More than 100 university students in the NSW Hunter have signed up to a specialist online dating website that will match them with a ‘‘sugar daddy’’ to fund their education, the site claims.
US-based SeekingArrangement.com said a growing number of University of Newcastle students, both male and female, were seeking ‘‘sugar daddies’’ and ‘‘sugar mummies’’ to fund their education.
It yesterday named the University of Newcastle as the No.2 Australian university for new sign-ups in its list of the fastest-growing ‘‘sugar baby’’ universities.
The site, established in 2006, spruiks itself as creating ‘‘mutually beneficial relationships and mutually beneficial arrangements’’ and has made international headlines.
It does not explicitly say students should swap sexual favours for sponsorship but leaves it up to couples to make their own arrangement.
‘‘No matter what you are seeking, whether it is love, companionship, friendship or some financial help ... we hope you will find the perfect match here,’’ the site states.
The site’s creator, Brandon Wade, said that Australia’s cost of living was one of the highest in the world and it had caused some students to turn to ‘‘sugar daddies’’ to make up the difference.
‘‘By seeking a mutually beneficial relationship while in school, students will be more likely to find success later in life, and less stress while enrolled in school,’’ he said.
Newcastle University Students Association has frequently complained that Youth Allowance and Newstart benefits are not enough to cover rent, textbooks, utilities and phone bills.
It said paid employment could be disruptive to studies and could not always be found.
Second-year university student Georgia Osland said she was horrified when told about the ‘‘sugar daddy’’ website.
‘‘I don’t know why someone would do that,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s really creepy. It’s actually quite demeaning.’’
Second-year radiography student Sarah Mapher agreed the theme of the website was demeaning but said at least the ‘‘sugar mummies’’ added an element of equality.
‘‘We just need free education,’’ she added.
A University of Newcastle spokeswoman said she was surprised by the alleged number of subscribers to the site.
She said students were encouraged to access support services.
‘‘We are mindful of the varied backgrounds of our students and have tailored our support programs to suit their needs. Services include free counselling and medical services ... financial advice, and accommodation support.’’