College prices continue to rise and part-time jobs favored by students are hard to find thanks to the still-struggling economy. Some co-eds are seeking “arrangements” with wealthy, mostly older men to help foot their tuition bills and living expenses.
While hardly a newfound trend, sugar daddies—who are generally older men that seek companionship from younger women in exchange for gifts, vacations, and yes, money—are gaining media attention thanks to matchmaking websites that pair sugar daddies with women who are seeking “mutually beneficial relationships.” These young women, known as sugar babies, are often college students with school-related expenses and other bills.
Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for the sugar-pairing website SeekingArrangement.com, told ABC News that the site has over 2 million members and 44% are college students. Velasquez pointed out that it’s “very difficult” to keep a full or even part-time job while you are in school. “Tuition costs and costs of living have increased and people are finding alternative ways of funding a college education, in this case becoming a sugar baby,” he said.
Brandon Wade, founder of SeekingArrangement, claims the site saw a 58% increase in the number of co-ed signups in 2012. According to Business Insider Wade blames continually rising college tuition for the growth in the number of college students clamoring for memberships. (Anyone who joins the site with a valid .edu email address also receives a free premium membership.)
“College should be an opportunity to expand the mind and experience new things,” he said in a press release. “Unfortunately, because of the of recent tuition hikes, the college experience has become greatly unbalanced.”
A SeekingArrangement spokesperson told NBC4 Los Angeles that Southern California is a huge market and LA is a “sugar daddy capital.” The news station reports that sugar babies receive an average of $3,000 per month for relationships that often involve much more than companionship.
It’s not surprising that a lot of people compare these arrangements to prostitution, but others refer to them as business agreements. Many even call it dating with benefits. More and more female students who wish to avoid taking on student loan debt are turning to sites like SeekingArrangment, but things are often not as glamorous as they initially sound.
One student/sugar baby told The Huffington Post “I never thought it would come to this. I got on the train and I felt dirty,” when describing an “encounter” with a man she met online. “I guess I accomplished what I needed to do. I needed the money for school. I just did what needed to be done.”
Young women interviewed for the story told Huff Post that they hide their “arrangements” from friends and family for fear of the stigma associated with their decision. Another “con” pointed out by the article? For students who only plan on being sugar babies during college, “it can be difficult to stop doing it and suddenly transition into a normal job or date men without as many resources.”
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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