College serves as a gateway to adulthood, providing students with freedom from parental supervision, often for the first time. For many learners, college marks a students first opportunity to live alone and make adult decisions on everything from furnishing a dorm room to choices about alcohol. Drinking can be a rite of passage for many college students, even underage undergrads; it's common to find alcohol on college campuses across the nation. A 2015 study by the National Survey on Drug Use Health found that 58% of college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol.
The consequences of college drinking can be fatal -- researchers with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that every year, approximately 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related injuries. Many college students decide to attend "dry" campuses, which prohibit students from having or consuming alcohol anywhere on campus, including in dorms or at college events.
Students may opt for a dry campus due to religious reasons, because they battle addiction, or simply to avoid the college party scene. We picked 25 of the top dry campuses in the nation, which implement a range of alcohol policies. Many are Christian school campuses, which ban alcohol consumption on- and off-campus. Other colleges on this list advocate for moderation, and have designated substance-free housing options for students.
What Are The Best Dry College Campuses?
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University provides a private education based in Provo, Utah that subscribes to the principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Students and faculty at all BYU campuses, including locations in Hawaii and Idaho, pledge to uphold the honor code by abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeinated beverages. The honor code also requires students and faculty to regularly attend church and conduct themselves with honesty, chastity, and respect.
This alcohol-free campus offers its 30,693 undergraduate students opportunities for fun and service work through more than 300 student organizations. The on-campus BYU Bowling and Games Center provides an arcade and weekly bowling league for students, and BYU Outdoors Unlimited rents equipment to students for mountain biking, backpacking, skiing, or hiking. BYU's event calendar also features daily devotionals. Students enjoy a safe campus life, according to the ED.
Wheaton College, a private Christian school with 2,391 undergraduate students, strives to provide "Christ-centered liberal arts" education. The school asks students to refrain from alcohol consumption, and the community covenant also prohibits the use of tobacco or alcohol at any college events.
Founded in 1860, Wheaton promotes serving God and benefiting the community. Students keep active through Wheaton's academic, cultural, advocacy, and performance clubs. The college also fosters students' spiritual lives through programs at Edman Chapel, three times each week.
Wheaton encourages students to do national and international service work. The college maintains relationships with more than 40 national and international partners, where students can serve. From mentoring youth to speaking with international Christian leaders, students have opportunities to serve through student-run ministries. Overall, Wheaton provides a well-rounded and happy environment, with a 93% freshman retention rate, according to the ED.
Baptist College of Florida
The Baptist College of Florida provides a private education to its 427 undergraduates, with an emphasis on training future Christian leaders. BCF began in 1943, in a Sunday school room at the Lakeland First Baptist Church. BCF currently operates under the Florida Baptist State Convention.
As a devout Christian school, the college does not allow alcohol consumption, vaping, or other tobacco use. The student handbook also advises students not to visit bars or other venues with alcohol. Baptist College of Florida offers 23 associate, bachelor's, and master's programs, including Christian studies, ministry, biblical studies, and leadership/Christian education. The faculty also provides student mentorship, boasting a student-to-teacher ratio of 9-to-1, according to the ED.
Outside of classes, students attend services and special programs at the Robert G. Lee Chapel, which opened in 1958. The Baptist Collegiate Ministry also organizes functions on campus, such as movie marathons, blood drives, cook-offs, and recitals.
Toccoa Falls College
|Toccoa Falls, GA||
Toccoa Falls College, founded in 1907, sits in the foothills of Georgia. It offers a Christian liberal arts education, focusing on student development "personally and professionally for service." Taking its name from the nearby 186-foot Toccoa Falls, this college, as outlined in its student handbook, expects students to refrain from alcohol.
More than 1,200 undergraduate students receive a Christ-centered education at Toccoa Falls College, which offers 34 majors and 41 minors. Spiritual education remains an important component of the college's mission. Grace Chapel & Performing Arts Center offers worship combined with the arts.
