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Hundreds of university students find sugar daddies online, negotiate average $2,700 a month allowanc

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A glance at some of Seeking Arrangement's Alberta user profiles shows many claim they are attending university and looking for financial aid. Some suggest they're hoping a relationship develops; others explicitly imply a sexual relationship is on offer in exchange for support.

 

Facing staggering debt, hundreds of Alberta post-secondary students are logging on to a website connecting them with “sugar daddies” who can provide them with a monthly allowance and gifts in exchange for negotiated relationships.

 

But student advocates warn such arrangements can be fraught with peril, exposing them to potential exploitation or abuse with few avenues to disentangle themselves from a bad situation.

 

Matchmaking website Seeking Arrangement this week released its rankings of Canadian universities that have had students sign up in search of financial aid. Equating relationships to a business deal, the company said clients hammer out financial arrangements with benefactors ahead of time, leaving the expectations of such an accord between them.

 

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In 2016, the University of Alberta topped the list for new sign-ups in Canada, with 138 new students logging on. The boom in new members at the Edmonton school brings its total number of members (determined by those using their university emails) to 422, ranked the seventh most of all Canadian post-secondary institutions.

 

Calgary’s two universities have significantly fewer members, with 90 registered at Mount Royal University and just 47 at the University of Calgary. Data was not available for Alberta’s other post-secondary institutions.

 

Fahim Rahman, president of the University of Alberta’s Students’ Union, said it’s troubling that so many students are concerned enough about covering their tuition, books and other expenses that they have to find wealthy benefactors willing to pay for their schooling, usually with the expectation of sexual relationships.

 

“I’m not surprised more students are signing up,” he said.

 

“The really interesting thing is how the website is actively recruiting students from post-secondary schools, knowing many will unlikely be able to afford all the costs.”

 

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According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fees for an undergraduate student in Alberta were $5,730 in 2015. For those studying medicine or dentistry, those annual fees can triple or even quadruple. Books and course materials can add another $1,000 to the tally, and covering housing, food and other costs adds thousands more.

 

Raham said while it’s understandable some students consider such transactions as a potential solution to financial struggles, it could come with unintended consequences.

 

“I’m concerned about power dynamics in relationships like this,” he said.

 

“When you’re a student, you’re definitely more vulnerable and you’re getting involved with someone who might be a bit more established in their life and career, and (the student) might be negatively impacted.”

 

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The company says it actively polices the site to weed out escorts, often with the help of the “sugar daddies” themselves, who aren’t looking for those relationships, it says.

 

Alexis German, a spokeswoman for Seeking Arrangement, noted the average monthly “allowance” agreed upon by clients (gleaned via user surveys) is about $2,700, not including gifts or other boons.

 

“That number varies. Some sugar babies are getting much larger allowances than that,” she said.

 

“It all just depends on what’s negotiated.”

 

German said the dating service, which has 631,678 registered users in Canada (of which 412,528 are female “sugar babies”), has been successful because it allows users to transparently and explicitly outline their expectations in advance, minimizing unexpected assumptions about the relationship in the future.

 

About one-third of those users are post-secondary students, which German said is a reflection of the financial difficulty facing those attending colleges and universities.

 

“It’s really just like any other dating site. The difference here is somebody goes on and says ‘I’m looking for someone who is willing to potentially assist me financially,’ ” she said, adding there’s nothing illegal about the service.

“It’s all up front, so they know right away they’re not being chased by a gold digger.”

 

German noted the company actively polices the site to weed out escorts, often with the help of the “sugar daddies” themselves, who aren’t looking for those relationships.

 

A glance at some of Seeking Arrangement’s Alberta user profiles shows many claim they are currently attending university and looking for financial aid. Some suggest they’re hoping a relationship develops; others explicitly imply a sexual relationship is on offer in exchange for support, with several posting racy pictures and promising to provide private ones as well.

 

A number of women don’t show their faces on their public profiles, with some suggesting they want to keep their identity concealed so it doesn’t potentially harm their future employment prospects.

 

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Rebecca Sullivan is the director of the women’s studies program at the U of C, and noted that however such arrangements are painted, in almost every case it ultimately boils down to cash for sex, which creates not only a stigma for the women involved, but may also limit their future prospects.

 

“This is sex work. It may not be just providing (sexual acts), but they’re providing intimate relationships for a fee,” Sullivan said, adding she is in favour of legalizing and regulating prostitution to help remove the stigma that surrounds sex workers.

