College tuition is getting steeper every year, particularly at cash-strapped public and state universities. Many of you might be thinking about jumping on the MOOC bandwagon and taking advantage of free online courses, or dropping out altogether. But if you're a beautiful young female, you need not sweat the financial burden. Leave that to a rich old guy who will cover your expenses in exchange for the privilege of your company.
That's the attitude of Brandon Wade, CEO of SeekingArrangement.com, a matchmaking service that pairs young gold-digger types (the site actually calls them Sugar Babies) with wealthy older men willing to shell out cash for attention (Sugar Daddies). On Monday, Wade released the list of the fastest growing "sugar baby colleges," a record of where the most coeds are signing up. What it says is, ladies attending colleges in Florida, Georgia and Texas are savvy in the human-services entrepreneur department. Take a look at the top of the list:
1. Georgia State University
2. New York University
3. Temple University
4. University of Central Florida
5. University of Southern Florida
6. Arizona State University
7. Florida International University
8. University of Georgia
9. Indiana University
10. Texas State
11. Kent State University
12. Penn State
13. University of North Texas
14. Florida State University
16. Michigan State University
17. University of Ohio
18. Columbia University
19. University of Alabama
20. University of California Los Angeles
The number of undergraduate sugar babies swelled from about 38,000 in 2007 to nearly 180,000 in mid-2011. And as of 2012, college females make up 44% of SeekingArrangement's users. (If you sign up with a .edu email address, you get a free upgrade to premium membership!)
And while it's easy to imagine college kids signing up as a way to earn some quick beer money, Wade contends that the rate of signups on the site corresponds directly to the uptick in tuition across the country, suggesting that young people are using his dating service to stave off a pile of post-graduation loan payments.
"The population of college sugar babies in Texas has steadily increased every year, with Texas State University leading all major universities in the past year," said Wade. “While some may argue that these women are just using men for their own personal gain, I believe that they are proactive in pursuing a higher education.”
Whether Wade is onto something is hard to know. But what's interesting is that sugar babies aren't merely being treated to a fancy dinner and a limo ride to the club; they rake in an average sum of $3,000 per outing, according to Wade. That's to say, their affluent middle-aged benefactors are, conceivably, keeping them out of debt.
Rather than cringe at the idea that our nation's collegiate youth are auctioning off their bodies and companionship to the highest bidder, we could all choose to view the SeekingArrangement situation as a savvy business decision. Georgia State -- the college at the top of the list -- already has. The school had 292 new signups in 2012, the most of any college in the country. After the Sugar Baby list dropped, the university issued a statement congratulating the "entrepreneurial spirit" of its student body.
“Georgia State prides itself on fostering an enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit among its students,” said Don Hale, vice president for public relations and marketing communications. “We are surely surprised to see it manifested in this way by these women.”