“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.”. Sure, a t-shirt costs $20 one time, but after many different events each semester, it all adds up quickly. 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). 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. 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. She included all costs, from housing to little things like beer cozies and sweatbands worn for events. That's all on top of living costs. “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. 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. At the end of the article, DiGangi expresses how she feels about the costs in hindsight. This is a big commitment for many students who are on a tight budgets. 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. All sororities are willing to work with their members on an individual basis to create payment plans if necessary. The first semester will be the most expensive because recruitment, registration and initiation fees are piled on everything else. Advertise | Donate | Read the latest issue | Newsletter. But sorority members at the University of California, Berkeley cough up $3,500 to $4,200 per semester including housing and food. Of the 11 fraternities in the Columbia Interfraternity Council, eight did not respond to Spectator’s requests to disclose dues. However, once you are initiated, the dues decrease, but how much it decreases depends on the individual chapter. This is the most important thing: Being in a sorority is EXPENSIVE. “I can’t even imagine a first-year really understanding the cost.”. While most fraternities and sororities have begun to implement forms of institutional aid, these initiatives are outpaced by student need. If you live in the sorority house, housing and meal costs are an additional expense. 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. This strategy—common across both fraternities and sororities—is one of the primary methods of alleviating the overwhelming price of semester dues. Click the blue “on/off” icon and make sure it turns gray. After the newness has worn off, sisters and brothers are responsible for paying active member dues every semester. I wouldn’t know about all this stuff if my best friends weren’t in sororities now,” the Columbia College sophomore said. 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 was never part of a sorority myself. Pledging and initiation can be the most expensive processes of Greek life. Joining a sorority could mean spending almost $500 on just t-shirts over four years. 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. Unlike sororities, which disclose dues in the Panhellenic Manual, fraternities do not disclose dues at any set point during the rush process. 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. 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. If you may be in need of financial assistance for membership, many chapters offer payment plans and scholarships. Cost of membership in a Greek organization varies, depending on the organization and housing options. 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. 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. You’ll make friends who have similar values as you, but that also come with a diversity of backgrounds, interests, lifestyles, and more. Being part of a sorority or fraternity gives you a lifelong sisterhood or brotherhood, respectively. 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). Already branded with a reputation for exclusivity, Greek organizations are made even more inaccessible by high dues and a host of hidden expenses. 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). Remember that even though these costs can be expensive, they are often cheaper than normal on-campus dorm housing. “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. However, most Greek life organizations on campus have attempted to provide aid in ways that vary widely from chapter to chapter. 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 … Other fees may include membership education, social activities, national and local dues, and upkeep on the chapter house After those initial payments are made, your student’s only expense will be semester dues. Obviously, sororities are organizations that need some funding to function. 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. 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. 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. However if you drop out of the sorority after you have been initiated, you are NEVER able to go through sorority recruitment again!! Type 'www.columbiaspectator.com' into the smaller textbox and click 'Add Domain'. 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. 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 … Again, this is dependent on the school and sorority, but with all the activities you do in a sorority, dues can be expensive. Women pay national and chapter dues, plus new member fees, which all vary by organization. Citations: Here's What It Cost Me to Be in a Sorority for 4 Years (Credit.com), How Much Do Sororities Cost? For both fraternities and sororities, a large part of these dues—usually around 50 percent—goes to the corresponding national organization. She lived in the sorority house for some, but not all, of her four years in college. At the University of Florida, sorority members pay around $3,700 per year, and that includes housing. 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. 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. New and Active Member Dues . Spectator is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. What is the most expensive sorority? After initiation into the sorority, the dues are reduced for the following semesters. 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. Yet, most of these events are not covered by dues and require members to pay out-of-pocket if they want to participate. I'm sorry that I cannot be implicit, but initiation fees, dues and donations for various activities add up rather quickly. “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.”. Other universities have assembled task forces or conducted studies to address the wealth gap within Greek life, with varying degrees of success. My college experience wasn't cheap, but I didn't have to pay initiation fees, recruitment fees or buy matching apparel for anything. The $13 million, 39,444-square-foot home features a baby grand piano and a chandelier that once hung in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which is what the whole house feels like. 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. 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. The only Columbia-wide offering is the Panhellenic Award, a need-blind form of aid eligible for students in the six Panhellenic sororities. (Campus Explorer), Here's What It Cost Me to Be in a Sorority for 4 Years. With the help of student loans and loaned money from her parents, DiGangi was able to make it work. There are many good reasons to join a sorority, but the benefits come with a pretty large price tag. Others—like Delta Gamma or Sigma Delta Tau—have funds where sisters can contribute to the dues of other sisters. But, not all college kids have to pay fines for missing meetings or getting too drunk at parties like sorority members do. 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. Some people think joining a sorority is basically "buying friendship," but anyone who has joined one will tell you that's not always true. Yikes! 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. Yes, living in sorority housing can be cheaper than on-campus housing, which is often required for undergrad students on most campuses. 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. Membership dues and housing costs are the most expensive costs of sororities. Badge fee. Click on your ad-blocker icon and select 'Options'. “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. Weighing the price of becoming a sister for life is different for every person. pledging, initiation, badge or pin fee, etc.) There are not-so-tiny fines of upwards $100 for each breaking of a fraternity or sorority rule. “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. Huge parties and living accommodations aren't free, people. Costs are paid directly to the fraternity/sorority. At Penn State, sorority members pay $350 to $600 per semester, which adds up to $2,800 to $4,800 total. At the end of the day, there is no cheap way to do sorority life. 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. Dues are around $400 for sororities per semester. For them, it doesn’t seem like a sustainable social scene,” Sigma Delta Tau member Ngbemeneh said. 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. Usually, the first semester of membership is the most expensive because of one-time membership fees. Most new members are also responsible for social expenses and numerous extra fees, too. “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. That adds up to $14,800 for all four years. That's a lot for t-shirts you'll end up giving away or throwing out. Annual dues for new members can reach upwards of $1,200, and for returning members, a fee of around $800. pledging, initiation, badge or pin fee, etc.) • 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- However, the cost of living in a fraternity or sorority house is generally comparable […] 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 can see how much the costs vary. 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. Regular members pay between 250 to 320 dollars each semester. 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. Cost of Sororities and Fraternities: Active Member Dues. 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. During “Big-Little week,” each big surprises their little with gifts, food, and clothes. 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. Those funds are often insufficient to support the need presented by potential members—and are sometimes insufficiently advertised those those debating Greek life. Is it expensive to be in a sorority? That adds up to $5,200 just to be in a sorority. Greek life for international students. ] This cost is doubled if the brother or sister pays for their date––which is often the norm, especially for fraternities. Most colleges and sororities have payment plans if you need it, and each sorority’s dues should be shared during recruitment. Here are some examples, but keep in mind every school and chapter are different. Because of new member dues, you can expect your first semester in a sorority to be the most expensive. 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. Being in a sorority isn’t cheap. 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. The average cost of New Member Dues is $1,700 for Fall semester. Get the latest news and top stories delivered to your inbox. There are a lot of the cost factors people overlook before joining a sorority. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. 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. Greek life for international students. ] “I was kind of looking for like a home base. Regular chapter membership dues, which can certainly also add up, are other hidden costs that many do not think about. Her final breakdown came to $16,015.21 for the four years she was part of a sorority. 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