 

“There is a high level of stigma. Even though it might be conducted in secret, it can cause personal and professional consequences.

 

“Young people aren’t really the best at anticipating risk and negotiating the best deal for themselves.”

 

Sullivan noted women who sign up in search of a sugar daddy are essentially entering a business contract, but unlike most workers they lack the rights and recourse should those terms be violated.

 

Even though the U of C’s total numbers are relatively low, the fact they nearly doubled from just 23 in 2015 suggests a troubling trend in the view of Tristan Bray, vice-president external for the school’s Students’ Union.

 

“We’re not shocked by the number of sign-ups,” he said.

 

“With the downturn in the economy, we know students were finding less degree-relevant jobs over the summer. It comes back to the difficult choices many post-secondary students have to make.”

 

Bray said the student leadership is always available to outline financial options for students, including access to loans, scholarships and bursaries, and even part-time employment, but ultimately the choice is up to the students.

 

The financial struggles faced by post-secondary students, particularly when it comes to daily living expenses, are stark, Sullivan said, but those looking at entering financial arrangements should approach them as business deals, not as a romantic relationship.

 

“Make sure you get business advice, make sure you have legal advice, and make sure somebody knows what you’re doing so you have someone to call if things aren’t going well,” she said, noting students can take advantage of free and confidential legal advice at the U of C.

 

“If you’re going to do this, treat it like any other job — educate yourself and know the risks.”

 

Personal Comment: Shame on you UVIC. Oh shit I realized my sister was one of these ayyy

 

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/hundreds-of-university-students-find-sugar-daddies-online-negotiate-average-2700-a-month-allowance

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I think publicizing the issue is ironically only going to lead to more people doing it. I've also heard about this issue for years though, particularly during the Great Recession. I'm not up to date on how the industry has changed since then, or perhaps how Canada's education costs have changed.

 

Either way I really doubt their figures. 600k members in a nation of 35 million? 400k are women, who are all relatively young and presumably at least somewhat attractive? 1/3 of users in post-secondary education? At first impression it's really an unbelievable figure. They probably want women to think "wow so many other women are already doing it apparently, I guess that means it's okay and well I need the money so I suppose I'll check this thing out." Most dating websites have really pumped up figures. Remember the Ashley Madison leaks? The site was completely bereft of women. This site is different from those fare because the women can expect a lot of money here, but still.

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Im just shocked how many people are doing this.

 

I know student debt is bad but cmon.

There was a study on students in Paris that worked as escorts or even prostitutes to pay for their bills, will see if I can find it on my free day, but the number would surprise you even more.

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I'm surprised to see UofG on that list. Most of those vet chicks already come from money and can dryhump the cashcow until they're done school, so I'd think those broads just like older dudes. Daddy issues that his Mastercard can't help with.

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>give students lots of debt

>tell them to be creative and hard-working to pay it, it builds character

>scandalized when they whore themselves

 

lol this culture we live in is a hoot

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As far as the abuse warnings go, no shit. You reap what you sew. Nothing is free, least of all money. Dipshits.

That's a rather aggressive and uncaring viewpoint.

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Doesn't the US have student loans? If not I can probably see why.

The U.S has student loan programs. It's not uncommon for students to come out of undergrad ~40k in debt. Some students even reach 100k.

 

The poor students do get a large break in the form of grants and scholarships, both free money but grants provide a substantially larger amount.

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Serioslly how the fuck you manage to get 100k bucks in debt as a student

 

If universities are that costly in usa just fuck it and go travel to be educated in eu

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Serioslly how the fuck you manage to get 100k bucks in debt as a student

 

If universities are that costly in usa just fuck it and go travel to be educated in eu

You guys realize international students are charged this much if they study abroad, right? While also being unable to work.

 

Seriously look at your local unis 'international rates'

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You guys realize international students are charged this much if they study abroad, right? While also being unable to work.

 

Seriously look at your local unis 'international rates'

It's how Australian universities can support themselves while charging decently low fees to domestic students. Thanks Chinese and Indian millionaires!

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Seriously look at your local unis 'international rates'

Maybe if you go to an expensive private school, but for your everyday university you'll never get near those costs.

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You guys realize international students are charged this much if they study abroad, right? While also being unable to work.

 

Seriously look at your local unis 'international rates'

Why wouldn't you be able to work when studying abroad? I think most places allow that.

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