NEW YORK — The women who work at Moonlite Bunny Ranch Brothel may have unconventional jobs, but in one sense they’re just like the rest of America’s young adults: They’ve got student loans to pay off.
Owner Dennis Hof has more than 500 women working for him at his (legal) brothels in Nevada — Bunny Ranch is just one of them. And he estimates that about 18% of them have college debt.
He said student loans come up “every day in the interview process,” and he’s seen more and more college students applying to work for him.
So Hof said he’d start matching payments the prostitutes make toward their student loans over the next two months. He’s already helped a few workers he employs pay down their debt.
Hof is no stranger to a good headline. He recently published a tell-all book called The Art of the Pimp: One Man’s Search for Love, Sex, and Money. And he starred in the late-night TV series “Cathouse” about Bunny Ranch on HBO from 2005 to 2007. (HBO is owned by Time Warner, which also owns CNN.) So naturally he’s publicized his student loan program.
Still, he’s helping real women with big cashflow problems, like Krissy Summers. She was a cheerleader at the University of Michigan who had $40,000 in federal student loans. After starting work at Bunny Ranch, she began dating Hof, who agreed to match her debt payments. Hof said Summers was debt-free in 60 days.
Another worker, who goes by the name Caressa Kisses, was also carrying a $40,000 debt load. She said she left Bunny Ranch nine years ago to study as a surgical technician at High-Tech Institute, a for-profit school in Las Vegas. But she couldn’t find full-time work in her field after finishing the program, and she headed back to Bunny Ranch in 2012.
Caressa said she’d been making the minimum payments, but a floating interest rate made her debt load balloon back to $32,000. Hof started doubling her payments last year, and she paid off the last of her balance three months ago.
“I am so grateful that I did,” Caressa told CNNMoney. “Dennis [Hof] and The Ranch were my absolute saviors. I had no quality of life.”
Caressa said she was making the minimum payments on her loans before she came to the ranch, but now she can afford to write hefty checks with her Bunny Ranch earnings. As one of the top earners at the brothel, she makes as much as $30,000 a month.
Hof said he wants all of his workers to take care of their school debt, including newcomers like Taylor Lee.
Lee took out $33,000 to cover her studies, and she recently graduated from a community college in Kentucky where she studied applied science. Lee also said she struggled to find a job, especially one that paid enough to cover her loan payments.
She said she’s made more than $15,000 at The Ranch so far, and she’s making debt payments every week.
Hof said the matching payments will come out of the 50% cut he takes of clients’ payments to Bunny Ranch employees.