disappointing. In a previous study, LendEDU found that 49.80% of college students incorrectly believed the government would forgive their federal student loan balance. This means that a number of college students are using government money to pay for spring break and are fully expecting the government to forgive their lavish expenditures. In another study, 51.20% of parents that cosigned on their child’s student loan said their retirement has been put in jeopardy due to late payments made by their child. Many students are hamstringing their parent’s ability to retire because they are using their student loan money to pay for an island adventure.

The study also revealed other expenses that students use loan money to cover:

  • Nearly a quarter (23.80%) of respondents stated that they have used money received from student loans to pay for drinking some type of alcohol. This answer also included spending money at bars.
  • A third (33.40%) of students answered that they have used money received from student loans to pay for clothing and other accessories.
  • Similarly, the same amount (33.40%) of students said that they have used money received from student loans to pay for restaurants and take-out.
  • 6.60% of respondents responded saying that they have used money received from student loans to pay for drugs.
  • Finally, 5.60% of students that participated in our survey stated that they used money received from student loans on gambling or sports betting.

Full methodology and more details are available here.