Canadian university students take a non-traditional route towards paying off student debt

Many college and university students in Canada are investing in relationships with sugar daddies to supplement the costs of rising tuition and living expenses.

A sugar baby/daddy relationship is a consensual relationship between two adults where the sugar daddy often provides their partner with material or monetary goods within the relationship. The two parties often share intimacy, companionship, or friendship.

U of T is recognized as having the highest number of students, sitting at 683, in Canada involved with SeekingArrangement, one of the leading sites that connects young adults, “sugar babies,” with successful, wealthy adults, “sugar daddies/ mommas” with the interest of engaging in a relationship. Ryerson University falls second on the list of with 577 registered students and University of Guelph, third—with 554.

SeekingArrangement caters towards students utilizing their services to find relief from tuition, student debt, and other school related costs. In a press release from the site, it is stated that nearly 207,000 out of roughly 1.7 million students in Canada are utilizing the site as an alternative method of financial aid.

On December 15th, the provincial government of Ontario set an overall tuition increase cap of three percent for another two years. Students in Ontario are already paying the highest average tuition for undergraduate degrees for 2016/2017, at $8,114. The lowest average for undergraduates is in Newfoundland and Labrador at $2,759. Brandon Wade, CEO and founder of SeekingArrangement, stated in a press release, “instead of waiting for the government to take action, their students are taking matters into their own hands.”

Second-year student, Sophia,* sought a sugar daddy through Tinder, Kijiji, and Craigslist to help pay for school and other expenses. “Some of the individuals [that I engaged with], I enjoyed. Some were just not great people,” she stated, in reference to her experience in past relationships with sugar daddies.

SeekingArrangement, as an online dating service, connects individuals who have common interests. Intimacy is not explicitly stated as a requirement in these relationships, but can often be insinuated, according to Sophia.

A student, who chose to remain anonymous, reportedly attends her dates with sugar daddies where she does not engage intimately with them and is often given around $800. She finds that many of the men on these sites are socially unkempt and use sites like these to date more easily.

Another anonymous student was initially hesitant to join the site, but her need for extra money eventually led her to give it a shot. Although never going through with the date requests that she had received, the student felt overwhelmed by the offerings.

SeekingArrangement allows students to have easy access to their services by offering a free premium membership with the registration of a .edu account. In a press release, it was stated that “in 2016 alone, more than one million students around the world registered on SeekingArrangement to find relief from tuition, student-loan debt, and other college related costs.”

Alexis Germany, Press Correspondent for SeekingArrangement, released the numbers of users on SeekingArrangement, detailing that the highest numbers of users are Sugar Daddies (115,056) and Female Sugar Babies (412,528).

Sugar relationships are not seen as a vocation, but rather as a special relationship between two people. Some students seek these relationships to fill monetary gaps in their lives, but many individuals enjoy these relationships for what they are. Judgement of either motive for these relationships does not belong in the external.

 

*Sophia has requested that only her first name be presented.

*Students are referenced anonymously to preserve their identity and experience.