Faced with tuition bills, more GSU and UGA students turning to “Sugar Daddies”

When I received this email about a “dating” service that matches up wealthy older (mostly) men with young, cash-starved college students, more and more who attend Georgia schools, I thought it was a spoof.

A service where attractive young college students pay their bills and buy their “Fendi” bags by “dating” wealthy men sounded like a Lifetime movie.

I was wrong.

Apparently, there is a nationwide online service that matches “Sugar Daddies” with “Sugar Babies,” many of whom are college students exchanging their youth, beauty and attention, sexual and otherwise, for cash and other expressions of gratitude from wealthy men in what the company calls “mutually beneficial” relationships.

SeekingArrangement.com has received a lot of press, including a 2009 opus in The New York Times Magazine in which founder Brandon Wade explains, “We stress relationships that are mutually beneficial. We ask people to really think about what they want in a relationship and what they have to offer. That kind of upfront honesty is a good basis for any relationship.” (Please read the Times story if you have time as it is quite extraordinary.)

Wade told the Times that Sugar Babies — mostly young women — outnumber Sugar daddies 10 to 1, prompting one of the daddies to describe the dating service as “the best fishing hole I ever fished in.”

According to the Times:

ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF ARRANGEMENTS on the site involve the daddy paying an “allowance,” usually a thousand or two a month, though the site claims some reach $10,000. The rest provide the baby with incidental cash, shopping sprees, gifts, travel or the fleeting illusion that theirs is a high-end, easy life. “I get flown to whatever city I want,” wrote a North Carolina college student, who goes by the name gurlnextdoor on the site’s blog, a mix between an online support group and a kaffeeklatsch. “He pays for it, takes me shopping, we talk, laugh, go out to eat and do whatever we want to do for our days together. . . . I don’t bring up mundane problems about my home life, and he does the same. . . . If I wanted someone to talk to about my life problems, I’d get a boyfriend or a therapist.”

Some {Sugar babies} are looking for attention, some have financial problems and some are seeking refuge from romantic pain. On the blog and in conversations with me, still others said benefactors provide a way to get the extras they want — the Fendi bags, the to-die-for shoe collection or the breast enhancement. A surprising number of babies say on the blog that they don’t need the money at all, either because they have decent-paying jobs or bottomless credit cards from their parents. What appeals to them about the arrangements are the expensive gifts — “I just LOVE being spoiled,” gushed one 19-year-old woman on the blog — because those gifts make them feel valued, as if the money spent measures just how desirable they are.Other women on the site would happily forfeit conspicuous prizes and go for the cash instead, especially for tuition. One woman’s profile says, “That you can help me get through school and achieve financial stability through support and mentoring is more important than wowing me with diamonds and Prada.” In fact, Seeking Arrangement pays to have its ads pop up on search engines whenever someone types in “student loan,” “tuition help,” “college support” or “help with rent.” Lola was one of many to stumble on the site that way, when — behind on her rent and tuition and down to one meal a day — she Googled “student loan.” What popped up was hardly what she expected, but she was willing to try almost anything to stay in school.

I am sharing this on the Get Schooled blog because SeekingArrangement.com just released a list of the colleges attended by its student Sugar Babies. The No. 1 fastest growing source of new babies is Georgia State University. The University of Georgia is also on the list of increasingly fertile ground. Read about it on AJC.com.

(Maybe, those HOPE Scholarships cuts are to blame?)

Here is what SeekingArrangement.com sent me:

As the cost of living rises and tuition hikes continue, college students are forced to look for alternative methods to raise an enormous amount of funds in order to pursue their education. Some choose to take out student loans, or receive help from their parents, and other students are turning to Sugar Daddies.

SeekingArrangement.com is releasing its annual list of the “Top 20 Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Colleges of 2012″ this week. Last year, college student memberships increased by 58 percent on the mutually beneficial relationship website, with more students from the South joining than any other region. The average co-ed Sugar Baby receives approximately $3,000 a month in allowances and gifts from her Sugar Daddy, enough to cover tuition and living expenses at most schools.

The following is the list of the Top 20 Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools, by new sign ups in 2012:

1. Georgia State University 292
2. New York University 285
3. Temple University 268
4. University of Central Florida 221
5. University of Southern Florida 212
6. Arizona State University 204
7. Florida International University 187
8. University of Georgia 148
9. Indiana University 131
10. Texas State 128
11. Kent State University 123
12. Penn State 121
13. University of North Texas 112
14. Florida State University 111
15.Tulane University 109
16. Michigan State University 108
17. University of Ohio 103
18. Columbia University 100
19. University of Alabama 96
20. University of California Los Angeles 91

“It’s tough. The South went from being the epitome of success and money to faring the worst in terms of well-being,” says founder and CEO, Brandon Wade. “Even if NYU is still our biggest Sugar Baby University, the growth of Southern female coeds seeking the Sugar Lifestyle is a move in the right direction to bring back Southern charm.”

