Our National Student Survey showed not only low alcohol, smoking and drug consumption levels but also an almost €1.7 billion contribution to Ireland's economy...

The negative stereotype of the student who spends all their time smoking, drinking, taking drugs and sleeping around is exactly that – according to the newest research from the National Student Survey.

Less smoking, drinking and (probably) fighting…

In the nationwide survey of 4583 students in Ireland conducted by Campus.ie, a startling 70% of students are not regular smokers and only 15% who do smoke do so socially.

Similarly, over fifty per cent (51%) say that they only drink between 1-6 drinks a week, with 10% saying that they do not drink at all. Of those who do drink, 80% of students are under the weekly maximum recommended by the Health Service Executive (up to 11 for women and up to 17 for men).

Furthermore, the majority of students surveyed (59%) said they only go out to a nightclub, bar or house party once a week, with 23% saying they do not go out to these events at all.

In terms of drug use, almost 60 per cent (58%) of the over 4,500 students surveyed say they have never taken drugs, with 30% saying they have tried marijuana and 7% having tried ecstasy.

Staying healthy between the sheets

Additionally, over a fifth (21%) of students say they are not sexually active, with 22% saying they have had only 1 sexual partner and a third saying they have had between 2 and 5 sexual partners. Of those who did say they are sexually active, only 3% admit that they do not use contraception. However, 75% of those surveyed said that they either use condoms (48%), the contraceptive pill (24%) or the contraceptive implant (3%).

Course uncertainty prevails

Although students may be lowering their health risks, a striking 45% have either considered dropping out of their college course or actually have, with the most popular reasons given being that they didn’t like the course (19%), stress (9%) or mental health (5%).

Financial dependence on parents

The research also revealed an evident economic reliance on parents, with 39% depending on their family to support them financially while in college, while 25% of students said they have a grant, with 18% saying that they have to work to support themselves. Those who do work an average of 12.6 hours a week.                                                                             

It’s an expensive life…

The National Student Survey also found some surprising results of the average student’s expenditure. Of the students who did drink, they spent an average of  €22.13 on alcohol on a night out. Although a third of students do not rent accommodation, those who do spend on average €315.20 a month on rent costs.

Transportation proved a significant expense, coming in at an average cost of €23.90 a week (€95.60 a month). The students surveyed also spent an average of €579.20 on their laptops, although 4% of students surveyed said that they do not own one. Although a quarter of students said their shopping was done by their parents, those who did their own said they spent an average of €33.63 a week.

By using the results of the survey and adding in the student service charge of €2000, it is estimated that the average cost of a student for the nine months of college is approximately €8283.76 per student.

According to the Central Statistics Office there were 200,160 third level students registered in 2013, signifying that they are contributing almost €1.7 billion (€1,658,077,402) to the economy.