The wooded campus also offers a safe environment for students, reporting no criminal offenses on-campus from 2014 to 2016, according to the ED. The rural location also provides ample outdoor activities, including rock climbing and rafting. Outdoorsy students join the outdoor club, one of 18 student organizations on campus.
|Grand Rapids, MI||
Calvin College, founded in 1876, provides undergraduate and graduate students with theological training and more than 100 majors and minors. Calvin College, with an undergraduate population of 3,840, offers a 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.
Freshman students take the four-year Calvin LifeWork program, which teaches leadership development, career coaching, vocational training, and various life skills. The program also provides students with a $3,000 scholarship in their fourth year. The program intends to prepare students for post-college life.
The college also provides students with opportunities to train abroad in Ghana or China through more than 40 off-campus programs. Students stay active, with 780 student organizations available. The chapel offers 192 services annually, and remains a cornerstone of student life. As a Christian school, Calvin College prohibits possession of alcohol on campus, encouraging students to "make conscious choices that do not diminish [the] Christian community" by using moderation or restraint when consuming alcohol.
Thomas Aquinas College
|Santa Paula, CA||
Thomas Aquinas College, a private institution of 369 undergraduate students, offers a unique four-year education with no majors, specializations, or minors. All students at the college earn a bachelor's degree in liberal arts.
Founded in 1971, students at Thomas Aquinas College study the writings of philosophy, poetry, science, theology, history, and mathematics. Without textbooks or lectures, students learn through laboratories and seminars.
The college follows the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic church, and expects students to follow a code of conduct, which includes abstaining from on-campus alcohol use. Some campus social functions serve alcohol to students of legal age. Otherwise, alcohol possession on-campus can result in expulsion.
Much of campus life revolves around church services at Our Lady of Most Holy Trinity Chapel, which offers mass four times daily. Chaplains, who live on campus, are also available to students. On the weekends, students enjoy dances, concerts, and trips to Los Angeles.
|Milligan College, TN||
Founded in 1866, Milligan College offers a private Christian education in northeastern Tennessee, on a 235-acre campus that promotes students to be "thinking and acting Christians." The college, according to the student handbook, does not permit the use or possession of alcohol on campus.
With 1,171 undergraduate students, Milligan College requires students to attend the Spiritual Formation Program. The program requires students to earn 150 credits through community service, devotional breakfasts, chapel, lectures, and ministry programs.
The college offers more than 100 majors, concentrations, minors, adult degrees, and graduate programs. Service remains a key part of the college experience, with the LINC Volunteer Center providing opportunities to work in nearby communities. The college also maintains partnerships with local churches which welcome student fellowship and service. Student groups also head off-campus to ski, fish, hike, and raft. On Sundays, students attend student-led vespers at the Seeger Memorial Chapel, which opened in 1967.
Founded in 1935, Corban University's 50 online and on-campus programs blend Christian teachings with academic instruction. The college began as a Bible school. Though the name and location changed with time, its emphasis on a religious campus life, which prohibits alcohol, remains the same.
Corban students cannot use or possess alcohol or nicotine products on campus, according to the student handbook. However, Corban recognizes that scripture shows some "positive interactions with alcohol," though it "condemns drunkenness." Therefore, the college does not prohibit students of legal age from using tobacco or alcohol products.
The whole Corban community holds chapel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Psalm Center, which also releases podcasts. On college breaks, many students take religious trips, such as the Breakaway retreat. The retreat takes place on the Oregon coast, and students wanting to work with missionaries across the world participate in the summer of service. To channel their creativity, students head to the barn for woodshop classes or to hold discussions.
Located in Wilmore, Kentucky, Asbury University provides a private education that follows the Wesleyan Holiness teachings. The college was established in 1890 and today boasts an undergraduate student population of 1,990, with a freshman retention rate of 85%, according to the ED.
Grounded in Christian worldview, Asbury offers more than 50 majors in subjects ranging from accounting to Christian ministry. Crime does occur on campus, but no liquor law arrests were reported from 2014 to 2016. Faculty and students cannot, under the college guidelines, bring drugs or alcohol on campus.
