'What Would You Do?': Student plans to become 'sugar baby' to pay off debt

As millions of Americans live with student debt, some have turned to unconventional measures for income. What happens when diners learn this student wants to become a “sugar baby” to pay her debt?
7:53 | 08/05/20

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Transcript for 'What Would You Do?': Student plans to become 'sugar baby' to pay off debt
So, by the time I finish college, I'm going to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt. So, I have a plan to avoid that. Have you ever heard of a sugar baby? A sugar baby? Don't laugh! There are women who find men to pay their bills and buy them things. You just have to go on dates and hang out with them. In the United States, student debt is close to topping $1.7 trillion. With more than 44 million Americans living with student debt. The topic became a big part of the democratic primaries. We are going to cancel all student debt in this country. And student debt has prompted some to take unconventional measures. The average sugar baby receives about $3,000 in monthly allowances. Sugar babies are even the subject of rom-coms, like this one called "The new romantic." I have made $67,000 in gifts. Am I a prostitute? No. A gold digger? Maybe. A sugar baby. I don't know if that's a good idea, Scarlett. It's good money. You overhear a young woman laying out the controversial plan she has to help secure her future. Otherwise, I might have to drop out. So, sometimes you just got to do what you got to do for some extra money. What would you do? It's lunchtime at the Jefferson diner, and this father is out with his teenage son. Lock, I know that this is, like, a scary thing. It is. It would mean a lot to me. It is, and you don't seem scared. And that's even scarier than the idea of you being a sugar baby. They're listening as our co-ed lays out her plan to pay for her education. I don't have any job. I don't have any income. Like, I need this. I have to do this. And it would mean a lot for me if you would just support my decision. He stays quiet throughout his meal. But on his way out -- You really need to re-examine your life choices. Seriously, that's not viable. We catch up with him. I have a real issue with it. I'm a father that has three daughters. I'm dumbfounded, in this day and age, that a woman would allow that. You're a woman. There's more empowerment for you, especially in the workforce. So, use your brains. We're rolling again, and now Scarlett storms away. And this young woman joins the conversation. I've know a few people who have done that. It's just like paid company. If you needed the money for tuition, would you do it? If you needed the money to pay your tuition though, you do it? I couldn't do it. But like -- I don't know. I guess to each their own in a way. I personally feel like, for myself, I couldn't judge a friend doing that. But I would express that, like, I am concerned. I'd want her to, like, text me her location. You know, like, tell me the name of the person she's with. Keep me updated and stuff. Wow, pretty interesting. Like, at least have the comfort of knowing she's doing it in a safe way where she wouldn't get hurt. Safety is also a core concern for these parents. Our daughter's 38, and the times have changed a lot, but I don't know. It's frightening. It sounds like prostitution to me. And sometimes, if your employer finds out what you did before, that could be the end of your career. Next, we meet this woman out with her girlfriends. Scarlett, you are selling your body to pay for your tuition. That's weird. Go girl. Go girl! And she surprises us with her take. She's trying to become a sugar baby. I got what you're saying. I have heard of that, because there are men that are wealthy that just want a companion. They just want someone to go out to dinner with. Some -- listen, don't get me wrong, she's probably going to get propositioned, but that's her choice. But there are people that just want to take care of somebody. I don't see anything really wrong with that, as long as you know what your limitations are. You can even have a contract written before. I've seen that done, too. What if they want sex? But what if they do want sex? That's where she says, contract says no, and then you got to look for somebody else. Or you charge them another $10,000. That's your choice. I'm surprised you're supporting it. Thank you. Thank you, guys. Listen, she's not trying to raise money to go on a cruise. She's trying to raise money to give herself an education and have a good start in life. But do her friends agree? Well, what do you guys think? How old are you? 19. If we could have done our lives over again, I would have done that in a heartbeat. No, I don't know. In a freaking heartbeat, I would've done it in a heartbeat. Be careful. Wow, this is pretty amazing, huh? She's uneasy about Scarlett's plan, but she has another idea that most people would find out of the ordinary. Honestly, you know what I think you should do? Instead of doing that, go to a strip club. Dance. Yeah. More safer. You think? Yeah, because they have people around you. Should I tell my parents? If you're doing that, yes. I don't know why. What if something happens? If she's going the other route -- Parent should know. If I were you, instead of the parents, I would like a friend you can trust. Hello, ladies, how are you? Oh . I'm John Quinones. Oh my god. How are you? Good! Good to meet you. Listen. It is it what it is. There are legitimate people out there that just are looking for companions. Do you have to be careful? Absolutely. What did you think? I was afraid for her. Would you do it? No, I wouldn't do it. What's the moral of the story here? The moral of the story is, there's a lot of ways to make money to help people indirectly and directly, as long as you're careful, safe and smart. All right, let's go. We're rolling one last time. Scarlett, do you want to tell them what you were thinking about doing instead? No, I don't. What was you thinking about doing instead? It's basically -- she was trying to do the sugar daddy thing. And this diner doesn't think Scarlett's sugar baby plan is all that sweet. You may think you're doing something and it goes towards tuition -- 95% of the people that do this, guess what they never do? Spend their money on tuition. Because the money starts getting good and what they think they have, they spending it elsewhere and they be living this limelight. Great. This is good. This is really good. So he tries to offer her some alternatives. As a career counselor for 15 years, I'll tell you this. There's plenty of ways out there to pay. You got all kinds of scholarship opportunities out there. Yeah. You got all kinds of grants out there. You can come out of school debt free. See, it's not just me that thinks about that. But he's not done yet. Slide over. He joins our actors at their table with just one more bit of advice. My whole motto to all my kids has always been like this. If you go out in life and you do something, ask yourself this question. Would I do it if my daddy was here? Don't take a quick buck because a quick buck -- every dollar that you have today, nine times out of ten, that dollar is spent before you put it in your pocket or your purse. Time to say hello. Somebody coming in. How you doing, my man? I'm John Quinones. I know this face. Why was it so important that you say something? It's important to know that you don't have to do all these things to get where you want to get in life. My advice to her is to think about what you did before you do

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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