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I wouldn’t know about all this stuff if my best friends weren’t in sororities now,” the Columbia College sophomore said. 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. At the University of Florida, sorority members pay around $3,700 per year, and that includes housing. I'm sorry that I cannot be implicit, but initiation fees, dues and donations for various activities add up rather quickly. Click the blue “on/off” icon and make sure it turns gray. For both fraternities and sororities, a large part of these dues—usually around 50 percent—goes to the corresponding national organization. She included all costs, from housing to little things like beer cozies and sweatbands worn for events. The remaining money contributes to social events, philanthropy, house maintenance, and other chapter-specific costs. This average includes what is required. • Most of the fraternities and sororities have reduced dues for members on co-op • New member dues are typically more expensive • The student would live in the fraternity house over the summer (most of the sorority houses close for the summer; but you can imagine that finding on- or off- “I can’t even imagine a first-year really understanding the cost.”. With these barriers of entry, students involved in Greek life noted that most of their fellow members were from affluent backgrounds. The first semester of membership if the most expensive due to many one-time fees (house corporation fee, initiation fee, etc.). 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. For the six sorority chapters under the Columbia Panhellenic Council, dues average $650 for new members and about $400 for returning members, with some houses decreasing dues based on the season or length of membership. Again, this is dependent on the school and sorority, but with all the activities you do in a sorority, dues can be expensive. Other fees may include membership education, social activities, national and local dues, and upkeep on the chapter house She lived in the sorority house for some, but not all, of her four years in college. This is a big commitment for many students who are on a tight budgets. Weighing the price of becoming a sister for life is different for every person. The number of students who express interest in joining fraternities or sororities has increased every year, with hundreds of students going through the rush process last year and close to 20 percent of the student body currently involved in Greek life. For them, it doesn’t seem like a sustainable social scene,” Sigma Delta Tau member Ngbemeneh said. Get the latest news and top stories delivered to your inbox. Greek life can be a rewarding and special experience, both during your college years and post-grad, too. That's a lot for t-shirts you'll end up giving away or throwing out. Greek life for international students. ] During “Big-Little week,” each big surprises their little with gifts, food, and clothes. Even with efforts undertaken to make Greek life more accessible, low-income students said that the explicit costs of Greek life—and pressure to cover implicit costs—ultimately contribute to a sense of alienation. You can see how much the costs vary. The money spent is friendship earned, I guess. Before joining, create a plan on how you will afford the dues and be prepared to commit financially. At Penn State, sorority members pay $350 to $600 per semester, which adds up to $2,800 to $4,800 total. The cost of membership varies from chapter to chapter. If you may be in need of financial assistance for membership, many chapters offer payment plans and scholarships. Remember that even though these costs can be expensive, they are often cheaper than normal on-campus dorm housing. Of the 11 fraternities in the Columbia Interfraternity Council, eight did not respond to Spectator’s requests to disclose dues. There are many good reasons to join a sorority, but the benefits come with a pretty large price tag. Sorority members pay dues each semester. But, not all college kids have to pay fines for missing meetings or getting too drunk at parties like sorority members do. That adds up to $14,800 for all four years. For the six sorority chapters under the Columbia Panhellenic Council, dues average $650 for new members and about $400 for returning members, with some houses decreasing dues based on the season or length of membership. New and Active Member Dues . And while most fraternities and sororities have begun to implement scholarships and other forms of institutional aid, these initiatives are scattered and inconsistent across houses. After four years there, sisters will have paid $28,000 to $33,600 to be in a sorority. If you live in the sorority house, housing and meal costs are an additional expense. 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. Huge parties and living accommodations aren't free, people. That's all on top of living costs. It is important to remember that sorority membership is the most expensive during the first semester due to one-time new member fees (i.e. Sure, a t-shirt costs $20 one time, but after many different events each semester, it all adds up quickly. This strategy—common across both fraternities and sororities—is one of the primary methods of alleviating the overwhelming price of semester dues. Yikes! But the lifelong connections you make and the experiences you have just have to be worth it to you. With the help of student loans and loaned money from her parents, DiGangi was able to make it work. Most chapters offer payment plans for students, and scholarships may be available within the individual chapters as well. At the University of Florida, sorority members pay around $3,700 per year, and that includes housing. Social events such as formal, semi-formal, crush, retreat, and Big-Little week—where older members welcome new members—optional, but they remain integral to being a part of the community. 