Recruitment season sparks financial conversation
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
As various fraternities and sororities across the campus prepare to recruit new members, prospective Panhellenic members weighing the social aspects of the Greeks must also have some financial considerations to make.
According to 2010 alumni Casey Collier, a former member of Lamda Pi Chi sorority, fraternities and sororities do not have an official financial aid program in place, but members have been known to help fellow sisters pay for membership.
“Money should not be a deciding factor,” Collier says. “It’s more about the experience, something that’s meant to transcend college.”
Donations from current students and alumni alike have helped girls maintain membership, Collier says.
Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Adam Cantley stated in an email message that dues pay for national membership costs, insurance and social and philanthropic events throughout the year, but the total cost fluctuates according to factors such as chapter size and housing.
“The average cost of dues ranges on the low end of $100 a semester to $800 a semester for a Greek organization,” Cantley says. “Since they are all private national organizations, the university has no role in setting dues for individual chapters.”
Information about costs and handling of dues is public information and must be made available to any member who asks, Cantley says. He also says some Panhellenic sororities provide information about dues during recruitment and distribute printed books of information detailing costs.
A member of the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha can expect to pay $510 for one semester, says senior and Lambda Chi Alpha President Kye-Hyun Cho. Lambda Chi’s dues are spent paying their international chapter and the university, as well as any kind of operating costs for philanthropic or brotherhood events, he says. In addition, insurance constitutes a large portion of the costs.
Academic Greek organizations report lower costs with honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi costing anywhere from $100 to $150, says Treasurer Michelle Markiewitz. The fees go directly to the fraternity, she says, and help pay for their brotherhood retreat, regional conferences and their formal.
“We budget our money wisely to make sure we’re using funds correctly and we have a strong fundraising committee,” Markiewitz says. “By fundraising in other ways such as program sales at the football games or other promotions on Main Street, brothers can donate their time in order to raise funds for the fraternity, as opposed to paying large amounts in dues.”
As national organizations, many fraternities and sororities have scholarships or payment plans for members, Cantley says. He says the plans help to defer costs or spread them out evenly to make payments more manageable.
Cho says costs should not deter students from rushing fraternities or sororities.
“Brotherhood isn’t about whether you can afford it or not,” he says.
While some fraternities or sororities have no official financial aid program in place, most are more than willing to work with the student.
In Zeta Phi Beta sorority, the fee structure is secret until the prospective member is deemed a good fit for the organization, Malika Warner, the vice president of the graduate chapter of Zeta Phi Beta in Wilmington, says. If the student is unable to pay dues, Warner says the sorority will work on an individual basis to make sure the student can join. She says dues have been tailored to fit the student’s needs.
“I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been able to join because of funds,” Warner says. “It’s just not part of the criteria.”
However, junior Tyler Yoder says dues send a message about status to Panhellenic prospectives. Some people join the Greeks in order to buy status, he says.
“It’s like buying your own happiness,” Yoder says. “Greek organizations can be broken down by affluence.”