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Tuition Talk: where we vent our frustrations with the so-called “higher education bubble.” Raising questions such as “why do college presidents make so much money when students are struggling and in debt?” and “is college even really worth it anymore?” Check back Tuesdays and Thursdays for more!

We interrupt your usually-serious college frustrations to discuss something that we just can’t wrap our heads around. Well, we can, but honestly, we’d rather not. About a week ago, we read this article on Huffington Post College about a student who “moonlights as an escort to cover rising tuition costs.”

“It’s not something I’m happy to be doing,” says the Morgan State University architecture major whose name has been changed in this story to protect her identity. “But when you’re applying for all of these jobs and no one is calling back, it’s like ‘Well, I have to do what I have to do.’”

We know the situation for college students and recent grads is really bleak right now (we at SC are sitting on tens of thousands of dollars in Sallie Mae payments ourselves, so we understand all too well) but this escort job is only one example of how desperate students are just to get to be able to afford the education they want so badly.

This horrifying chart shows that tuition has increased by 1134% since 1978. What?! (via)
A recent article in the New York Post reports that an increasing number of New York City college students are turning to…sugar daddies? If you’re wondering what that means:

…the majority is enrolled at New York University, according to the sugar-daddy dating site

Nearly 300 NYU co-eds joined the site’s service last year seeking a “mutually beneficial” arrangement with rich older men — a 154 percent jump over 2011.

Need we say more? Honestly, we’re a little speechless, and can you blame us? We understand the want for a quality education and the frustration of tuition increases but it just feels like there have to be other options. And maybe we students and recent grads aren’t the ones with all the answers, but that doesn’t mean the answers aren’t out there.

The New York Post article went on to survey students on their opinion on the whole “sugar daddies” thing. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Alex Cranshaw, 22, who graduated from NYU last year, said three of his female classmates had sugar daddies — including a woman whose benefactor financed a whole semester in Madrid.

“He funded her tuition, paid for her housing, gave her spending money and paid for her airfare,” Cranshaw said.

“She told her parents she got a scholarship. They had no idea.”

Not all students approve of the arrangements.

“Clearly, we need more financial aid if those are the lengths people are going to pay for school,” sniffed Ashley Thaxton, 20, an NYU theater major.

Another student said,

“I can understand why someone would be desperate enough to do it,” said Abby Kron, 19, an NYU student studying communications. “But I don’t support it.”

Then again, “it’s easy to stand in judgment when you or your parents’ economic status allows you to pay your tuition in traditional ways,” she said.

We’re glad to see that students have strong  opinion on this and we have to agree with Ashley Thaxton on the “needing more financial aid” aspect. We know how hard it is to pay off loans, so more loans is likely not the right answer (according to the article, “The Pew Research Center says one out of five households are in debt because of student loans.” Okay, so definitely not more loans…) but there needs to be more options for students to make education more affordable. Just because tuition costs are skyrocketing, doesn’t mean that students’ hopes should diminish along with their account balances. So, what’s the answer? These students go to the extremes, but maybe knowing that is the push we all need to make a difference.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear your opinions on sugar daddies and tuition costs. Share your story in the comments below!

(Article Source 1 / Source 2) / Featured photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc