Millions of US College Students Are So Afraid of Student Loans That They Are Turning to Sugar Daddies

Sugar babies, as we are known, use dating sites such as to seek out wealthy, and often older, men who will give them money.

Approximately 2.5 million sugar babies were identified as college students on in 2016 alone. Many Sugar Babies have turned to the site to find someone to pay for their tuition so they don’t have to worry about money.

The sugar babies go to dinner together, accompany the sugar daddy to events or even go on vacation with him. They’re kind of a society for the sugar daddies, it’s like a mentor-protégé relationship. But sometimes physical favors are part of it.

Welcome to Sugar Baby University

A few years ago, this sugar daddy website operators noticed that more and more users were signing up with a university email address, Alexis Germany, a spokeswoman for, told us. The company then decided to launch a marketing campaign: Sugar Baby University. This was aimed at indebted college students and prospects who wanted to go to college but were afraid of the big loan.

Americans owe the state and private lenders more than $1.3 billion in borrowed college tuition money. That’s more than two and a half times what it was a decade ago, Pew said. This is mainly due to the increasing number of enrollments — and the rising tuition fees.

“Some of the sugar daddies like the noble savior scenario and are really looking to bail someone out of debt or whatever you want to call it,” Germany said. The average sugar daddy’s earnings are $250,000 at and the average net worth is around $1.5 million, although the numbers are self-reported according to Germany.

Sugar Baby students get a premium account at, which can be used free of charge. Typically, a one-month membership is $20 for Sugar Babies and $80 for Sugar Daddies and Moms.

“What are You Looking For?”

To understand what such a relationship looks like, Business Insider spoke to Julia. She is 29 years old and lives in Las Vegas.

She is currently an online MBA student at Michigan State University. She turned to for help with tuition a few years ago after the death of her uncle, who previously paid for it.

“That was the point at which I signed up. I’ve compared the price to what I’m doing in tuition debt and my MBA was already on its way,” said Julia, who was completing her first bachelor’s degree in fashion design and merchandising and was at the time pursuing her second bachelor’s degree in politics and law from Oakland university began. “I realized I couldn’t afford it and I’d have to pay for it for years.”

Friends of Julia then introduced her to and encouraged her to find a sugar daddy to pay the bills. With her top priority being education, Julia figured she would probably be different from the other Sugar Babies who are looking for expensive gifts and money.

“The first message that almost everyone sends is a question: what are you looking for? After all, you want to make sure you’re on the same wavelength,” she said.

Julia says she won’t have sex for money, although she knows some sugar babies who do.

“I’m not interested in one-night stands with people who are only visiting Vegas for a few days. That’s not interesting for me. If I’m offered that, I’ll say, ‘No thanks, I have to decline,'” she said.

“My profile says I’m going to school and I’m looking for someone who can help fund school and my books,” Julia said. That kind of directness and honesty is expected of all users on the site, she says.

However, there were still situations when Julia went to dinner with someone and wanted to play by her rules, but still received an offer for sex. From this she learned that “the site can also be prone to things like that,” she says. “You have to defend your point of view and show backbone.”

There are Expensive Gifts & Free Vacations Too

In the past three years, Julia has had three constant sugar daddies in her life who have helped her pay for her college tuition.

The men, at least one of whom is married with children, ask how much debt she owes and then writes her a check. In total, Julia estimates that she received at least $90,000 from the men to pay for tuition, books, lab costs, and other bills related to her college education.

“People are more kind to you when you don’t ask for something…compared to someone who sits and says what they want from you and if they don’t get it, they don’t want anything to do with you,” she said.

Julia got extra money after her final exams so she could spoil herself and pay her other bills like insurance and rent. Sugar daddies also plan and pay for expensive weekend trips on a whim without batting an eyelid. The bottom line says Julia, but she sets the tone.

“You know that university is my top priority,” she said. “If I’m offered a trip, I say I have school and can’t take it, then they withdraw right away.”

The Stigma is the Hardest Part

Julia still has two semesters to complete before she can complete her MBA. After that, she wants to become a lawyer. She doesn’t plan on staying on the site after she graduates, “but that could change at any time,” she says.

When she’s not studying for college, Julia works as a special model, getting paid to join rich partygoers at the VIP table in a nightclub or keep them company in the poolside cabana.

It’s a different source of money so she doesn’t have to rely entirely on sugar daddies’ money. The money, mostly between 50 and 100 dollars an hour as a so-called atmosphere model, is very manageable compared to the income from the sugar daddies.

“In the beginning, it was a little difficult for me to accept money without giving anything in return. I’m going to dinner with the men, which was very difficult for me to understand at first,” said Julia.

Now she appreciates the relationships she’s forged and is happy with how she presented herself to the sugar daddies as someone you can have an intelligent conversation with over dinner and someone who shares their goals with them he is working towards

“I’m lucky that when I graduate, I won’t have any student loans to pay back and I won’t be in debt. That’s the easiest part of this experience for me,” said Julia.

But, as might be expected, the benefits of weren’t obvious to everyone, including Julia’s friends and family.

“I struggle with the negative side effects of being a member of the site or even saying I have a sugar daddy. It’s difficult that sometimes people hear just one word and immediately think negatively of you. But then I have to get that out of my mind.”

“At the end of the day, it benefits me and helps me shape my future. In return, people’s opinions don’t help me with my future.”

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