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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sugar Daddies give ‘financial aid’ to students in exchange for companionship

College tuition is higher than it has ever been and students are taking on jobs, student loans and sugar daddies to pick up the slack. That’s right, sugar daddies are now being marketed as a form of “financial aid.”

Websites like SeekingArrangement.com seek to create “mutually beneficial relationships” by providing a place for wealthy men and women known as sugar daddies and sugar mommas to connect with attractive, low-income sugar babies.

Sugar Baby University, part of SeekingArrangement.com, advertises an average monthly allowance of $3,000 to college students looking for tuition money and some UA students are taking the bait.

In its annual ranking of the fastest growing sugar baby schools, Sugar Baby University ranked ASU second and the UA 14th. The rankings are based on the number of new student sign-ups from each university in 2015. Last year, UA had 84 new sign-ups while ASU had 189.

Students who sign up for their sugar baby membership using a school email account, or who later submit proof of their enrollment in college, receive free premium memberships. Public relations manager Brook Urick said via email that this is how SeekingArrangement.com keeps track of unique university sign-ups.

SeekingArrangement.com has been around since 2006 and now has a reported 1.134 million student sugar babies in the U.S., according to the company’s 2016 Us press release.

The company’s basic business model is this: all sugar babies, male and female, get free basic membership, while sugar daddies and mommas must pay monthly fees.

“Sugar daddies can pay $70 a month for a premium membership or $200 a month for the diamond membership,” said Angela Bermudo, a member of Seeking Arrangement’s press.

Signing up for a membership is simple for people looking to become sugar babies. While Seeking Arrangement’s terms state that “you must be at least eighteen years old to register as a Member or use the Website. Membership in the Service is void where prohibited,” the website does not require any identification verifying age.

To become a full-fledged sugar baby, members must submit a photo or photos, a short biography and a description of the kind of arrangement they are looking for. These items are shown as pending until a website administrator approves of their content. Sugar babies must also enter stats including body type, height, birthday, whether they smoke or drink and their expected lifestyle (i.e. moderate, luxury, etc.).

Members are encouraged to use fake names online and administrators review these too. If a name appears to be real, administrators will replace letters in the last name with numbers.

Once a sugar baby profile is approved, it becomes visible to sugar daddies or mommas based on the preference of the sugar baby. Sugar babies can browse the sites of sugar daddies and/or mommas, and have the ability to favorite their pages and send free messages.

One sugar daddy profile claimed that the user had a net worth of $2 million and an annual income of $400,000. Sugar daddies and mommas are not required to enter their net worth and income, but they often do. They can also enter their height, body type, education and relationship status.

Sugar daddy and sugar momma accounts are not always run by just one person. Some accounts are created and used by couples. One profile, apparently made by a female user, stated a desire to find a woman to rendezvous with her and her boyfriend.

The types of sugar arrangements one can procure on SeekingArrangements.com are numerous. Regardless of the type of relationship they are seeking, sugar babies are monitored by the website as promised in a Sugar Baby University advertisement.

Associate professor of sociology Louise Roth said the idea promoted by SeekingArrangement.com is an old one.

“It kind of buys into the idea that women can exchange their youth and beauty for financial support,” she said. “A different version than we saw in the 1950s of that, but also I think a big part of it that plays into that, this in the contemporary context, is that the cost of going to university and the fact that people take out really big student loans that they’re then going to be responsible for, you know, no matter what.”

Roth called sugar relationships “exploitative,” but she did not believe the rise of university sugar babies would have any long-term negative cultural effects.

“Well, again, if you look in the 1950s, most people still ended up with someone who was close to their age and the same social status as themselves and I don’t think that’s going to change in, you know, the sort of longer term with this either,” Roth said.

Whether or not modern sugar relationships will increase is unknown, but the answer will lie partly in the price of college attendance. Whether tuition continues to increase remains to be seen.


Follow Michelle Jaquette on Twitter.


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