Why, for some, "I have money" is more powerful than "I love you" …

"They make sure I focus on things that are important. They take care of the rest."

If you're strapped for cash, in school and struggling to make ends meet by feeding yourself a steady diet of poverty ramen, those are magic words.

They're also words that Vanessa, a college student the Denver Post interviewed, can say. Vanessa is paying her tuition by dating not one, but two much older men in exchange for money, and if you haven't figured it out yet, these men are the "they" in her quote above.

Vanessa is what's called a sugar baby, a.k.a. a typically younger man or woman who seeks financial support from well-off elders — and she's part of Colorado's explosive sugar dating trend.

In Colorado, there's a burgeoning population of primarily college-aged women who are turning to rich old men as a means to make ends meet amid soaring expenses, the most of which are college tuition, student loans and Colorado's insane cost of living.

Currently, CU Denver students pay an average of $13,500 in annual tuition and typically graduate with a crushing $23,000 worth of debt, according to the U.S. Department of Education college scorecard. Add to that the fact most Denverites are spending half their income on rent, which is running about $1,800 a month, it's easy to see why Colorado's young people are being put in increasingly more precarious financial situations … situations that no ordinary post-grad job can remedy.

For Colorado's young people, it's a Catch-22. Work more and get more money, but fall behind in school. Spend more time studying and doing internships, and suffer financially.

"I was picking up shifts left and right," Vanessa tells the Denver Post. However, with her two regular sugar daddies who ensure her nursing school externships don't overwhelm her, she's been "able to focus on school." Which, if you think about it, is probably a good idea for someone who will likely be the one inserting a catheter into your urethra next time a visit to your friendly local hospital is in order.

The potential to cut down on work shifts and focus on education and getting ahead in life probably explains why the University of Colorado  ranked 18th out of 20 fastest-growing sugar baby schools for this past year.

In 2015 alone, at least, 66 CU students joined sugar dating site Seeking Arrangement as sugar babies, a more than a 60 percent jump over the previous year. By the end of last year, 175 known CU student sugar babies were registered on the site.

The University of Colorado Denver is also getting in on the action with 105 registered students out of the nearly 10,500 undergraduates.

But it's not just tuition assistance these sugar babies get. In addition to a monthly "allowance" that can vary from $500 to $3,000 or more, sugar babies also receive assistance paying their rent, car payments, phone bills and have their leisure activities covered by their daddies. Not to mention the occasional one-off gift; a trip to Vegas with a $1,000 shopping spree, a Fendi purse or a dinner date at some Michelin star joint, just because.

But while that kind of compensation is auxiliary to survival and more of a luxury than a necessity, sugar relationships really do make a monumental impact in young women's futures.

"I'm not going to graduate in debt, which I think is pretty unique for a 23-year-old American," Vanessa tells the Post.

To us at least, that in itself is perfect rationale for snuggling up to a guy who was born before the moon landing happened.

By far, the most popular place sugar daddies and mamas meet sugar babies is SeekingArrangement.com. Since 2006, they've successfully set up relationships between well-to-do older men and women and young adults who are looking to be supported.

How that support works out, however, is entirely up to the participants. While some babies negotiate sexless relationships fueled more by a mutual need of companionship or the potential for mentorship, others enter into a sexual relationship if they feel there's a spark there.

However, although commonly requested, sex is not presumed in sugar dating. In fact, sugar relationships have some of the best drawn-out boundaries because of their transactional nature and the inherent assumption that there will be mutual benefit. For some, that means sex. For others, not necessarily.

In fact, some sugar daddies just like to spoil.

"They're eating ramen noodles at home, and I take them to the Chart House," an anonymous sugar daddy from Greeley tells the Post. "They've got nothing, and I treat them like a little princess. They eat that up."

This particular sugar daddy has given $3,000 a month in cash to his most serious sugar baby, who he views more as a companion than anything else.

When the companionship becomes "serious," he said, sex is involved.

"I want something that feels more like an actual girlfriend," he said. "I want something that's somewhere between a normal relationship and an arrangement."

That's probably the biggest difference between sugar dating and what some people would see as prostitution.

"With this, there's chemistry," Vanessa said. "There are feelings. You talk every day. You text every day. You travel with them. You go to dinner. It's like any dating relationship. They're just successful enough to give you gifts, too."

As we speak, Seeking Arrangement boasts more than 2,700 sugar daddies and 202 sugar mamas, according to the website. More than 15,300 Denver women — some college students, some not — are using the site as a sugar baby, and nearly 2,300 Denver men are registered sugar babies, too.

Of course, any time a consensual exchange of money for time occurs between two people who wouldn't necessarily be there otherwise, questions about consent arise. Because some sugar babies and daddies do end up exchanging sex for money, there are concerns about the possible victimization of the young adults involved. Currently, some experts are doubting that the vulnerable financial place many sugar babies are in allows them to grant true consent.

"You have the huge power imbalance with gender, age, class and sometimes race," Joanne Belknap, an ethnic studies professor at CU says in the report. "Are they consenting, or is this just, 'I really need to get a college degree, and I can't do that working at Starbucks a few hours a week.' Yes, legally, they're adults, but it just seems highly exploitative to me."

Interestingly, law enforcement tends to disagree. They tend to err on the side of the argument that says that since sugar dating sites advertise facilitating consensual connections, it's not illegal.

"It's not like they're making them do it," said Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez.

So while the astronomically expensive cost of tuition and Denver continues to increase, it doesn't seem like there is quite as much coercion and vulnerability as there could be in other relationships of transaction, such as prostitution or escorting.

However, if this is something you're interested in doing, you should still watch yourself.