Who's your Sugar Daddy?: Rising higher education costs cause some students to enter a relationship in exchange for money
Students at Michigan universities are resorting to “sugar daddies” to pay for their school expenses based on a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Sugar daddies are older, wealthier men who provide financial stability for a student in exchange for sex or a relationship.
Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for SeekingArrangement.com, said the average income for a Sugar Daddy is $250,000.
The average age for a sugar daddy is 35-to-45 years old, while the average sugar baby is 18-to-26 years old.
“We respect the fact that (sugar babies) are independent, and they are searching for their own way to pay for college,” Velasquez said. “Maybe their parents can’t afford to help pay for college.”
Velasquez said they do not discriminate gender and cater to the LGBTQ community, in addition to having Sugar Mommas and male Sugar Babies.
The arrangement made is based on the desires of each party.
“They both explain what they desire up front,” he said. “It’s not a traditional relationship. A sugar daddy is a wealthy benefactor living an active business life and can’t engage in a normal relationship. A sugar baby is looking for someone who can mentor her and give her networking opportunities and financial stability.”
The tuition rate is $365 per credit hour for in-state students at Central Michigan University.
Although no CMU students were found as members of the site, Michigan State University is ranked No. 16 in the country with 108 sugar babies on campus.
The MSU tuition rate per credit hour is just slightly more than CMU's, at $420.75.
The Detroit Free Press reports Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan as other Michigan colleges showing growth on the website.
Students at CMU interviewed tend to disagree with the idea of having a sugar daddy.
“Obviously it’s not good,” Macomb junior Andrew Venditti said. “I think it’s exploiting women.”
Venditti, who has seen the concept before on MTV’s "True Life" series, said women are going for the easy way out when it comes to paying for their school expenses.
Valesquez said becoming a Sugar Baby is a better option than taking on a job while in school because it doesn’t impede a student’s schedule like a job does.
“People want to better themselves,” he said of its users.
President George Ross said in an email that he does not condone this type of behavior from CMU students.
“The existence of such a 'service' is deeply disturbing,” he said. “To each and every one of our students, about whom I care deeply, I want to say: all of us were reminded last week just how precious — and vulnerable — our personal safety can be. And 'sugar daddy' situations are NOT safe. CMU in no way condones any such activity.”
History Professor Tara McCarthy said in an email that this is an extreme solution and fears this can harm a young woman’s future.
“I think this kind of dependence is dangerous, especially on someone you met online,” McCarthy said. “Women who are financially beholden to someone else in this kind of arrangement are at risk for exploitation.”
Owendale sophomore Holly Errer said she would not use the site because “it is disgusting."
“If people are doing it just to meet someone to date, I think they should just wait and meet someone on their own,” she said. “It’s not worth it. I would rather pay loans than have someone pay for me.”
Although Errer won’t become a Sugar Baby anytime soon, she said she doesn’t doubt that girls on CMU’s campus would take advantage of such an arrangement.
“If people are that desperate to get their tuition paid for, I could see them doing it,” she said.