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. “I’m not ashamed of my background, but it’s humiliating when you have to explain your entire life story,” the Columbia College sophomore said. What is the most expensive sorority? But sorority members at the University of California, Berkeley cough up $3,500 to $4,200 per semester including housing and food. Unlike sororities, which disclose dues in the Panhellenic Manual, fraternities do not disclose dues at any set point during the rush process. Is it expensive to be in a sorority? Then, if you chose to accept a bid to a sorority, your first semester dues as a new member will range between $400 and $800 depending on the chapter. Her final breakdown came to $16,015.21 for the four years she was part of a sorority. Being in a sorority isn’t cheap. Joining a sorority could mean spending almost $500 on just t-shirts over four years. Most new members are also responsible for social expenses and numerous extra fees, too. Initially joining will be the most expensive aspect, but it is still expensive after you become a member. Another formative part of the sorority experience is having a “big,” an upperclassman whose role is to welcome a new member—a “little”—into the community. Badge fee. It is important to remember that sorority membership is the most expensive during the first semester due to one-time new member fees (i.e. Regular members pay between 250 to 320 dollars each semester. The first semester will be the most expensive because recruitment, registration and initiation fees are piled on everything else. While not one of the largest sororities in the country, Phi Mu has arguably the best sorority house at its University of Alabama chapter. “Let’s say I do join one; once I’m in it, what am I going to do when I have to be the odd one out that says ‘I can’t go to that because I can’t afford it’?” the Columbia College sophomore said. This cost is doubled if the brother or sister pays for their date––which is often the norm, especially for fraternities. (Campus Explorer), Here's What It Cost Me to Be in a Sorority for 4 Years. 490 Riverside Drive, Rm 414, New York, NY 10027, Announcing Spectator’s 145th managing board, House Hunters: Try one of these unconventional places to live next semester, ‌Roommates 101: Finding the right roommate. Dues are around $400 for sororities per semester. Some dream of being part of a sorority for years, while others don't think about it once until rush week. Many sorority members refer to their big as a key reason why they love their sorority, yet the opportunity to become a Big can revolve around the ability to pay. Annual dues for new members can reach upwards of $1,200, and for returning members, a fee of around $800. Members also have to pay for apparel like t-shirts (everyone has to match), alcohol, social events like other fundraisers, clothes for themed parties and gifts for younger members. We use advertising revenue to subsidize the cost of providing journalism to the campus, and to fund over fifty students who are on our work-study program. 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. 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. However, most Greek life organizations on campus have attempted to provide aid in ways that vary widely from chapter to chapter. Costs are paid directly to the fraternity/sorority. Regular chapter membership dues, which can certainly also add up, are other hidden costs that many do not think about. Once you are an initiated member, the price of dues decrease for your remaining semesters. It's hard to nail down an actual average of basic costs, such as registration fees, dues and housing because every school is different. Membership in a sorority comes with a financial requirement, which should be taken into consideration. Interviews with over a dozen current fraternity and sorority members have shown that, in addition to dues—which are not published anywhere by fraternities, unlike sororities—many of the costs associated with Greek life don’t become apparent until after the rush process is complete. Greek-letter organizations have been self-sufficient since their inception. Because each house has varying dues and support, low-income students who are not accepted into a more-supportive house of choice may be unable to join an organization at all. Citations: Here's What It Cost Me to Be in a Sorority for 4 Years (Credit.com), How Much Do Sororities Cost? Some people think joining a sorority is basically "buying friendship," but anyone who has joined one will tell you that's not always true. Girls joining a sorority chapter will pay the most amount of money their first semester, between 500 and 700 dollars according to the fall 2012 Formal Sorority Recruitment booklet. Beta’s dues are $600, which falls on the higher end of the spectrum for fraternities, but—according to President Justin Borczuk, CC ’18—they help prevent brothers from having to pay out-of-pocket. Dues, what you must pay to participate in the sorority, can range from $250 – $1000 PER SEMESTER! Beyond the cost of dues, members are faced with a number of small, unannounced costs that can add up to pose a significant financial burden. Type 'www.columbiaspectator.com' into the smaller textbox and click 'Add Domain'. It is expensive to join either sorority, but I cannot give you a number amount as it is not a concrete amount annually. “[Declining the bid] definitely does decrease my chances of getting in next time because it made me seem like I didn’t want it.”