Asbury encourages all students to involve themselves in local churches. Students also worship at InReach Ministries. Service plays an important role in the Asbury experience. Through Spiritual Life, students can volunteer at Eastern State Mental Hospital, or visit veterans at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center. The Office of Intercultural Affairs also picks 12-15 students to work on intercultural events, such as campus movie nights, ethnic church worship, and festivals.
|La Mirada, CA||
Biola University, a private school in La Mirada, California, aims to teach its 6,172 undergraduate and graduate students to "think biblically about everything." The college offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degrees in subjects ranging from anthropology to worship arts. Students must take 30 units in theology and Bible classes, and may earn a minor in biblical and theology studies. In addition to on-campus programs, the college offers online and distance learning programs around the world.
Every semester, full-time students must attend 20 chapel services and five conference services. In the fall, the college offers the Torrey Memorial Bible Conference, and in the spring, the Missions Conference. Students interested in mission projects can join local or global ministries to participate. Biola University offers a relatively safe campus that reported no liquor law violations from 2014 to 2016, according to the ED. As a Christian college, Biola University maintains a drug- and alcohol-free campus.
|St. Paul, MN||
Founded in 1871, Bethel University integrates Christian principles into its curriculum. This private, four-year college teaches students from 48 Christian denominations.
Bethel University sits on a 247-acre lakeside campus in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with a seminary located in the same city. The campus enjoys a low crime rate, with no drug or liquor law violation arrests from 2014 to 2016, according to the ED. The school prohibits all students from using alcohol during the school year.
Bethel University, with 3,797 undergraduate students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. At the heart of campus sits the chapel, which hosts services on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and vespers on Sunday nights. At the core of the Bethel experience lies community service in the Twin Cities areas. Students also participate in Urbana, an international mission conference with more than 16,000 college student participants.
George Fox University
Founded in 1891, George Fox University provides a safe environment for its 4,076 undergraduate students to deepen their faith, serve, and challenge themselves academically. The college prohibits undergraduate students from using alcohol while attending school.
George Fox's main campus sits in Newberg, Oregon, with additional locations in Portland, Salem, and Redmond. Students pick from more than 40 majors, including 13 master's and Ph.D. degrees. The college also has six seminary degrees, plus online classes.
George Fox University fosters a culture of stewardship through Serve Day, a day in the fall semester dedicated to volunteer work in the community. During spring and summer breaks, students may serve on domestic or international SpIL trips. They also strengthen their spiritual journey on campus by attending chapel services and group prayer sessions.
|Virginia Beach, VA||
Regent University, a Christian school in Virginia Beach, delivers on founder M.G. Pat Robertson's 1977 vision to educate students to become impactful Christian leaders.
Regent sits on a 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, offering more than 132 online and on-campus programs. More than 9,488 students attend Regent, and have several opportunities to become involved in the spiritual community on campus. Student clubs offer fellowship opportunities through more than 50 organizations. Citing the Bible's reference to a sober mind and sound judgement, Regent College calls on students and faculty in its Standard of Conduct for Students not to use alcohol or other addictive substances.
To ensure the happiness of its students, Regent offers a Center for Student Happiness, with tutoring services, webinars, and other resources to help students excel in leadership and their studies. According to the ED, the campus has a retention rate of 78% for full-time freshmen.
Brandman University, a private college, primarily educates working professional students and other nontraditional students through online, hybrid, and traditional classes at more than 25 campuses in California and Washington. Established in 1958 by Chapman University, Brandman's main campus sits in Irvine, California, and hosts 7,812 students.
Brandman, while not an alcohol-free campus, maintains strict policies prohibiting alcohol consumption in campus residences around underage people. The college also prohibits the use of kegs and beer bongs. The college campus offers a safe environment, where no arrests or criminal offenses occurred from 2014 to 2016, according to the ED.
