Most college students take out loans, earn scholarships or borrow money from family members to cover the cost of tuition. But according to recent studies, numerous MSU students also have turned to websites in search of “sugar daddies” to help pay for college.
In 2012, MSU was ranked as the 16th fastest growing university for students to find sugar daddies — older men who pay to date younger women — on seekingarrangement.com. In 2011, MSU was ranked No. 9.
There were 108 MSU female sugar babies who signed up in 2012 alone, a 62 percent increase from 2011, bringing the grand total to 282 members, said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager at SeekingArrangement. Eastern Michigan University ranked 24th with 159 total members, a growth of 112 percent from 2011, and the University of Michigan ranked 25th with 177 total sugar babies, an 82 percent growth.
“It’s astonishing and quite disturbing how many people are on the site and participating in this,” accounting junior Joe Lacasse said.
SeekingArrangement broke more than 2 million members this January, Velasquez said. About 44 percent of members are college students, up from about 40 percent in 2011, he said.
To attract more college students, the site has special offers for members with a college email.
Students can sign up to get a free premium membership, which will bring their profile higher in searches for “sugar babies” and enable them to directly message potential sugar daddies and mommas, Velasquez said.
“We want it to be as genuine as possible,” Velasquez said. “Unlike other websites, we advise that members first be honest and up front with each other when they first meet, and find out what they seek with their ideal partner. Then if there’s a match, they can seek a relationship afterwards.”
Although some MSU students are involved with the site, others worry about the ethics of the practice.
“The whole stigma of the website and what it’s about throws me off,” human development and family studies sophomore Hailey Dubreuil said. “I feel like there would be better ways to get money.”