Faced with the prospect of long-term financial burden, college students have turned to Sugar Daddies and online benefactors for alternative means of income and earning their degrees.
The fact that higher education costs have increased over the years comes as no surprise to anyone, with even members of the U.S. federal government voicing concerns regarding the prevalence of student debt. According to a report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in April 2014, the percentage of 25 year olds dealing with student debt rose from 27% in 2004 to 43% in 2012. Similarly, a report released through The Institute for College Access & Success stated that the average debt for seniors graduating in 2012 was $29,400, an increase of 25% from 2008.
This increase in student loans have resulted in college students paying off their tuition and living expenses in various ways. Young adult students are turning to ‘sugaring’ and alternative sex work to make money directly, conveniently, and, most importantly, off the record. Being a Sugar Baby, ‘camming’, and selling nude self-images are just some of the methods that have been paying for college expenses.
SeekingArrangements, an online dating website, offers a medium through which Sugar Daddies or Mommas could find their Sugar Babies to spoil financially. NJ.com reported in early 2015 that Rutgers University of New Jersey saw an upsurge in sign-ups for the dating website from prospective Sugar Babies, a whopping 32%. The website itself offers an incentive for college-age students to enroll, with Sugar Baby University enrollees scoring free premium membership by signing up with an “.edu” email. Alongside images of young women dressed in sexualized school uniforms is the promise that the average Sugar Baby income comes in to be approximate $3,000 per month in allowances and gifts, a siren call to college fiscal woes.
With the prospect of having to physically meet with a Sugar Daddy not always the most convenient way of making income, other young adults have turned to ‘camming’. Camming often entails a person performing a striptease or various sexual acts through a host website, all from the comfort of their own room. Websites such as MyFreeCams allow the cam performer to reach their audience in a sort of DIY and interactive pornographic video. With some of the highest earning cam girls earning up to 6 figures a month, the potential to earn a lucrative income is high. Similarly, there are young adults selling their Snapchat usernames to individuals in exchange for posting nude pictures and videos of themselves through the smartphone app for their viewing.
While sex work can conjure up the popular notion of strip clubs and obscure motel bedrooms, it seems to be a testament to the prevalence of technology and rising costs of tuition that it changed form. Sugar Babies, camgirls and guys, and Snapchat nudists have seized upon a niche in modern technology to sell companionship and carnal comforts.
With trends projecting still more increases in college expenses for the average college student, it may appear that sex work will follow suit to fill in the financial gap.