Hundreds of students in the UK have signed up to a "Sugar Daddy" dating website within the past year in order to foot the cost of rising tuition fees, it has been revealed.
The site, which boasts one million students worldwide on its register, matches wealthy individuals with impoverished "sugar babies" who are desperate to make ends meet at university.
SeekingArrangement.com claims to arrange "mutually beneficial relationships" between wealthy (usually male) individuals and students. On average, a university Sugar Baby will receive a monthly allowance of £5000 from her Sugar Daddy. Sugar Babies have reported feeling required to have sex with their Sugar Daddies, wanting to get this part of the arrangement "over and done with as quickly as possible."
However, the site experienced a 54% increase in student membership in 2013.
As of January 1 2014, one million students worldwide have signed up to SeekingArrangement.com, the world's largest Sugar Daddy site. Among them are are 208 students from The University of Kent, 195 from The University of Nottingham and 175 from The University of Manchester.
Despite 64 out of 122 institutions raising the average cost of undergraduate degrees last year, British universities accepted a record high of half a million students to their courses. Founder and CEO of SeekingArragment.com, Brandon Wade, maintains that there is a direct correlation between the 2012 rise in tuition fees and the site's popularity.
"The Student loans lead to endless debt which amounts to more than the average graduate who earns £21,000 can handle. Sugar Daddies provide real solutions to the problem of student debts," he said.
Wade claims that his company not only benefits students and sugar daddies alike, but also helps the government, saying: “We are not only helping students achieve financial freedom, but also indirectly relieving the government from the burden of unpaid loans... If less students depended on loans and more graduates paid off their loans, then the overall budget for higher education would decrease dramatically.”
Since it's launch in 2006, SeekingArrangement.com has attracted 2.7m members. Students account for over 42% of the Sugar Baby members, making them the site's largest demographic.
One young woman posted her experiences on the site, saying: "I started on this site a few months ago, not knowing what I was doing. A few friends had referred me to this particular site so I tried it out. Almost a year later I have a sugar daddy and have met so many great men.
"Opportunities which I had never imagined had arisen. This site really helps young, smart, beautiful and ambitious women to get out there and get recognised... There are always going to be flakes but so far, every guy I have met up with has been real and always has something to offer, and not just money or sex."
In return, the site promises the Sugar Babies a "Modern Gentlemen", describing them as: "You are always respectful and generous. You only live once, and you want to date the best. Some call you a mentor, sponsor or benefactor. But no matter what your desires may be, you are brutally honest about who you are, what you expect and what you offer."
SeekingArrangement.com has released the following list of "The fastest growing Sugar Baby schools in the UK". The universities are ranked according to new sign-ups for 2013:
1. University of Kent - 208
2. University of Nottingham - 195
3. University of Manchester - 175
4. University of Cambridge - 166
5. University of Leeds - 143
6. University of St. Andrews - 141
7. University of Bristol - 134
8. University of Exeter - 122
9. University of Northampton - 117
10. University of Westminster - 110
11. Queens University of Belfast -100
12. University of Arts London - 89
13. University of Essex - 83
14. London School of Economics - 72
15. Glasgow Caledonian University -65
16. Goldsmith University of London - 61
17. King's College London - 59
18. University of Ulster - 54
19. University of Worcester - 51
20. Swansea University - 49
In a previous interview with GQ, Wade defended his site saying: "Calling women 'prostitutes' who want something more out of a relationship than just this abstract notion of love is a comment and a stigma that is born from pure jealousy.
"The truth is, in my opinion, love is a concept that's been invented by poor people.
"These people aren't wealthy, they aren't beautiful, they aren't the cream of the crop - so what do they have? They have love. For everyone else there's our website."