Greek life can be one of the best parts of college. But how much does it cost to join a sorority? And what should you do if you can’t afford it? We’re answering all of your questions in this post.
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While joining a sorority has many benefits as far as finding community, networking, and participating in philanthropy, membership does have a cost.
To be able to host chapter events, philanthropy events, and social activities across the country, sororities require their members to pay dues and fees at local and national levels.
On average, the cost to join a sorority is somewhere between $1,000 and $4,750 per semester.
These numbers will look a bit different depending on the school, chapter, and living situation, but this is what most students pay to join a sorority.
Do You Have To Pay To Join Sororities?
In short, yes. You do have to pay to join a sorority in college.
Remember, sororities revolve around building sisterhood through a variety of social gatherings, philanthropy events, and shared living spaces AKA sorority houses. That all costs money!
To join a sorority, future members must take a variety of fees into account, including: new member fees, social fees, room and board, and rush registration.
How Much Does It Cost To Join A Sorority?
The exact cost to join a sorority varies by school and chapter.
On average, sorority members pays somewhere between $1,000 and $4,750 per semester for member dues, housing, application fees, recruitment fees, and social expenses.
Let’s look at a few real examples:
- Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) chapter at Clemson University charges $848 for new member dues and $460 per semester for active member dues.
- At University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Delta Gamma charges new members $1,194. Active member dues are $3,159 for in-house and $864 out-of-house per quarter.
- Lambda Theta Alpha at the University of Arizona charges new members $380 and active members $150 per semester. They have no housing requirement.
As you can see, dues can be hundreds or thousands of dollars per academic term.
What Do Sorority Dues Go Towards?
Each sorority manages their funds a little differently, though some dues are always designated toward the same thing.
For example, a percentage of sorority dues are exclusively for the national organization.
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) breaks down sorority dues into the following uses:
- chapter programming
- educational tools
- dues to national organization
- and sisterhood events.
Members of each sorority chapter vote to approve their budget annually or for each academic term.
These funds go towards things like social gatherings and philanthropy events.
The NPC goes into more detail, saying that money is also allocated for “educational programming,” insurance for each member, and “helpful resources to chapters” from the national organization.
For sororities that have a housing requirement, a portion of dues goes toward room and board.
Food may or may not be included with these dues, depending on whether that sorority uses housing funds for in-house chefs.
What Are The Different Costs Associated With Sororities?
As you can probably tell by now, there are many costs to joining and staying in a sorority.
Here are some of the different costs you can expect to pay for if you’re joining a sorority:
There are fees associated with signing up to be a recruit.
These tend to be between $50 and $150.
New Member Dues
Once you’ve been through rush and received your bid, you’ll pay the new member dues.
New member dues vary by school and chapter, but in general they’re around $600 to $900.
Active Member Dues
After your first year, you’ll still have to pay dues to stay active in the sorority.
However, active member dues are typically a bit less than new member dues. Many sororities charge their active members between $300 and $600 per semester.
A lot of sororities offer members the option to live together in a sorority house.
Many sororities actually require their members to live in a sorority house at some point after their freshman year.
The fee to live in a sorority house is called in-house dues.
In-house dues are often the most expensive costs associated with joining a sorority. Living in these houses can cost between $1,000 to $9,500 per semester, depending on the school and chapter.
It’s important to note that these fees typically include a meal plan, utilities (like internet and electricity), and house maintenance.
Depending on the school, this may be cheaper than living in dorms and paying out-of-house dues.
Aside from your membership dues, you should also factor in the expenses you’ll occur by attending sorority social events.
These include food and drinks, new outfits, hair and nails, etc.
While these aren’t mandatory expenses, they still should be factored in when deciding if you can afford sorority life.
How To Pay For A Sorority
Paying for a sorority may seem daunting, but there are many different ways to do it.
Here are some options for how to pay for joining a sorority:
Ask About Payment Plans
If you aren’t able to foot the bill from the get-go, some sororities offer a payment plan option. This allows you to divide up your dues into increments.
At Kappa Delta, this payment plan worksheet outlines the timetable for one academic semester of dues.
This includes payment amount and deadlines for each payment. It notes that payment plans do not actually change the amount of chapter dues.
Unfortunately, some chapters do not have payment plans available to new members. If your sorority doesn’t offer payment plans, you can look into other options like scholarships or grants.
Apply For Scholarships And Grants
Scholarships and grants don’t just exist in the academic world. Sororities also offer scholarship opportunities.
They typically range from $1,000 to $7,000. Examples include the Mary Louise Roller Scholarship, the Carole Jurenko Jones Scholarship, and the Sigma Kappa Courage and Commitment Scholarship.
Use Your Student Loans
It’s also possible to use your student loans to cover sorority expenses if you can’t pay them upfront.
Surveys conducted by LendEDU’s research team show that almost 55% of Greek life use student loans for dues.
Student loans are typically first disbursed to your student account, where your university will take out whatever tuition you owe for the period.
Then the remainder of the loan disbursement will be directly deposited into your personal account for education-related expenses like housing, textbooks, etc.
If you’re in a sorority, you can also use that remainder to pay sorority dues.
However, be careful when taking out too many student loans. You’ll eventually be required to pay those loans back with interest!
Consider A Part Time Job
Many undergraduate students work either full-time or part-time jobs to fund their education.
In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that as of 2020, 40% of undergraduate students worked full-time jobs and 74% worked part-time jobs.
So working during your undergraduate years is completely normal.
If working part time is what you need to do to pay your sorority dues, know that you’re most likely not the only one.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Sorority Dues?
According to Omega Fi, if you don’t pay your sorority dues, those dues will get sent to collections and you’ll then be kicked out of the chapter.
However, there are a few smaller steps leading up to those drastic actions.
After your sorority leadership team first contacts you about unpaid dues, you will be unable to attend optional events or receive sorority merchandise.
From there, you won’t be able to pick up a Little or be initiated into the chapter as a new member. Late fees will be added to your initial dues.
If you still don’t pay those dues after those consequences, they will get sent to collections and you’ll be kicked out of the chapter.
Hopefully this post answered all of your questions about how much it costs to join a sorority
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