Back in the day when we were at uni, earning some extra cash to spend in the student union or on a Primark spree meant getting a job at the local pub/clothes shop/café – delete as applicable. Now though, students have found a new way to ease the financial strains of university life – by becoming “sugar babies”.
Using the SeekingArrangement app, they are hooking up with older men – sugar daddies – who are willing to pay their bills, take them out to dinner and even give them a clothing allowance. According to the BBC, the app has seen a 40% growth in young women joining in the last year, with more than 250,000 UK students listed as users. As the figures are based on email address sign-ups, it’s unclear how many are active users of the app, but the numbers are pretty shocking regardless.
Seeking Arrangement says it aims to hooks up wealthy men with younger women, and claims the most new sign-ups have come from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Kent. It’s believed soaring rents and university fees are behind the surge in members, but it could be an indicator of a wider, more troubling problem. Official figures released last month suggested a rise in crimes linked to dating apps and are also leading to an increase in the rates of sexually transmitted infections, according to doctors. Last year a study by the University of Swansea found that more than a fifth of students had thought about being involved in the sex industry and one in 20 students who took part said they’d been involved in either glamour modelling, web-cam modelling, stripping or prostitution.
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However Angela Jacob Bermudo, European spokesperson for SeekingArrangement, insists it’s about more than just money. “Most students hear about SeekingArrangement and this lifestyle from other students who have used it,” she told the Daily Mail.“Financial reasons aside, the society we live in has changed, and there is interest in alternative relationship models. Arrangements are a modern take on relationships with traditional values.” The app claims that 56% of university sign-ups come from middle and upper-middle class families, and has released a list of the 10 universities with the most sugar babies…
1. Kent – 724
2. Cambridge – 704
3. Nottingham – 671
4. Manchester – 562
5. St Andrews – 533
6. Westminster – 522
7. Bristol – 518
8. Glasgow Caledonian – 516
9. Leeds – 423
10. Exeter – 422
Where do you stand on the sugar baby debate? Tweet us your opinions @LookMagazine