One other Georgia school made the list, coming in at No. 8, the University of Georgia had 1.5 more new sign-ups this year than in 2011. The No. 1 school, Georgia State by 3.9 times more, had 292 new signs-up this year. While Georgia Southern University did not make it in the top 20, the school also showed an increase in Sugar Baby sign-ups this year.

Georgia Sugar Schools by new sign-ups and increase in memberships in 2012:

Georgia State University            292 sign-ups     395% increase in sign ups
University of Georgia                 148 sign-ups      95% increase in sign ups
Georgia Southern University      76 sign-ups      102% increase in sign ups

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

76 comments Add your comment

Just Sayin.....

January 14th, 2013
1:51 pm

So sugar baby puts out to get a liberal arts degree? Why am I not surprised?

The whole HOPE question ((Maybe, those HOPE Scholarships cuts are to blame?)) was just a tacky political remark.

Sex-for-stuff by any other name is still prostitution. That there might be 300 women at UGA or GSU doing it for tuition doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Interested observer

January 14th, 2013
1:58 pm

The “sugar babies” can call it what they want, but they’re just prostitutes.

How many do you think tell their parents of the arrangement?

HS Public Teacher

January 14th, 2013
2:00 pm

This is so very sad for many reasons.

First, why do so many people feel the need for a college education? There are many professions and careers that do not need a bachelor’s degree…. plumbers, electricans, nurse’s assistant, dental assistnat, etc. As a society, we are putting a college degree on such a pedestal that children are willing to become prostitutes?

Second, why is a college education (especiall at GA State) costing so much money? GA State is not an Ivy League school. Heck, it isn’t even a top tier or second tier school. Shouldn’t the average middle America kid be able to afford GA State without having to turn to prostitution? This is the fault of the Georgia Board of Regents!

Third, where are the parents? I guess I should ask where have the parents been. Shouldn’t the parents have instilled good morals and ethics and character in their own offspring to know better? This so-called ‘Bible-belt’ southern State has a lot of self-evaluation to do!! I knew that parents were doing a poor job these days but I had no idea it had gotten this bad.

Mountain Man

January 14th, 2013
2:02 pm

I wonder what percentage of “sugar babies” are women and what percentage men?

Mountain Man

January 14th, 2013
2:03 pm

These “sugar babies” are prostituting themselves to pay for UGA’s “Taj Majal” student center!

Maureen Downey

January 14th, 2013
2:11 pm

@Mountain; It is in the Times story:

Though one-quarter of the site’s sugar daddies (including married ones) are looking for male “babies” and 1 percent of the site’s members are “sugar mommies,” they still tend to fall into traditional roles, where the one who is paid supplies sex, admiration, comfort and the kind of status conferred by any other expensive consumer good. The “baby” is the one who regulates her appearance, schedule, behavior and emotions to make the payer feel special.

indigo

January 14th, 2013
2:12 pm

This kind of thing is not as new as you might think.

Years ago, I remember reading about a reporter who did a story about male prostitutes who sold their services to other men.

One of them was a Georgia Tech student who was paying his way thru school by doing this.

WhiteWolf of the Bones

January 14th, 2013
2:17 pm

I seriously doubt any of these prostitutes are pursuing degrees in education, as that field just doesn’t pay enough to make it worth their while. Thank goodness for that:)

KJ

January 14th, 2013
2:24 pm

men’s power and money women’s genetic health. just legalize prostitution, most women are in one form or another anyways.

Macon is Next

January 14th, 2013
2:30 pm

Nothing new here other than it is more organized and now has a website. This has been going on since the first students attended the Sorbonne many hundreds of years ago. Ultimately who are we to judge. We may feel it is wrong, but there are many other lifestyle choices we may also feel are wrong but are perfectly legal. I am a firm believer in individual choice and responsibility. Americans are far too puritanical when it comes to talking about sex. Talk about adding gun controls and people get whipped into an hysterical frenzy talking about a tyrannical government overreaching their power. But those very same people are the first to be against gay marriage, more severe drug laws and punishments, and taking away a woman’s right to choose what to do if she is pregnant.

I say no harm no foul. If they can graduate without massive student loans and debt, why should I begrudge them that opportunity. Not a choice I made or would make again if given the chance, but to each their own. If we had less busy bodies trying to worry about controlling other peoples lives it would be a much nicer country.