. And although the open structure of sorority recruitment allows potential members to interact with all sororities at the same time, there is a mutual selection process in which both the potential members and sororities rank their preferences at the end of each day, with no guarantee that low-income students will be selected by the sororities that have lower dues or provide better scholarship opportunities. Yes, living in sorority housing can be cheaper than on-campus housing, which is often required for undergrad students on most campuses. So yeah, joining a sorority is a bigger financial decision than you'd think amidst the fun and excitement of rush week. 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. and we suggest that you anticipate the total fees using the higher projections provided below. “Even though no one has to know my financial background and my low-income status ... subconsciously it’s going to take a toll on me and the way I perceive myself.”, rahil.kamath@columbiaspectator.com | @columbiaspec. Copyright Spectator Publishing Company. Because of new member dues, you can expect your first semester in a sorority to be the most expensive. The only Columbia-wide offering is the Panhellenic Award, a need-blind form of aid eligible for students in the six Panhellenic sororities. “I was kind of looking for like a home base. However if you drop out of the sorority after you have been initiated, you are NEVER able to go through sorority recruitment again!! “I think you’re in the dark. At the end of the article, DiGangi expresses how she feels about the costs in hindsight. Each fraternity and sorority is self-supported through dues charged to all members. Click on your ad-blocker icon and select 'Options'. Additional information regarding the average chapter dues at the University of Alabama may be… Here are some examples, but keep in mind every school and chapter are different. Although sororities started reporting the dues associated with each chapter during recruitment last year, fraternities still do not publicize their dues to non-members. 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. If you’re a small chapter, sisters may not need to pay too much comparatively, but sorority dues can often reach over $1,000 per student per semester. Some—like Alpha Omicron Pi, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Sigma Nu—have in-chapter scholarship funds that funnel alumni donations or fundraising money toward aid for dues. Despite the widespread appeal of Greek life as a means to find community, for many, the community it offers is unapproachable from the start because of the baseline cost of dues. Last year, it was awarded to three recipients, covering their dues for a semester, according to Lynley Matthews, the Panhellenic Council’s Vice President of Finance. 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. However, once you are initiated, the dues decrease, but how much it decreases depends on the individual chapter. Although a Big can resort to cost-effective options—like handmade gifts—and a number of chapters offer ways to obtain hand-me-down apparel for discounted prices, many choose not to, citing pressure to impress their Little and housemates and, in many cases, to post pictures of the gifts on social media. No method is consistent across all chapters, and the majority of any chapter’s scholarship resources‚ if any, are provided on a case-by-case basis. Please consider helping us out by whitelisting our site in three easy steps. Students in this position said in many cases that they would rather drop out of recruitment or forfeit their bid than reveal their economic status. This is the most important thing: Being in a sorority is EXPENSIVE. “Since everyone is publicizing what they did [for their little], if you don’t step up or go all out, it looks like you don’t care,” Marisa Ngbemeneh, SEAS ’20, said. It does not include the cost of the formal attire that many people buy or rent for the event, or the cost of transportation to and from the venue, which is usually off-campus. After those initial payments are made, your student’s only expense will be semester dues. At UNC, for 2018, new members pay between $575 to $2,500 in new member dues in the semester when they … “February came at a time when I was unsure where I felt like I fit in,” Sigma Delta Tau member Nicole Fischbein, CC ’20, said. The average cost of New Member Dues is $1,700 for Fall semester. This standardization is facilitated by the use of payment plans, which allow members to pay their dues in scheduled installments over a longer period of time. A report published by the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life at Princeton explored the demographics of students who participate in Greek life, 75 percent of whom had a family income of over $75,000 per year. Membership dues and housing costs are the most expensive costs of sororities. pledging, initiation, badge or pin fee, etc.) The new member fees vary by chapter and range from $670 to $1,940 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. Contracts of chapters with housing typically include room and board, as well as social fees, local and national dues, and some incidentals. Dues—which all participants in Greek life must pay to retain active member status—are the first and most prominent barrier encountered by most low-income potential pledges. “Everyone gets a ton of apparel like shirts, water bottles, hats, and pants, and it’s just a lot to afford.”. Being part of a sorority or fraternity gives you a lifelong sisterhood or brotherhood, respectively. Associated expenses include those of badges or pins, which vary from school to school. All sororities are willing to work with their members on an individual basis to create payment plans if necessary. There are a lot of the cost factors people overlook before joining a sorority. Greek life for international students. ] All rights reserved. “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. 