Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: A sweet option for paying debt

The rising cost of college education and the burden of student loans make sugar baby arrangements a rational choice for students needing additional income

Sugar babies are making their mark on campus, as more than 40 people with ithaca.edu email addresses registered with SeekingArrangement.com. The website allows young men and women to offer companionship to wealthy benefactors in exchange for some form of compensation. It is primarily marketed toward college students who wish to offset educational expenses.

When considering the increasing cost of college and the long-term constraints of student loans, a mutually beneficial arrangement, as the website’s founders call it, provides an alternative option to earn money rather than holding down a part-time job during college or waiting for full-time employment upon graduation.

While some may consider these arrangements borderline prostitution, in actuality, they are not unlike part-time labor. Both involve the exchange of a student’s services for money, whether it come from a boss or benefactor. A part-time worker may offer their administrative or retail skills at a business, while a sugar baby may offer companionship or intimacy. The difference, however, is part-time work may only earn the student $8 per hour, whereas a sugar baby can make anywhere from less than $1,000 to more than $10,000 per month — no small chip off their college debt.

According to the nonprofit American Student Assistance, the average student loan balance for all age groups in 2012 was $24,301. And currently, 59 percent of borrowers still paying back their college loans are over the age of 30. In a time when most college students face years of debt repayments, becoming a sugar baby has monetary incentives that may ease the stress of student loans.