Money, jewelry, clothes, cars, international holidays, and, most importantly, tuition and books. Many people would love to meet a fabulously wealthy benefactor who loved to give such gifts, all for the delight of their company. As it turns out, the number of university students looking for just this is increasing rapidly as more people start getting creative with how they find ways to pay rising tuition fees.
SeekingArrangement.com is a website that connects “sugar babies” (typically young, attractive people looking for a financial leg up) with their “sugar daddies,” the ones who want to give it to them. According to a recent press release, the average college sugar baby is receiving approximately $3 000 each month in cash and gifts from their daddies, and UVic has been catching onto this trend, as home of the eighth fastest-growing membership among universities in the country.
So who are these sugar daddies? According to an article in Monday Magazine, they can range from 21 to 84 years old, with the average age being 40 years old. The average income of the sugar daddy is $247 757, and net worth about $5.3 million. What they look for in a sugar relationship can vary greatly however, with some who just want companionship, others who are looking for a few added benefits, and some looking for love.
Out of the website’s 2.7 million members worldwide, one million are students, according to the recent release. With the cost of tuition continually rising, it might not be surprising that so many students are using such websites as SeekingArrangement.com to find their very own benefactor to help fund their schooling and curb the ever-looming student debt.
“We’re all consenting adults,” said second-year student Julie Miller, who is not a user of the service. “We’re university students. We’re educated . . . If that’s how you want to pay for it, it’s better than student loans.” Many seem to feel the same way. A poll done for Bank of Montreal, according to the CBC, suggests that student debt is one of the biggest stressors for those who borrow, with 58 per cent of post-secondary students expecting to graduate with close to $20 000 in debt, and 21 per cent expecting to finish with more than $40 000.
Further, a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that average tuition fees have gone up 6.2 per cent each year since 1990 to a now average cost of $6 186 per year to study at a Canadian university. This figure doesn’t include the cost of books, housing, or other needs, which can more than double that yearly expense.
The morality behind sugar relationships is also something that comes to mind for many. “I don’t think I could ever bring myself to do that,” said fourth-year Education student Erin Campbell. “It would just seem really weird, creepy almost.”
Another student, fourth-year Psychology major Linnea Saitel saw the issue as not with the sugar babies, as many do, but rather the sugar daddies. “I kind of feel like, I mean, it’s their choice for, say, young girls, for what they want to do. But at the same time, I think it’s almost kind of unfair, and I think for the sugar daddies it’s wrong for them to be doing that. I don’t think it’s necessarily the right thing to do.”
On the other hand, Bertram de Souza wrote for Vindy.com out of Pennsylvania that he doesn’t see the relationship as any different from other things you may see students doing at university. “They aren’t doing anything they wouldn’t normally be doing on campus,” he writes. “The difference is that the men who are ‘supporting’ them have the financial means to make their college experience a breeze—instead of a slog.”