Want to get a good look at how much it costs to join a fraternity or sorority? The expenses can pile up, even if many are discretionary.
For sororities, you start with a $45 recruitment fee. Then, you pay an average of $657 in first semester dues – which include about $195 in initiation fees. And that’s for one semester.
Dues drop to an average of $462 twice a year after that. Still, if you’re in a sorority such as Pi Beta Phi, that fee is still $600.
On top of that, expenses include $20 t-shirts for fraternities’ philanthropy events, about $50 to bring a date to formal, at least $200 to stock your little’s room with bags of candy and alcohol and $10 charges for missing chapter meetings.
And for members who choose to live in Greek housing, a double room in Townhouse Row your sophomore year will cost $2,950 more than a bed in Fulbright.
But Greek leaders want you to know that the costs are manageable.
Chi Omega president Madeline Bardi agreed, and said all spending – besides the semesterly membership dues – is optional.
“I think that’s a big myth in Greek life, that you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to get the most out of your experience. But you really don’t have to spend more than your dues,” Bardi said. She added that there are scholarships and payment plans in nearly every chapter.
National organizations take large chunks of members’ dues, about 25 percent in some chapters, to cover things like “operating costs and computer technology fees,” according to a spokeswoman for Pi Beta Phi’s national organization.
Eily Cummings, the organization’s marketing and communications director, added that chapters have mostly free rein over how to spend their remaining dues pool.
Compared to colleges where the majority of students participate in Greek life, such as southern state schools, GW runs a “no frills” recruitment process, meaning sororities have a limited budget and use fewer decorations and props during recruitment.
“There’s definitely a difference when you’re talking about types of dress, types of activities, how long it lasts,” Cummings said.
Panhellenic Association president Rachael Abram said paying the membership fees is an adjustment for any member, particularly those not expecting to go Greek at GW.
“When you go to a big state school, you expect to pay $1,000 in dues when you sign up for recruitment,” Abram said. “GW is not a school where people are expecting to go Greek.”
–Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report