More than 400 students at the University of North Texas use the website SeekingArrangement.com to find partners to help pay their tuition, according to data from the website.
In 2016, the site added 42 members for a total of 431 members who verified their UNT email addresses to feature a “college” badge on their profiles.
With the new members, UNT is ranked 52nd nationally on the 2017 list of the fastest-growing “Sugar Baby Schools” and one of six universities in Texas to make the list, including Texas State University in San Marcos at No. 5 and the University of Texas in Austin at No. 11.
The website connects “sugar babies” — college students and other 20-somethings — with “sugar daddies” and “sugar mommies,” users who are notably older and willing to give babies monthly allowances for expenses ranging from rent to tuition to clothing in exchange for companionship.
“Mutually beneficial relationships are great because not only does a student receive financial benefits like paid tuition and funds for books, but they also get mentorship and career guidance,” said Alexis Germany, a spokeswoman for the website. “Often times, sugar daddies introduce sugar babies to people who can assist them with internships and job placement post graduation.”
On the website, users set up profiles, with the babies saying what they want their monthly spending limit to be and the older users saying what they’d be willing to pay. Then, each details a profile about exactly what they’re looking for in a relationship, whether it’s strictly a travel companion, dinner a few times per month or an exclusive and committed relationship.
The number of students participating at UNT is a fraction of the school’s total enrollment, which hit 37,973 in fall 2016. Margarita Venegas, a spokeswoman for the university, said there was no way for the school to verify the data from SeekingArrangement.com.
“We do not condone the actions encouraged by the site since we are committed to providing students with a safe, challenging and vibrant educational experience,” Venegas said Monday. “This group is an independent organization not connected to the University of North Texas.”
In Texas, the average sugar baby user gets a monthly allowance of $2,600, Germany said. Nationally, the average is $2,440 per month.
The average allowance spending is 39 percent on tuition, 30 percent on rent and 21 percent on books, according to the data the website released Monday.
For some students, the website sounds a little weird and off putting.
Sophomore Olivia Young said the website doesn’t sound like it’s for her, but she was surprised the average student gets $2,600 per month.
“I probably wouldn’t do it, but if it works for them as a mutual agreement, then it’s all good,” she said. “But that’s a lot for money on a fake relationship.”
She said she doesn’t know any of her peers using the website, but she did say if her friends made that much from the site, she hopes they would buy her dinner.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.
BY THE NUMBERS
The following is a list of the top 20 fastest-growing “Sugar Baby Schools” in the nation based on new sign-ups in 2016:
1. Temple University
2. New York University
3. Arizona State University
4. Georgia State University
5. Texas State University
6. Florida International University
7. Virginia Commonwealth University
8. Kent State University
9. University of Alabama
10. University of Central Florida
11. University of Texas at Austin
12. University of South Florida
13. University of Arizona
14. Portland State University
15. Michigan State University
16. Florida State University
17. San Francisco State University
18. Howard University
19. Old Dominion University
20. University of Minnesota
Other Texas schools on the list:
47. Texas A&M University
52. University of North Texas
55. University of Houston
62. University of Texas at San Antonio