Brandman offers more than 80 academic programs, taught by faculty who also work in their respective fields. Many students attend online classes. The college also offers online information sessions. Curriculum follows the Instruction Design for Engaged Adult Learning model, or iDEAL, tailored to engage learners who are working professionals.
|Mount Vernon, IA||
Established in 1853, Cornell College made history in 1858 as the first college west of the Mississippi to grant a degree to a woman, Mary Fellows. The college continues to provide a unique teaching experience with its "One Course At A Time" curriculum, which lets students focus on one discipline for three weeks. According to ED data, the school maintains a freshman retention rate of 81%. While not an alcohol-free campus, Cornell College offers alcohol-free residences where students cannot drink or have alcohol.
Cornell offers more than 40 majors and pre-professional programs. Off-campus, the city of Mount Vernon offers shopping, dining, and art festivals. On-campus, students can pick from more than 100 clubs and organizations, including the Geology Club and Black Awareness Cultural Organization. Students also give back through alternative break service projects, or volunteer with the Iowa College AmeriCorps program.
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
Founded in 1912, Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences offers a specialized, Christian-focused education in healthcare, with a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol and drugs. Students cannot be under the influence of alcohol on campus, according to the BCHS student handbook. The college, which has 1,075 undergraduate students, offers a student-to-teacher ratio of 10-to-1, and partners with Baptist Memorial Health Care to provide a learning laboratory where students can get hands-on work experience.
Across healthcare programs, from nursing to radiation therapy, students collaborate through interprofessional education. Campus environments integrate faith into their communities, as well -- for example, students may join Brothers and Sister in Christ, one of 10 recognized student clubs. The campus enriches the learning experience by holding events throughout the year, including movie nights, Octoberween, Spring Fling, and a family day.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University does not enforce a dry campus policy, but students can opt to live in substance-free housing units. Founded in 1932, the private university teaches approximately 3,000 students on-campus, with more than 90,000 taking online classes. The school's suburban Manchester location offers a relatively safe environment, according to statistics from the ED.
The college features more than 300 degrees administered online and on-campus.
More than 70 student clubs appeal to a variety of interests, and through the Office of Diversity Programs, students may also access inclusion and cultural awareness events, such as a Native American Pow-Wow, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Day of Pride, and Annual Sunday Soul Food Dinner.
North Carolina Wesleyan College
|Rocky Mount, NC||
Founded in 1956 by the United Methodist Church, North Carolina Wesleyan College, a private college, maintains its Judeo-Christian traditions, but teaches students of many different religious backgrounds through a curriculum that integrates "intellect, emotion, and spirit."
At the center of campus sits the Leon Russell Chapel for group or personal prayer. The chaplain also arranges retreats and small Bible study groups. Keeping with the college's Christian heritage, all NC Wesleyan College events prohibit alcohol. NC Wesleyan College offers nine satellite campuses, plus online courses. With 2,093 undergraduates, the college aims to foster "close and personal relationships." NC Wesleyan College has a student-to-teacher ratio of 16-to-1.
The campus, set in Rocky Mount, maintains its relationship with the community through programs like the Shelton leadership challenge and youth theology leadership. Student clubs, such as the women's club, Sisters of Distinction, and LGBT club, SAFE, also create a sense of community for the diverse student body.
|West Haven, UT||
Stevens-Henager has multiple locations, including Boise, Idaho: Salt Lake City, Utah; and Ogden, Utah. This private, nonprofit institution does not allow the consumption or possession of alcohol at any campus events. Students found with any drugs or alcohol in their possession while on campus could face suspension, expulsion, or a lesser sanction.
The main campus is located in Ogden, Utah, and though the state is not considered "dry," it is certainly more difficult for students to get their hands on beverages that contain high levels of alcohol, as items above 4.0% ABV can only be sold through state-run liquor stores.
Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington, a public college with 3,503 undergraduate students, offers a diverse campus setting located about 15 miles north of Philadelphia. According to its Student Guide, Penn State Abington prohibits the use or possession of alcohol in any of its on-campus undergraduate residences, even for students ages 21 and older. The campus maintains a safe environment, with no criminal offenses or arrests documented from 2014 to 2016, according to the ED.
