greek life expensive

Greek life is all about maintaining a tight-knit social circle, making lifelong friendships, and learning about leadership. Most Greek recruits are not aware of the significant costs that go along with joining a fraternity or sorority. From pledging and initiation fees to special wardrobes and regular dues, the monetary commitment that comes from “Going Greek” can be add up! With a little preparation, you can avoid getting caught by surprise with unexpected expenses.


Depending on several factors, the costs of joining a fraternity or sorority vary. While some schools have self-supported fraternity/sorority housing, others charge monthly, initiation and event fees to its members. On average, expect to pay upwards of $1,500 a year to live the Greek life. Weigh the costs and benefits: If the lifelong friendships, networking opportunities and social life during your college career are worth the expenditures, then sign up!

Housing Fees

In a fraternity or sorority, each member pays for his or her own room and board. While this can generally be comparable to the costs of living in a dorm or residence hall, in many cases, it’s higher. Housing costs depend on the age of the house, the number of chapter members, whether the house has a mortgage, and the standard of living. Without the protection of a private residence, the risk of theft also rises. Beyond lock-and-key security, students are open to personal theft as well as identity theft, especially when using a house’s open wi-fi system. A service like Lifelock safeguards personal information when using any public wi-fi system, as well as if personal information is plucked from a wallet.

Recruitment

Most sorority and fraternities charge registration fees during recruitment. Registration fees are $10 to $75 and are usually non-refundable. In many cases, this fee covers the recruitment process, such as postage, printing, and travel. At more competitive schools, students find themselves forced to purchase new outfits to fit the “theme” of Greek parties hosted by the members for recruitment purposes.

Pledging and Initiation

Pledging and initiation can be the most expensive processes of Greek life. Once a student has been invited to join a fraternity or sorority, he or she pay an initiation fee to obtain full membership. Associated expenses include those of badges or pins, which vary from school to school. Annual dues for new members can reach upwards of $1,200, and for returning members, a fee of around $800. This is a big commitment for many students who are on a tight budgets.

Activities

Being in a fraternity or sorority means a major commitment to attend the events and activities lined up on the house’s social calendar. With each event comes the cost of a wardrobe, such as Greek tees or cocktail dresses, and miscellaneous items with the fraternity/sorority letters or crest. These are considered “extras” that are often not covered by membership fees. Plan on spending an additional $30 to $70 for each event and $20 to $30 a week for socializing with your Greek sisters or brothers.

While you interview fraternities or sororities ask about fundraising campaigns that help pledges defer expenses. Do as much research into the Greek houses as you did when looking for your university. During rush, ask members about monthly fees and activity expenses. And two or three years from now, remember your anxieties as you reach out to potential recruits!

This article was written by Amanda Gutierrez.   Amanda is a sorority alumnae and a freelance writer who writes for several health and fitness digital publications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is a licensed fitness instructor guest contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com.  If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!

As The Fraternity Advisor, Patrick Daley has written over 500 articles and helped over 1,000,000 undergraduates improve their Greek Organizations. He has delivered the keynote presentation at national conventions and is the author of two books – The Fraternity Leader and The Chapter President.






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One thought on “Is Greek Life Expensive and Worth It?

  1. While the components of this are right, the numbers seem low.

    In the several campuses I work with, avg annual dues vary between 1170 & 4350 for actives. That does not include additional expenses or event fees. Obviously the higher rate campus tend to be more all-inclusive on events, but there are still personal expenses as part of the lifestyle. That also does not include housing.

    Greek housing nationally costs slightly less than comparable on-campus housing (dorms) and is almost always competitive with or cheaper than area apartments. If you’re not competitive, you can’t keep your house full. For larger facilities/orgs that have meal plans, those tend to be competitive with on-campus meal plans as well. The difference is quality and input. When the campus meal plan is charging you $5-7 a meal, you’re not eating all the meals you pay for, and they’re mass producing generic cafeteria food, that’s not a great deal. Whereas a fraternity/sorority is the direct employer of their cook and can replace them if they aren’t satisfied with the product. They have a lot of input into menus. The good ones are turning out good home cooked meals all the way up to spectacular stuff that expands your pallet. And for the same money you’d be paying for instant mash potatoes & factory made pizza from the school.

    The pledging process isn’t cheap. Pledge dues are normally less than actives and may in some cases be zero (as Pat advises), but there are a lot of expenses in the start up end of the process from wardrobe to activities. There is a pledge fee that covers insurances & educational materials. There is an initiation fee which may or may not include your badge. Some of that is due up front, some isn’t due till later. But, generally that semester will be a bit more expensive than most active semesters, or at least you’ll be spending money on necessary things other than optional fun stuff.

    All that said, absolutely Greek life is worth the cost. I didn’t learn all that much in a classroom, but I learned a whole lot in a fraternity that allowed me to be successful in the world. Making grades is important, but a lot of what you get in classes isn’t helpful in the workplace. Whereas the interpersonal, business, networking, leadership, management, organization, etc skills you pick up through on the job training in a fraternity is invaluable. I cannot overstate that. It is the essence of the college experience that prepares you for life in the real world – so long as you make your time there productive anyway.

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