Earlier this week, a couple of media outlets took the bait on a press release by soft-core prostitution website seekingarrangement.com, which purports to introduce college women to wealthy men. The “arrangement” referenced by the name: Students get tuition money in exchange for, um, companionship.
The gist of the story was this: Temple University had the third-largest number of arrangement-seekers in the nation last year. Cue the guffawing. The only problem: It’s probably bull.
Those universities named in the report are among the biggest in the country. It’s no surprise that the number of “babies” — as the site’s public relations manager, Leroy Velasquez, calls them -— rises roughly in proportion with the size of the school. Tulane University, 14th on the list, has a rate of sign-ups similar to that of No. 1, Georgia State. Moreover, there isn’t much evidence that the data actually capture all students. For the most part, they count anyone who signs up with a .edu email address. And the company has no data to suggest that students have actually entered into these arrangements.
“It’s very difficult to track that,” says Velasquez. “All we have are sign-ups.”
One thing, he says, is clear: “We’ve seen an increasing trend — and we attribute it to a slow economic recovery and increasing tuition rates.”