Aspiring Musician Becomes 'Sugar Baby' to Pay for Tuition

PHOTO: Christine Morris, 24, became a "sugar baby" on SeekingArrangement.com, a website that allows men ("sugar daddies") to meet women willing to provide companionship for money, to save money to graduate from music conservatory.
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It was six in the evening, and Christine Morris was doing what she loved best: playing the flute.

"I dreamed about being a singer, playing in an orchestra, going to school, getting my degree," said Morris, who is 24 and lives in New York City, in an interview with ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas.

That lifelong passion earned her a spot at a prestigious school of music. But as she inched closer to graduation, reality set in.

"I had just taken out too many student loans … I couldn't take out any more," she said.

Morris' tuition was $10,000 per semester, she said. At one point she had three jobs, leaving no time left for school, she added.

Just one semester shy of her bachelor's degree, Christine left school. But so far waiting tables wasn't allowing her to save up and finish her degree.

So Morris was trying something different. She was having dinner with a man she met on a website called SeekingArrangement.com.

It is one of several "sugar daddy" sites, where men can hook up with potential "sugar babies," younger women who want to be supported financially in exchange for their companionship.

And she's not alone. The site says its fastest-growing population of sugar babies is college students. Some speculate it's a direct result of skyrocketing tuition costs and student debt.

In fact, SeekingArrangement now targets college sugar babies, offering free membership, which in turn attracts sugar daddies, who pay as much as $2,500 for membership.

Who are these men? Morris said some are Wall Streeters, lawyers and businessmen.

How old are they? "Most of them have been in their forties," Morris said.

"For a few decades," Vargas added, laughing.

"Yes, exactly," Morris answered.

Melanie Berliet, a freelance writer based in New York City, knows firsthand what Christine was talking about. She went undercover to write an expose about SeekingArrangement for Vanity Fair.

"It's remarkably similar to dating in the real world," she said, "but the distinguishing characteristic of a sugar baby/sugar daddy relationship is that you openly discuss the financial component of the relationship."

One man Berliet met said in his profile that he was willing to spend $10,000 to $20,000 per month to date and support a companion. To college graduates, who shoulder an average of $25,000 of debt, that's attractive.

SeekingArrangement gave "20/20" a list of colleges it said have the highest number of sugar babies. NYU was No. 1, and Harvard made the top 10.

Some of the men were looking for "arm candy" to accompany them to formal events, similar to a trophy wife, Berliet said.

Richard, a Las Vegas sugar daddy in his fifties who declined to give his last name, said these arrangements were a win-win.

"To help somebody and give them a better life and in turn, they give you a whole bunch of fun and companionship you might not achieve otherwise, that's a good return," he said.

But "companionship" means different things to different people. The term is not necessarily a euphemism for a sexual relationship; some sugar babies, though, say sex is part of the deal.

Berliet said most men she met during her two months as an undercover sugar baby expected "some sexual relationship."

"But this certainly isn't like prostitution," she said. "It was more akin to renting a girlfriend."

In her profile Berliet said she was seeking a "mutually beneficial relationship," the phrase of choice in the sugar daddy/baby world.

What does it mean?

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