USF tops list of Fla. schools for 'Sugar Babies' | News
Tampa, Florida -- As college students see the cost of tuition, books and fees go up, some students are finding a new way to make extra cash for school.
"Ooh, the money that they can make, that's too much," said Kat Humphreis, a sophomore at USF.
Humphreis and Junior Gina Riley are learning how some classmates are making thousands of dollars a month by signing up as a "Sugar Baby".
The website, Seeking Arrangement.com, pairs up wealthy older men or women known as "Sugar Daddies" or "Sugar Mommies" with younger, attractive men and women usually college students called "Sugar Babies" in exchange for companionship and monetary compensation.
"A college student wants help with college bills some with rent or for a man to pay for plastic surgery," explained Brandon Wade, the founder and CEO of Seeking Arrangement.com.
Wade said he has more than 1 million registered users looking for a "mutually beneficial relationship".
Wade said 40 percent of the Sugar Babies are college students. USF leads the state with 93 students enrolled last year and ranks 7th in the nation. Wade said USF has a total of 198 USF students signed up as "Sugar Babies".
"Mostly because of the bad economy more and more people jumping into the sugar lifestyle. The membership on the website has gone up as the economy has tanked. Primarily people looking for an alternative way to support themselves put themselves through school," explains Wade.
Gina said the concept of "Sugar Daddy" and "Sugar Baby" walks a fine line.
"This freaks me out. I think it's a fine line between prostitution and maybe it's not illegal but morally and ethically I think it's wrong."
Humphries said she can see how some girls would give this "Sugar Baby" concept a try.
"The only thing is they are both going into it, it's mutually beneficial knowing what they are getting out of it which is good. I can see why girls would see this to be appealing but I don't think they should be doing it that sounds dangerous."
Wade did say any online dating can be dangerous and his site warns both parties to do their own background research.
"Use common sense, when you meet someone you should meet them in a public area where there are lots of people and find your own transportation there and back. Tell your family and friends who you are meeting where and when you are going."
Legal experts say there's nothing illegal about advertising for a "sugar daddy".
"In this case, women want a wealthy boyfriend help them pay for college I don't see anything wrong with that," said Wade. "You never know at the end of the day you put two people together and sparks may fly. A lot of people do fall in love we have had a number of marriages result from people meeting on the website."
Wade said he started the website in 2006 after being frustrated with online dating sites.
"I'd spend hours sending hundreds of emails to women only to get very few responses. Why not create a website where men who are successful and generous can meet women who want to be spoiled," said Wade.
"You walk by and any of these girls could be doing this and making a lot of money out of it good for them," says Gina. But both girls say being a Sugar Baby is not an option for them.
The average age of a "Sugar Baby" is 26 years old but Wade said some are older one "Sugar Baby" is in her 60's.
The website is free for them but Wade said "Sugar Daddies" and "Sugar Mommies" pay $50 a month.
The website's top 20 universities for most "Sugar Baby" sign ups in 2011 include the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Florida International University in Miami.
University Ranking -- Number of Signups
1. New York University (NYU) -- 185
2. University of Georgia -- 155
3. University of Phoenix -- 144
4. Tulane University -- 129
5. Temple University -- 113
6. Virginia Community College -- 108
7. University of Southern Florida -- 93
8. Arizona State University -- 85
9. Michigan State University -- 81
10. Ivy Tech Community College -- 78
11. Georgia State University -- 74
12. University of Wisconsin -- 73
13. Penn State University -- 72
14. University of Central Florida -- 67
15. Kent University -- 65
16. Maricopa Community College -- 63
17. Indiana University -- 62
18. University of California, Berkeley -- 61
19. The Art Institutes -- 60
20. Florida International University -- 59
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