The Bottom Line: True Costs of Going Greek

Joining a sorority, fraternity, or any other social group on campus can be a great way to meet new people, get involved in the community, and create lifelong friendships. Greek students are very social, and houses participate in a number of events during the school year, including intramural sports, dances, homecoming parties, and Greek week. But there are certain expenses you should consider before joining a fraternity or sorority:

  • Pledge and initiation fees: These are onetime fees that you pay when you join, and the amount varies from house to house.
  • Dues: Dues typically cover your membership fee, activities, administrative staff, and other chapter expenses for the year. Dues vary depending on the house, but they usually range from $200 to $1,500 per year.
  • Social events: Greek social events include everything from costume parties to formal events. The costs for drinks, dinner, outfits, photos, transportation, and favors can quickly add up.
  • Philanthropy: Most Greek organizations have a charity they support each year. As a member, you often are expected to make financial donations and to volunteer.
  • Living requirements: Members of fraternities and sororities often are given the option—or mandate —to live in the house for at least one year. Houses charge fees for living in the house on top of yearly dues, but the living fees usually include meals. You’ll want to compare these expenses with living off-campus and in a residence hall.
  • Miscellaneous expenses: T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jewelry with your Greek letters are very popular, but they can be expensive. In some chapters, it is expected of members to buy presents for their “big” or “little”. Make sure you consider these expenses when deciding whether to rush.

If you are thinking of joining a fraternity, sorority, or social club, talk to members to find out what they typically spend each year, because expenses differ from organization to organization. During formal recruitment, ask for a detailed statement of a member's financial obligations before deciding to become a member.

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