Old Scratch

January 14th, 2013
2:40 pm

I believe the old idiom “Nobody rides for free” comes to mind. I assure you this money ain’t free.

History Teacher

January 14th, 2013
2:46 pm

It does not matter how you pretty it up–payment of any kind for sex makes you a prostitute. But what can we expect from a generation being raised with the belief that they are entitled to what they want and will get it with the least amount of effort? I wonder if they realize they must report this as income or be subject to prosecution for tax evasion?

saywhat?

January 14th, 2013
2:48 pm

This is one more outward symptom of the decline of America. Shame on them all.

jarvis

January 14th, 2013
2:49 pm

@History Teacher, there has never nor will there ever be a more entitled generation than the Baby Boomers. Get over yourself.

Michael

January 14th, 2013
2:50 pm

This story would never grace the top front page of the Washington Post website.

Maureen Downey

January 14th, 2013
2:50 pm

@To all. Here is a good first-person story by a young woman who tried the service.

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/05/seeking-arrangement-201005

Maureen Downey

January 14th, 2013
2:52 pm

@Michael. Really? It graced the front of the NYT. It has received a lot of national press.
Maureen

Joad Kressbeckler III

January 14th, 2013
3:04 pm

Back in my day, if a woman wanted a man to give her money and buy her things she had to marry him, bear his children, and spend her days a cooking and a cleaning. Nowadays, they can get all of the material things they want without having to spend all day cleaning puke off of their aprons while the menfolk do men things on the golf course or at the pub.

And that’s the way it was and we liked it!

Elliot Garcia

January 14th, 2013
3:05 pm

It’s a new generation of narcissists…

Catlady

January 14th, 2013
3:06 pm

I have heard of this. Why is the company not being prosecuted for pimping?

Catlady

January 14th, 2013
3:13 pm

Any data on Wesleyan, Agnes Scott, or Spellman?

Macon is Next

January 14th, 2013
3:13 pm

Here is a quote from the vanity fair link above that answers that question.

“Seeking Arrangement skirts the issue of prostitution by promoting the exchange of “intimacy and companionship” for “gifts.”

So the website just charges a monthly fee like E-Harmony or any other personals site. What the sugarbabies and sugardadies do once they meet is between them.

John the Donkey

January 14th, 2013
3:13 pm

It’s what life will be life for them after college. Might as well start a couple of years early.

Catlady

January 14th, 2013
3:15 pm

I would hope the young women there would have a better sense of self-respect.

Catlady

January 14th, 2013
3:17 pm

“Fertile ground?” Let’s hope not!

Not a representative sample

January 14th, 2013
3:19 pm

With 30,000 students at Georgia State, it seems a bit silly that people are making such a big deal that 300 students are trying to whore themselves out to the highest bidder.

Their behavior is kind of sad, but I am unwilling to cast aspersions on an entire university simply because 1% of its students are making gross life decisions.

Just A Teacher

January 14th, 2013
3:29 pm

I knew a woman who was stripping to pay for an early childhood education degree. She was very honest about what she did to pay her tuition. If these women were equally honest, they would list “whore” under previous employment on job applications.

Georgia

January 14th, 2013
3:31 pm

I wonder if any of those sugar babies have an older sister for me?

NOLALady

January 14th, 2013
3:32 pm

Why would anyone be surprised at this….have you met the shallow, pretentious, “what kind of car do you drive?” women of Atlanta?

Roekest

January 14th, 2013
3:32 pm

Well folks…it IS the oldest profession on Earth…

Can’t wait for the next 20 years….”Yeah, I never really knew my father…but he paid my mom’s way through college!”

Rita

January 14th, 2013
3:38 pm

“Ultimately who are we to judge.”

I / We can judge whoever the heck I / We want!

AlreadySheared

January 14th, 2013
3:45 pm

“They” say that if it flies, floats, or (ahem), it’s cheaper to rent than to own…

Burdell

January 14th, 2013
3:46 pm

Thinly veiled, indigo. Were you a client?

All I'm Saying Is....

January 14th, 2013
3:47 pm

This site has merely formalized what women have been doing for years: getting men to do what they want for sex.

As long as everyone is over the age of consent and is freely involved then what’s the big deal?

MoFaux

January 14th, 2013
3:51 pm

Lots of people have meaningless sex in college, so who cares? I think both people involved are sad, especially the girls who do it just to get expensive material things (Kim Kardashian syndrome)…but, it’s their lives, not mine. We should really stop legislating morality and let people do what they want in their bed room, as long as it affects no one else. Same goes for gambling, marijuana, etc.