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. Each chapter will … 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. That adds up to $5,200 just to be in a sorority. Damn. 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. The first semester as a sister is usually the most expensive, and sorority girls at the University of Georgia, for example, will find themselves paying $1,570 in Panhellenic dues … Other universities have assembled task forces or conducted studies to address the wealth gap within Greek life, with varying degrees of success. After the newness has worn off, sisters and brothers are responsible for paying active member dues every semester. There are not-so-tiny fines of upwards $100 for each breaking of a fraternity or sorority rule. Spectator is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. Members are required to pay dues, whether by month, quarter, semester or year. Usually, the first semester of membership is the most expensive because of one-time membership fees. According to interviews with members, however, most chapters’ dues fall between $400 and $600, while dues for pledges can be slightly higher than those for returning members. My college experience wasn't cheap, but I didn't have to pay initiation fees, recruitment fees or buy matching apparel for anything. This can present a problem for students trying to decide which fraternity to invest time and effort into rushing during the short, two-week process. Formal—the event that most members attend each year—can cost more than $50 per person. At the University of Michigan, a larger public college, dues for the first semester of sorority membership range from $220 (an unhoused chapter) to $1,753 (a housed, on-campus sorority). Women pay national and chapter dues, plus new member fees, which all vary by organization. In general, the initial new member semester is the most expensive due to some one-time fees. Many groups use financial management companies, which offers online access and monthly payment plans. Penn State and the University of Mississippi don't offer housing for sororities, but members must pay either monthly or per semester to be a part of them. Sororities at the University of Mississippi provide estimates for in-house member dues of $2,900 to $4,200 per semester Living in-house as a member of … Advertise | Donate | Read the latest issue | Newsletter. “SDT does a really good job of making resources available, but I could definitely see there being a pressure to buy new clothes and other stuff.”. Many fees, such as pledging and initiation, are one-time expenses (sorority new member fees average $405.50; fraternity new member fees average $333.38). Others—like Delta Gamma or Sigma Delta Tau—have funds where sisters can contribute to the dues of other sisters. That adds up to $14,800 for all four years. “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. On the other hand, schools like University of California, Berkeley and the University of Florida offer housing for sororities, and the fee to be a member is included in the per semester or per year cost. I was never part of a sorority myself. New initiate bond card and certificate fee. Most colleges and sororities have payment plans if you need it, and each sorority’s dues should be shared during recruitment. And finally, here's the sorority house to top them all—Phi Mu at The University of Alabama unveiled their new $13 million dollar sorority house to much fanfare (and Internet acclaim) in 2016. Cost of membership in a Greek organization varies, depending on the organization and housing options. Already branded with a reputation for exclusivity, Greek organizations are made even more inaccessible by high dues and a host of hidden expenses. However, the cost of living in a fraternity or sorority house is generally comparable […] “I know that the pool of people who rush and get in is most likely people who don’t come from a low-income background, so people are deterred because they can’t see themselves in that kind of community in general. All Greek life members can apply to scholarships offered by their respective national societies, but these opportunities are not guaranteed and depend on the alumni endowment of each organization. I thought that Greek life provided a good opportunity for that.”. At the end of the day, there is no cheap way to do sorority life. Columbia has no such centralized information about the costs of Greek life (Associate Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Jazmyn Pulley was not made available for an interview). And then there are colleges with expensive membership fees that don't include anything else, like at the University of Southern California, where sorority members have to pay an additional $1,300 per year. 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. Yet, most of these events are not covered by dues and require members to pay out-of-pocket if they want to participate. Those funds are often insufficient to support the need presented by potential members—and are sometimes insufficiently advertised those those debating Greek life. pledging, initiation, badge or pin fee, etc.) 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 … Pledging and initiation can be the most expensive processes of Greek life. Fraternities and sororities pay their own way through dues, membership fees and one-time new member or initiation fees. “It’s going to have to come out of the [work study] wages that I make here, and that’s like three months worth of wages for me to join a sorority just for one semester.”. Obviously, sororities are organizations that need some funding to function. Lived in the first year of membership in a sorority ” each big surprises their with... People overlook before joining a sorority, he or she pay an initiation obtain. 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January 9, 2021