NEARLY 100 female students at the University of Limerick signed up with a ‘sugar daddy’ website last year to help them pay third level fees.
New figures released by the website SeekingArrangement.com reveal more and more Limerick students are turning to “wealthy benefactors” to help them pay rent, accommodation, fees and transport costs.
In all, the site claims to have 638 students based in Limerick on their books - including 389 from UL, 215 from Limerick Institute of Technology and 34 from Mary Immaculate College.
While UL saw the largest increase with 93 students signing up last year, 51 students at LIT joined within the past 12 months, along with seven from Mary Immaculate College.
In May last, they disclosed that close to 500 female students across the three Limerick colleges have signed up with their site, and that number continues to rise, even following the graduation of students who may no longer require their services.
Overall, the number of Irish students who have signed up to the site has increased by 17% in the last year, they claim.
Dublin Institute of Technology comes in second place after UL with 81 sign-ups, while University College Dublin has 79 students seeking sugar daddies.
Trinity College Dublin has the most students signed up to the site, with 397 students seeking a sugar daddy.
A spokesperson for UL said they would not be commenting on the figures, while representatives of all three students’ unions also declined to comment in the past.
While many view it as unsavoury, those behind the site say the relationships formed are a “mutually beneficial arrangement” – with both parties laying out what they expect from the relationship, and what they can provide in return.
“Most undergraduate students attending publicly funded third-level courses in Ireland do not have to pay tuition fees. However, many are still struggling to pay for their education, which includes registration fees that are expected to increase by 20 percent in the next two years,” said their public relations manager Angela Jacob.
She said the average Irish student receives €6,200 in monthly allowance and gifts from her ‘sugar daddy’ to pay for expenses.
College students now make up over 42 percent of their total membership, making them the website’s the largest demographic.
Ms Jacob said they have seen a spike in Irish students signing up with them since the recession deepened.