[...] pay your tuition bills? He can. Georgia State University is ranked as the fastest growing “Sugar Baby” school in the nation (“by a dating website that connects wealthy men with cash-strapped female [...]

Guest

January 14th, 2013
3:55 pm

Why do they need money? They live in one of the most affordable cities and attend one of the least expensive schools in the country.

Living With Open Eyes

January 14th, 2013
3:57 pm

1)Please find me one person on this planet who was really surprised by this article.PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE…….You will not find one attractive female who doesn’t use her “charms” to get through life.
2)Why is a wealthy man who pursues younger women called virile, but when an average man even looks at younger adult women he’s called a pervert?

Devil's Advocate

January 14th, 2013
3:58 pm

HS Public Teacher,

Have you actually looked on Monster.com lately? There are many job openings (and have been for years despite the down economy) and most require some amount of college experience. The problem is that most employers want senior level talent for new college graduate salary. Many companies have gotten rid of employees making above average salaries and when they eventually get around to back-filling their openings, they want to hire equal talent for cheaper wages.

College grads get turned down because they don’t have the experience for the level of work required but experienced people have a hard time taking the job because it pays well beneath what they were making for the level of work.

If you shrink the scope of time, the last few months have seen more well paying jobs coming available as the economy slowly improves. Now you have people who have been out of work for a significant amount of time trying to get back in but being frowned upon for being out of work longer than the hiring firms like.

This will sort itself out over time (as long as the economy doesn’t go back into a recession anytime soon). But yes, a lot of firms doing the hiring ask for a college degree and/or significant experience even if the job itself really shouldn’t require it. A lot of companies don’t want to invest resources into training those without the specific experience they are looking for so a lot of people are stuck in the hiring game.

It seems that many are falling back to using what they’ve got to get what they want.

Bob

January 14th, 2013
4:01 pm

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the HUGE risk here for the married sugar parent: that the baby, at the end of the relationship (and it will come) uses texts, emails, and other media to blackmail the parent with his/her spouse.

Mustang100

January 14th, 2013
4:36 pm

Deer mommy and Daddie, I doesn’t need any moor edjucation now. luvyalots, Homunney

AlreadySheared

January 14th, 2013
4:41 pm

@Devil’s Advocate,

You left out the “on their”:

“It seems that many are falling on their backs to use what they’ve got to get what they want.”

say what?

January 14th, 2013
4:43 pm

This is nothing new.So our self indulging minors have become self indulging adults. A generational curse because we are self absorbed.

ATL CEO

January 14th, 2013
4:49 pm

I was surprised how affordable the prices for these gals are. $2-$3K/Month. That’s not bad at all. I would pay for that if she had a decent face, 5′2-5′7, 110lbs-130lbs, C – D sized breasts, and did her nails and hair. She would have to be available for sex 6-10 times a week at my discretion. I could do that.

Private Citizen

January 14th, 2013
5:16 pm

Doesn’t seem a lot different from the Hope scholarship money. I call it ill gotten gain. Surprising to see this activity quantified so neatly by the head pimp. Let me be the first to observe / comment that this “progressive method” report is sexist. Apparently singer Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction used to work as a male prostitute before he penned the highly charged song “Sex is Violent.” Alls I got to say is that that money and doing homework is going to be difficult after somebody meets the wrong trick. Something tells me it’s not all daisies and fun. hey kids, prostitution is DANGEROUS.

Private Citizen

January 14th, 2013
5:20 pm

Maybe someone’ll “go out with” “ATL CEO” and can write a dissertation on object relations theory.

Private Citizen

January 14th, 2013
5:22 pm

Hey CEO if this is your love life, I can only imagine your opinion of your clients and investors.

Beverly Fraud

January 14th, 2013
5:22 pm

I’ll say this about these arrangements: They are more than likely more honest and less unseemly than much of comes out of the “education reform” movement.

Private Citizen

January 14th, 2013
5:25 pm

Private Citizen

January 14th, 2013
5:40 pm

In Paris there is a tradition for some girls to play around with prostitution and find their life mate along the way. It is a little less cold blooded, calculating. Hmmm. This could be useful bargaining chip at the financial aid office, “I see you have pamphlets for HSBC, GE Money Bank, and Chase. Do you have any pamphlets for that pimp in New York and we can do it NYU style?” PS In south Georgia, when it’s time to pay bills, the crazy women march around yelling about “I guess I’ll have to sell my coochie.” Real charming, like if you like burned food and some RedBull on ice to wind down.