Atlanta students are using the online dating site whatsyourprice.com in growing numbers to earn quick cash by spending an evening with someone looking for a date.
The money they earn will goes toward tuition, fees and school supplies, especially books. Every year college book prices increase, causing students to need more money upfront.
Over 250 Atlanta college students have joined the site whatsyourprice.com, where they can auction off dates. A student can join the site and any site members can bid on him or her. The winning bidder pays the student money for a date, up to $250 per date.
Ninty-three percent of college students in Atlanta using the service use some of that money college textbooks, according to an internal survey.
Managers of the service can even track which schools members attend based on their college email accounts.
“When you sign up for the website, you sign in your email, and so we were able to count and rank the accounts accordingly,” said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager of whatsyourprice.com.
Once a person signs up for the site, they can then begin searching. The site will match up that person’s interests and try to find people that are most common to them. Once a male or female finds a contender they can then bid on the person. That person can then do three things: accept, decline or negotiate.
Then just like that the date is set up. “Going to Dinner” is the most common first date for all whatsyourprice.com members.
“Most of the people will give them half when they get started and half when the date has concluded, just for a sign of trust,” said Velasquez.
Junior Audrianna Guidry does not seem too concerned about students going on dates to pay for their books.
“I mean, hey, if people are willing to pay them, then who cares what they do with the money,” Guidry said.
Although she agrees that students can do what they want with their money, this is not something that Guidry would participate in.
“People do it, so it is what it is.” Senior Brandon Carver did not like the idea and speculated about what people do on these kinds of dates.
“It seems similar to possibly be the back page of prostitution. Who knows what happens on the dates,” said Carver. Like many students, Carver works his way through school but uses loan money to pay for his books.
Julie Kubala, a professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, is more concerned about why society thinks it is controversial.
“Who cares? Why does it matter that students are going on dates to get money for school?” Kubala said.
The idea of students going on dates to receive money reminded Kubala of the arguments around stripping. Some people have argued that it is okay to do it for college, which, to her, has always seemed like a problematic argument.
“People generally do these things for pretty much the same reason; they need the money, and they are flexible jobs,” said Kubala.
She also thinks that most student jobs are demanding and often sexist.
“Waiting tables or working fast food are also deeply exploitative, so if we want to talk about how people should not be exploited, that seems a much more important and challenging task, but also one that is more worthwhile,” she said.