College tuition prices have skyrocketed well over 1,100 percent in real dollars since 1978 across the United States. Students are taking on staggering amounts of debt. America’s middle class is seriously squeezed.  For students seeking to make some extra bucks to pay for tuition, Pornhub may be able to help. As incredible as it sounds, it would seem that the the gi-normous, Canada-based purveyor of porn smut wants to prove that they can supports the pursuit of higher education—even when it doesn’t involve sexy coeds banging their hot professors.  Pornhub.com, a leading pornography site with 78.9 billion online video views per year, has announced a $25,000 college scholarship, awarded partially based on a video an applicant submits answering the question, “How do you strive to make others happy?”  The rules are simple. Applicants need a 3.2 GPA, an essay answering the question “How do you strive to make others happy?” and an up to five-minute video that “elaborates on the good work you do and anything else you might want to say.”  The Daily Beast wrote that “judging by the press release, the campaign seems, at best, like a run-of-the-mill attempt by a large commercial conglomerate to buy good PR through charity. At worst, it seems like a sleazy attempt to trick cash-strapped coeds into submitting porn for free.”  But, it would seem that their is nothing “sexual” or “nasty” about this contest: While the website features porn, those who are seeking a future career with the company need not apply. That’s right: Pornhub is simply judging applicants for their hearts and minds. “We will not seriously consider anyone if they include explicit material in the video,” Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said via email. “We are not looking for that whatsoever. I want to make that abundantly clear.”  Pornhub already has a history of running contests to collect the best homemade porn submissions, so it hardly needs the scholarship program as cover.  “We have lots of opportunities for people to submit videos,” Price says when asked why an adult film site is establishing a scholarship that has nothing to do with porn. “We have a contest for newcomer of the month who gets $500 or the amateur of the month who gets $1,000.” The scholarship has a different purpose, said Price. “We wanted to reward people for their merit.”  Price said that it decided to offer the scholarship in honor of its newly launched charity, Pornhub Cares, after discovering most of its viewers were between the ages of 18 to 25. It saw this as a way to give directly back to the millennial community. “Pornhub Cares is a compilation of Pornhub’s past, present and future philanthropic initiatives,” he said. “The Pornhub Cares Scholarship aligns with our trajectory here at Pornhub, which is firmly set on providing happiness and opportunity through the worldwide community we have established. It’s about giving back and providing our fans with life changing experiences/opportunities.” Charity has proven to be a way to reach disillusioned millennials.  A survey by online publication Elite Daily and consulting firm Millennial Branding showed three-fourths of the age group said it was “either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.” Companies ranging from Unilever to Patagonia are dedicating their resources towards non-profit initiatives. 
While the scholarship is new, this isn’t the first time Pornhub has engaged in philanthropic activities. It filmed a PSA called “Save the Balls” in April, which coincided with Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, as well as offered a donation incentive to those who watched breast-themed clips during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2012. Sure, all the names of the campaigns were double entendres, but the company said its intentions were pure.  It ended up donating $75,000 during the “Save the Boobs” campaign to cancer charities and research organizations. Also in April, the porn powerhouse pledged to plant one tree for every 100 videos viewed in its “big dick” category. 
Apparently, not everyone is a fan of Pornhub’s charitable efforts. Feminist and sexual-violence groups quickly pounced on the scholarship, criticizing it as a way to get young women unable to afford college to make sexually explicit videos of themselves. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said in a statement that the scholarship was a “blatant attempt to exploit economically vulnerable young people” and get the mainstream to accept the porn industry. “If Pornhub truly cared about disadvantaged youth, they could give away scholarship money without exploiting thousands of teenagers,” said NCOSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said in an emailed statement.  “Pornhub is clearly using this so-called scholarship opportunity to fuel their own industry, where the number 1 search term in porn is ‘teen.’ While the application rules for this scholarship do not specifically prescribe that the video submission be pornographic, the fact that applicants must be 18 years of age makes Pornhub’ s motives quite obvious. This company is built upon a legacy of exploitation, and it is no more charitable in mind than a tobacco company that offers a scholarship to whichever teen can smoke the most of its brand-name cigarettes.”  Furthermore, “a lot of younger people don’t realize the consequences and harm of pornography,” she, told the Washington Post. “These videos follow them the rest of their lives and affect their jobs and relationships in the future … It’s really unfortunate we’re forcing our kids to sell their bodies to get an education.”  
Despite the backlash, Price said that the company is welcoming all applicants, regardless if they’re a human sexuality major or are leaning towards mechanical engineering. “Come one, come all,” he said. “We are open to all applicants, regardless of major.” Pornhub’s vice president, Corey Price, replied that people who are against pornography should reconsider applying, saying, “You don’t have to film a porn to be a winner.” Mike Williams, a Pornhub spokesperson, told USA Today that the winner will be chosen by a panel of Pornhub-chosen judges who will assess each candidate on a number of inherent traits such as leadership and creativity, alongside accomplishments including extracurricular activities and community service.  The contest is open to college or graduate school students who are at least 18 years old and a minimum 3.2 GPA. Applications are due Oct. 31.  
Paradoxically, many people actually turn to sex work to pay for their education. The most famous may be Miriam Weeks, aka Belle Knox, who turned to porn to pay for her tuition at Duke University. She earned national fame and has built a brand around being the Duke porn girl, but many other students practice sex work with much less fanfare to cover the high cost of secondary education. Before it was shut down by the feds, Rentboy.com established its own contest for male escorts to earn $1,500 to pay for their higher education, whether it was a four-year university or a vocational school.  Websites like SugarDaddie.com and SeekingArrangement.com have sprung up with the offer to hook up young college kids who need money with older, established men who want company.