Tuition Fees Include: Classes, Books, and Tanning

A UMass Medical study found that some top universities are offering students 'tanning services.'

Tanning bed image via shutterstock

Tanning bed image via shutterstock

Welcome to campus! Your tuition includes housing, books, and the local on-campus tanning salon.

No, that’s not the plot of a ’90s 90210 re-run. It’s real life, circa now. In a new study, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers found that a whopping 48 percent of the top 125 universities ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2013 have indoor tanning facilities either on campus or in off-campus housing. Indoor tanning was available on campus in 12 percent of the colleges reviewed and in off-campus housing in 42.4 percent of the universities.

Apparently, looking like an Oompa Loompa is still a thing even after the Jersey Shore finally got canceled.

Dr. Sherry Pagoto, an associate professor of medicine and principal investigator of the study, told Good Morning America that some schools actually allow students to pay for tanning with campus cash cards. “In 14 percent of colleges, the campus cash cards that students can use to make purchases for food and books were able to be used to pay for tanning at local salons,” Pagoto said on the show.

The research was published online in the journal JAMA Dermatology

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 76,100 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2014. The study’s researchers say that indoor tanning is still widespread among young adults in the U.S., even though the evidence that it’s linked to skin cancer has been widely publicized.

Fortunately, the Northeast is not a prime offender. That insidious honor goes to the Midwest. The study states that colleges there had the highest prevalence of indoor tanning on campus (26.9 percent). Southern schools had the highest prevalence of indoor tanning in off-campus housing facilities (67.7 percent). Seriously? Go outside, people (while wearing SPF), you live in the South! Also, 96 percent of those off-campus facilities were found to be free to tenants.

We get it, you’re in college and think that being tan makes you look better. But when those 20-something tan sessions turn into 30-something wrinkles—or worse—you’ll regret your days of indoor and outdoor sun worship.