For years, the public has been sold a lie about how the skyrocketing burden of student debt in the US was caused by increasingly inflated tuition prices and the cost of living for students. However, a groundbreaking study by the US Department of Education has revealed the shocking truth: that 83% of the $1.53 trillion owed in student loan debt was used to finance Starbucks purchases while in college.  

With the average student debt at $35,000 and the cost of a Grande Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte at around $5, that means students are drinking roughly 3.98 Grande coffee beverages every day while earning a four year degree. With this level of consumption, it’s no mystery how graduate students, especially those studying law or medicine, can rack up debts in the $100,000 range. Graduate students were also found to be 57% more likely to drink Venti Salted Caramel Mochas with an extra shot, due to the progression of their caffeine addictions. 

“This is bigger than when the Department of Housing and Urban Development discovered that Millennials caused the housing market crash by getting avocado toast instead of paying their mortgages,” said Dr. Sally May, the head researcher of this report.

With the knowledge that this economic crisis is self-inflicted rather than a systemic issue, the Department of Education will continue to thwart any efforts of borrowers to join student loan forgiveness programs.

“Maybe if those students had taken part-time jobs as baristas, they’d have gotten those drinks for free and been able to work their way through college,” said Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, in response to the crowd of protesters that descended upon Washington following the release of these findings.

While cost-conscious students pinch pennies by surviving on ramen, renting used books, and applying for aid and scholarships, the astronomical price of a daily Peppermint White Mocha and Chocolate Cake Pop continues to present a challenge to stable economic futures. This is especially true for out-of state students, for whom the price of this absolute education necessity can be two to three times the price.  

“I know now that I shouldn’t have put all those Frappuccinos on my credit card and then took out a student loan to pay it down, but something needs to be done about this crisis,” said Ed Grant,  a senior Accounting major facing $45,000 in debt.