The University of Arts London, University of Manchester and University College London are the fastest-growing sugar baby educational institutes in the UK, with hundreds of new sign-ups in the past year.
That’s according to data from American dating site Seeking Arrangement, which helps so-called sugar babies and sugar daddies connect.
Some 475,320 UK students are signed up to the website currently with 218 students from the University of the Arts registering in the past 12 months alone.
At the University of Manchester, there have been 180 new sign-ups and a further 169 at University College London.
Students from plenty of other red-brick institutions, including the University of Leeds, Cardiff University and Oxford University have signed up.
It’s unclear how many of those registered actually seek to match up with a sugar daddy.
Jake Butler, operations director at student finance advisory site Save The Student suggests the number of students actively sugar dating is closer to 75,000. He predicts with many other students simply signing up out of intrigue.
“Every year we run a national student money survey and around 4% of students admit to being involved in adult work as a way to make money and fund university. Within this many have told us that they are involved in sugar dating,” he tells Yahoo UK.
Save The Students is actively taking steps to prevent students becoming involved with sugar dating.
“Whilst some see this as a legitimate line of work, as an organisation our worry is that students are being forced into seeking ways of making money that they perhaps wouldn’t have if they were financially comfortable,” says Butler.
“We don’t offer support directly but are constantly campaigning for the government to increase the student maintenance loan so that students aren’t left short at the end of each month. I would advise and student to speak to their university about available funding and support before considering signing up to something they may not feel comfortable with.”
Why the increase in students signing up?
Seeking Arrangement offers free premium membership to students who sign up with their university email, a company representative confirmed to Yahoo UK. This could, perhaps, explains the recent rise in subscriptions.
But the financial incentives are likely more appealing – particularly at a time when university tuition fees are through the roof.
The subscribed students employed in such an arrangement are said to receive, on average, a monthly ‘allowance’ of £2,910 from their sugar daddies.
Being a super baby might not appeal to many, but such a sum is enough to pay off the average university tuition fees in mere months.
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How does the sugar baby/daddy relationship work?
A ‘sugar daddy’ – usually male – is someone who enters into a romantic relationship with a ‘sugar baby’ – usually younger and female – where companionship and often sex is exchanged for financial security, including cash, gifts and holidays.
“Sugar Babies set their own boundaries, facilitate their own dates, and make their own decisions,” a representative for Seeking Arrangement told Yahoo UK.
“A lot of them do genuinely like dating older men, and while in uni are often offered mentorship and unique life experiences by doing so.”
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While many may conflate ‘sugar dating’ with prostitution, the representative stressed this is not the case.
“The relationships found on Seeking Arrangement are not transactional in any way, and prostitution and escorting are not allowed on our site, although that is a common misconception,” said the representative.
“People come looking for honest and open relationships, and bad actors looking to abuse our community are not allowed. Therefore, these relationships are absolutely legal in the UK.”