“Currently, I don’t know how I’m going to afford a little because during Big-Little week, every day there’s a theme, and the big buys a bunch of stuff for their Little and that can add up to be super expensive,” Alpha Chi Omega member Joanna Paik, SEAS ’20, said. Being part of a sorority or fraternity gives you a lifelong sisterhood or brotherhood, respectively. Copyright Spectator Publishing Company. After the newness has worn off, sisters and brothers are responsible for paying active member dues every semester. For both fraternities and sororities, a large part of these dues—usually around 50 percent—goes to the corresponding national organization. Because of new member dues, you can expect your first semester in a sorority to be the most expensive. Yikes! Another method to avoiding these additional costs is the decision to make dues more all-inclusive—a system employed by Columbia’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi—which allows for the costs of all social events like formals and retreats, as well as extra costs of drinks and food, to be covered by dues. Each fraternity and sorority is self-supported through dues charged to all members. Financial requirements are membership dues, which include a meal plan, social events, leadership training, sisterhood events, support to the local chapter and international organization, and more. For the most part, joining a sorority will add expenses to an already expensive four-year experience. “[Declining the bid] definitely does decrease my chances of getting in next time because it made me seem like I didn’t want it.”. The remaining money contributes to social events, philanthropy, house maintenance, and other chapter-specific costs. However, the cost of living in a fraternity or sorority house is generally comparable […] Usually, the first semester of membership is the most expensive because of one-time membership fees. She included all costs, from housing to little things like beer cozies and sweatbands worn for events. Although sororities started reporting the dues associated with each chapter during recruitment last year, fraternities still do not publicize their dues to non-members. “I am considering rushing again, but the financials are still really holding me back,” a Columbia College sophomore who received a bid during the last recruitment cycle but had to decline for monetary reasons said. That adds up to $5,200 just to be in a sorority. However, most Greek life organizations on campus have attempted to provide aid in ways that vary widely from chapter to chapter. In one year, in some houses, a member can expect to spend more than $800 on dues and chapter-specific costs ranging from apparel and gifts to formals and cruises. The cost of membership varies from chapter to chapter. Click the blue “on/off” icon and make sure it turns gray. Regular chapter membership dues, which can certainly also add up, are other hidden costs that many do not think about. That adds up to $14,800 for all four years. You’ll make friends who have similar values as you, but that also come with a diversity of backgrounds, interests, lifestyles, and more. After initiation into the sorority, the dues are reduced for the following semesters. According to data from the 2015-2016 school year, the least amount a UCF student would have to pay as a new member of a sorority is $956 per semester at Delta Zeta, compared with the highest amount – $2,346 – at Delta Delta Delta. Aside from the the first rush event—a Greek life mixer at which all fraternities are in attendance—every event is chapter-specific, meaning that there is no single event dedicated to explaining the finances of rushing fraternities. Associated expenses include those of badges or pins, which vary from school to school. This cost is doubled if the brother or sister pays for their date––which is often the norm, especially for fraternities. It's hard to nail down an actual average of basic costs, such as registration fees, dues and housing because every school is different. Those funds are often insufficient to support the need presented by potential members—and are sometimes insufficiently advertised those those debating Greek life. Unlike sororities, which disclose dues in the Panhellenic Manual, fraternities do not disclose dues at any set point during the rush process. Remember that even though these costs can be expensive, they are often cheaper than normal on-campus dorm housing. New initiate bond card and certificate fee. The only Columbia-wide offering is the Panhellenic Award, a need-blind form of aid eligible for students in the six Panhellenic sororities. That's all on top of living costs. Dues are around $400 for sororities per semester. Membership dues and housing costs are the most expensive costs of sororities. For them, it doesn’t seem like a sustainable social scene,” Sigma Delta Tau member Ngbemeneh said. Similar efforts to increase transparency have taken place at Dartmouth, which posts clear financial information regarding dues, costs, and aid on the university’s website, making the information available to students even before they step foot on campus. No matter what school you go to or what kind of family you come from, costs are definitely something to consider when making a huge commitment like joining a sorority. While not one of the largest sororities in the country, Phi Mu has arguably the best sorority house at its University of Alabama chapter. If you’ve planned important chapter initiatives that are costly, yet the benefits to the chapter outweigh the cost of losing them, put your scissors away. Formal—the event that most members attend each year—can cost more than $50 per person. In an article on Credit.com, Christine DiGangi broke down each expense by looking at her old credit card and sorority billing statements and estimating cash costs. But the lifelong connections you make and the experiences you have just have to be worth it to you. As fraternity rush comes to a close and next semester’s sorority recruitment approaches, the prospect of participating in Greek life will remain out of reach to many low-income students unable to afford the steep costs associated with being a member of a fraternity or sorority. At Penn State, sorority members pay $350 to $600 per semester, which adds up to $2,800 to $4,800 total. My college experience wasn't cheap, but I didn't have to pay initiation fees, recruitment fees or buy matching apparel for anything. Joining a sorority could mean spending almost $500 on just t-shirts over four years. I was never part of a sorority myself. Students who rush said that they see Greek life as one of the few clear ways to make friends and fulfill a lacking sense of community, especially on an isolating campus like Columbia’s. Most chapters offer payment plans for students, and scholarships may be available within the individual chapters as well. Before joining, create a plan on how you will afford the dues and be prepared to commit financially. With rush geared toward meeting brothers and becoming accustomed to Greek life, the burden falls on the shoulders of those rushing to learn about the financial options offered at each fraternity. 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