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One in three students willing to use sex for free education

More than half of university students in England would be willing to enter a “sugar daddy relationship” in order to fund their higher education.

New figures from a London South Bank university research project with The Independent show that one in three students would be willing to exchange sex in order to obtain free education. This follows increasing concerns for the current generation leading education with large amounts of debt due to a rise in tuition fees and living costs.

Most current and former students that took part in the blind poll said that they would exchange their company with a stranger to get help with student finance. 70% of students said they feel stressed over money and 53% have to maintain a full or part-time job during their studies.

88% of students said they would be interested in having someone else paying for their education, and over half of the 1,477 participants revealed they would be “very interested”.

75% of participants said they would give some of their time to a “sugar daddy” figure. The survey asked “How far would you have gone for a free education supplied by someone who you were attracted to?” with 31% responding that they would be willing to use sex work.

University project researchers, Dr Julia Shaw and Gemma Daglish, said: “Openness to the idea of becoming a “sugar baby” is far higher than we had predicted.”

“What if we had asked people whether they were willing to become prostitutes for a free education? Do you think fewer people would have agreed? We think so.”

“Openness to the idea of becoming a “sugar baby” is far higher than we had predicted.”

“Sugar baby” was defined as someone who offers their company to a well-off, usually older, man or woman, who then looks after them financially.

“Sugar daddy” app Seeking Arrangement allegedly had nearly a quarter of a million UK students participating in the last year. This is a 40% increase over the previous two years.

Meanwhile, the question “How far would you have gone for free education supplied by someone who you were not attracted to?” saw a much lower figures, with 16% revealing they would use sex work.

The survey was split between 52% women and 45% men, as well as 3% who marked themselves as “other.”

A first-year English Literature student commented: “I’ve considered it before, but it would have to be with someone I find attractive.”

“I’ve considered it before, but it would have to be with someone I find attractive.”

National Union of Students’ (NUS) Vice-President Shelly Asquith commented: “In the context of rising tuition fees, rising rents and the scrapping of maintenance grants, it is no wonder that students are increasingly looking for new ways to fund their degrees.”

“In many cities across the UK, the average maintenance loan won’t even cover a student’s rent, let alone food and other living costs. Instead of tackling these problems the government continues to raise fees and cut financial support for students.”

“In the long term, we need to continue to make the case for a free education. In the short term, though, we need to work with universities to ensure that students who are engaging in sex work to fund their degrees are properly supported. Their safety should be a priority.”

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