Playboy found Hugh Hefner, 86, is a hit with young women.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 86, is a hit with young women.

A US-based dating website says it is helping more than 80 Brisbane students pay for university by connecting them with willing "sugar daddies".

The website, SeekingArrangement.com, has released a list entitled "Australias Top 20 Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Colleges of 2012", which shows the universities where alternative fee-help is most frequently sought.

While the University of Sydney topped the list, there were 45 students at the University of Queensland “seeking a mutually beneficial relationship” last year, and 37 at Griffith.

Company spokeswoman Jennifer Gwynn said that meant these “sugar babies” stood to receive approximately $3000 a month in allowances and gifts from a willing Sugar Daddy to help cover tuition and living expenses.

But she said it was not prostitution.

"As you can imagine, we get this question a lot," Ms Gwynn said.

"The key difference between being a sugar baby and being a prostitute is the relationship. A prostitute is conducting a transaction between a customer. Our site is a dating website for people seeking a certain type of relationship. The two are completely different."

Ms Gywnn said men and women engaging in these "sugar" relationships agreed on the terms of their arrangement up front, and in the case of users looking for educational support, that could mean payments for textbooks and other learning materials.

"Sex is never required, though it may be aspired to," she said.

"The reality is, most sugar relationships resemble a typical boyfriend-girlfriend type relationship, with an added financial component."

According to company figures, there are roughly 7680 sugar babies in Queensland seeking various types of arrangements, and 530 "sugar daddies" and "sugar mommies" willing to offer their support.

The numbers were far greater in Sydney, where there were 14, 500 sugar babies, 800 sugar daddies and mommies last year. Melbourne had 9210 sugar babies, and 640 sugar daddies and mommies.

A spokeswoman for the University of Queensland said the matter wasn't something the institution was familiar with, or would make comment on.

The UQ Student Union was also approached for comment. 

Ms Gywnn said the number of student memberships increased significantly around the world, with 58 per cent more students seeking a mutually beneficial relationship than the year before.

In Australia, schools in New South Wales and Victoria have experienced the most growth in new memberships, she said.

"I think in most nations the cost of a good education and getting by in life while you get an education is higher than it should be," Ms Gywnn said.

"While Australia is often applauded for its student loan program, the cost of living is still very high, and the job outlook low. It's a disconnect. Making an investment in your education doesn't always guarantee you a good job after all is said and done."

Presumably, that's where another sugar someone steps in.

Where the sugar babies are:

1. The University of Sydney 137

2. The University of Newcastle 114

3. Deakin University 106

4. La Trobe University 99

5. Curtin University 94

6. The Australian National University 89

7. The University of Adelaide 85

8. Edith Cowan University 78

9. Monash University 77

10. Victoria University 74

11. The University of Melbourne 69

12. Australian Catholic University 64

13. University of South Australia 58

14. The University of Western Australia 53

15. RMIT University 51

16. The University of Queensland 45

17. Macquarie University 42

18. Griffith University 37

19. The University of New England 35

20. Murdoch University 33