Penn State Abington opens its doors to the local community, providing resources through the Abington Center for Civic Engagement Scholarship. It also uses the makerspace at Abington Innovation Center. The college offers a diverse ethnic makeup, including 48% white, 17% Asian, 14% African American, 10% Hispanic, 1% Pacific Islander, and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native, according to the ED. Students also come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, with 40% of them receiving low-income Pell grant funding.
St. Johns River State College
|Orange Park, FL||
St. Johns River State College, called the "community's college," has been educating and training students in Northeast Florida since 1958, offering associate and bachelor's degrees on campus and online.
The main campus in Palatka teaches 7,249 undergraduate students, and the college also features two additional campuses in Orange Park and St. Augustine. SJR State's campuses provided a safe learning environment, according to crime rates documented by the ED. The college also prohibits drinking alcohol on campus, aside from at college-sponsored events, according to its alcohol and drug policy.
Throughout the year, St. Johns River State College provides outreach to students at local middle and high schools, plus working professionals pursuing a college degree. Both students and nonstudents may take noncredit recreation and online continuing education classes, including yoga, Spanish, Zumba, and art history. More classes are available at the community education office.
Liberty University, founded in 1971 by late Baptist minister Jerry Falwell, offers a private education with a Christian foundation. Located in central Virginia, Liberty University maintains a "dry" campus, prohibiting the consumption of alcohol by students both on and off campus. The main campus in Lynchburg boasts a student population of 75,044, according to the ED. Liberty University offers a range of programs from 17 different schools and colleges, plus an additional 349 online programs.
Students attend worship services on Wednesdays through the campus community in the School of Music Concert Hall. Those who miss the services and Convocation -- offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays -- can watch the archived videos. The college also emphasizes on- and off-campus recreation through more than 100 student-run clubs, recreation centers, and outings offered by the Liberty University Outdoor Recreation department.
Iowa State University
At the center of Ames town sits Iowa State University, a public land grant institution founded in 1858 on a 648-acre farm. Today this large university boasts a student population of 36,158, offering 10 schools and 100 majors. Iowa State University does not enforce a dry campus policy, but students who want to live in an alcohol-free environment may opt for substance-free housing, which prohibits all alcohol and tobacco use. The college removes and relocates students who violate this policy.
Campus life largely revolves around Iowa State University sporting events, and activities offered through more than 850 student organizations. Students may also participate in Greek life, with 60 fraternities and sororities to choose from. Student government offers even more opportunities for on-campus involvement. Students may take
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma offers a public education at an institution founded in 1890 in Norman, Oklahoma. OU boasts a total student population of 28,527 at its main campus, and more students attend classes at the university's three satellite campuses. The college offers study abroad opportunities in Mexico, Brazil, and Italy. Students can pick from 170 majors, including African and African-American studies and women and gender studies. OU maintains an above-average 92% retention rate for freshmen.
Outside of the classroom, students participate in more than 500 student organizations. Approximately 27% of students join one of the university's 58 fraternities and sororities. OU, despite its lively greek life, maintains "dry" fraternities, sororities, and residence halls. OU follows a "three strikes" policy, suspending students who receive three alcohol violations. Fraternity and sorority recruitment events must be alcohol-free, as well.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University, with an undergraduate student population of 49,556, enforces a dry campus policy. The university's main campus sits in Phoenix, with an additional campus in Sun City. This private, Christian college dates back to 1949, and prohibits students from drinking or possessing alcohol on campus. Even when the GCU Arena serves alcohol, students cannot purchase it.
Initially founded as a Baptist college, GCU now acts as an interdenominational Christian university. GCU offers traditional and online undergraduate and graduate degrees from nine colleges. Students can choose to attend evening classes or pursue hybrid degrees, combining online learning elements with on-campus ones.
To help students grow spiritually, GCU holds weekly chapel services and Bible studies during the school year. Students may also view chapel services on YouTube. Students gather in small prayer groups, also known as life groups, and participate in stewardship, which remains a cornerstone of the GCU experience. The GCU Department of Spiritual Life organizes local outreach programs, and the school offers opportunities for global outreach, as well.