When a college If a student decides to go Greek, the cost of membership, in addition to fees due each semester, can add up. And for some students who commit and are accepted, these financial obligations come as a surprise.
But recently, schools and organizations have made great strides in being transparent about membership costs.
“The chapter I joined was very upfront about new member dues,” current Delta Gamma member Azurrea Curry told the University of Mississippi, wrote in an email. “Before even visiting the Philanthropy Round houses, each chapter had to share their new and active member dues through Greek Day videos.”
There are almost 600,000 members fraternities and sororities in the United States and Canada, according to Cody Cramer, director of communications for the North American Interfraternity Conference. Chapter membership fees vary by campus, ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per semester. Costs are typically highest for new members due to one-time sign-up and initiation fees.
“I am primarily responsible for paying my own dues and am financially independent at the school. Therefore, after the first day of videos during recruitment where each chapter had to post their dues, I made the first cuts based on how much new members’ dues would be,” Curry said.
Chapter dues and other fees
Many organizations provide detailed information about chapter dues, national dues, and financial obligations, either during the recruitment process or online.
In addition to broader dues like national dues and charter fees, Greek life organizations include smaller dues that potential members should be aware of. These costs include:
- Room and board
- Meal plans
- Social costs
The National Panhellenic Conference has worked with its 26 national women’s sororities in the United States and Canada to explicitly discuss financial obligations before and during recruitment. The organization requires sororities to be transparent about potential members’ financial obligations before inviting them to join, according to Dani Weatherford, the group’s CEO.
“We know that finances, like other membership responsibilities, are something potential new members and their caregivers need to know about before making a decision,” she says. “Because once you join, it’s a commitment for life. We want these women to understand both the privileges of being a member and the responsibilities that come with membership.”
Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, where about 26 percent of female students and 19 percent of male students participate in Greek life, publishes a breakdown of the average costs of its fraternities and sororities.
For the 2022-2023 school year, the minimum amount a Lehigh student would have to pay as a new member of a sorority was $660 per semester for Kappa Alpha Theta, compared to the highest amount – 1,512 $.50 – for Alpha Phi.
To join a fraternity at Lehigh, the cost for a new member ranged from $206 at Sigma Phi Epsilon to $1,400 at Delta Upsilon per semester for 2022-2023. At its Greek Cultural Council, made up of cultural fraternities and sororities, the new membership fees per semester ranged from $450 at Phi Sigma Chi to $1,200 at Sigma Gamma Rho.
Costs can vary widely
However, websites vary in the information they provide. Some give average costs for students that include chapter dues, room and board. Other schools provide a detailed list of expenses.
“The sorority experience is not a one-size-fits-all experience from campus to campus,” Weatherford says. “On some campuses the community is quite large and the chapter may have over 300 women, while others may have 25. On one campus there may be housing, and that is completely separate from something like a dues structure. But on another campus, the women of a particular chapter might live together in a university-owned dormitory.”
At University of Alabama, where some sorority houses were featured in Southern Living magazine, the highest price for a member not living in the chapter house – who is not a new member or freshman – for 2022-2023 was nearly $5,000 per semester, including a meal plan. and local and national chapter fees. Living in the house can cost up to about $9,400 per semester and includes room as well as a meal plan and local and national chapter fees. (Both amounts do not include one-time pawning fees.)
For members who do not live in the house, chapter fees may include lounge fees – which generally cover maintenance of the common areas of the chapter house – owed to the local and national chapter, social fees and other charges .
Experts say that for the most part, fraternities and sororities located on the same campus tend to have similar chapter fees.
Many colleges also recognize multicultural fraternities and sororities, which bring together students of similar backgrounds and identities, and these fees vary as well. For example, Alpha Psi Lambda, a Latin American fraternity of Miami University of Ohio, charges a new member fee of $285 and an active member fee of $170. These fees are $80 and $150, respectively, for alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an Asian-interest sorority located in Syracuse University At New York.
Individuals interested in joining a sorority or fraternity should refer to their school’s Greek affairs website for cost information.
Financial Aid for Greek Life
Academic, need-based, and emergency scholarships are available for students interested in joining Greek organizations in many locations. For example, 26 sororities awarded $6.6 million in scholarships during the 2022-2023 school year, according to Weatherford.
Jason Bergeron, executive director of the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors, which represents college professionals who oversee Greek life on more than 700 campuses across the United States, has seen a recent increase in the number of sororities and fraternities concerned financial accessibility.
“Many fraternities and sororities are really addressing issues of generational privilege, affordability and access for low-income students, and inclusion at all levels,” he says. “Part of this is discussions about affordability and how can we provide access to people of all socioeconomic levels coming to college? »
For prospective students and families interested in learning more about the cost of participating in Greek life, experts recommend contacting the fraternity and sorority counseling office on campus.
“Each individual council or chapter can provide this information,” said Joe Wheeless, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote in an email. “Additionally, each organization provides this information to interested students during the recruiting process.”
Are you trying to finance your studies? Get tips and more from US news Paying for college center.