Some say they want a house or a car. Some want nice clothes. Some want to pay their student loans.
Some want $10,000 in cash.
A few Lane County students are using a website, seekingarrangement.com, to exchange their companionship for money. According to a Seeking Arrangement press release, the site boasts a user population of more than 1.7 million.
Men and women sign up for accounts with the website Seeking Arrangement, where attractive people are grouped with generous people with money (or sugar) to spare. So-called “sugar babies” have the option of paying extra money to become certified as college sugar babies. From there, members are encouraged to begin “mutually beneficial relationships,” which usually consist of the sugar baby receiving a monthly stipend from a “sugar daddy.”
The majority of sugar babies are female and the majority of sugar daddies are male. Sugar babies seek a variety of arrangements and set a wider variety of conditions. While some sugar babies said they are looking for companionship, others impose a no-touching rule while others remain open to anything. Two women who share an account said they don’t like to do anything without each other and they “love to just let our hair down and get wild.”
According to the website, Seeking Arrangement is engineered for men who make a good living but may not be the most handsome, suave or outgoing.
“As the cost of living rises and tuition hikes continue, co-ed sugar babies continue to flock to Seeking Arrangement in search of sugar daddies,” Seeking Arrangement spokeswoman Jennifer Guinn says.
One student, who calls herself Loyalbabygirl in her Seeking Arrangement ad, is a 23-year-old Springfield resident who, with five years of service in the military, is also an aspiring actress and model. In her ad, Loyalbabygirl wrote she’s “looking for my Hugh Hefner — and yes, it’s OK if he’s younger (winky-face).”
“I just haven’t been receiving the support I need from my previous sugar daddies,” Loyalbabygirl wrote in her ad. “I’m hoping to find someone who’s generous and giving without making me jump through hoops to get what I need.”
What Loyalbabygirl said she needs, exactly, is monthly cash payments of anywhere between $5,001 and $10,000.
According to Lane’s website, the estimated three-term cost of attendance for an in-state student is $9,595 while the cost for an out-of-state student is $14,653. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the median household income for Lane County residents is $42,621.
Loyalbabygirl is asking for $60,012 per year, minimum.
Lane Dean of Cooperative Education Al King said he was shocked to learn that students are advertising such services online.
“Boy, I really just hope these students are being safe,” King said. “There’s no judgement at all on their character. I’m just concerned about safety.”
“They’re college-aged. They’re no longer children,” Seeking Arrangement spokeswoman Angela Jacbocs-Bermudo said. “We’re offering an alternative to getting a part-time job, full-time job or dropping out of school altogether.”
Singapore native Brandon Wade founded Seeking Arrangement in 2007, 11 years after he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Wade said his site promotes traditional values, such as men picking up the tab for dinner — values Wade believes may have been lost in the commotion of women’s liberation.
“I joined it not as a career,” aspiring sugar baby Julie B. wrote in an email. “I’m tired of dating guys (when) I always end up paying for everything.”
While the website describes its sugar babies as sophisticated, ambitious women, Wade wrote the website offers a variety of potential partners.
“They truly are sugar babies,” Wade wrote via Twitter, “although we do have a mix of new and experienced sugar babies.”
Wade’s company also owns whatsyourprice.com, a similar website that divides its userbase between “generous” and “beautiful,” and seekingmillionaire.com. Wade argues that being a sugar baby is a legitimate way to make a living.
Jacobs-Bermudo said that for college students, being a sugar baby is better than a part-time job.
“For anyone going into an opening level part-time or full-time job, you’re going to start off either at a minimum (wage) or a dollar or two above the minimum,” Jacobs-Bermudo said. “That adds up to between 20 to 40 hours a week, and for college students, that affects their potential for achieving their academic goals. A certain amount of time is necessary to succeed as a student.”
ASLCC Senator Adam Brown said with tuition rates rising and financial aid stagnating, “it makes sense that this would be happening here.”
“If you have been following the news on college students, the Millennial Generation, Generation Y or the Lost Generation, then this really shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone,” she said.