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Joining a Sorority or Fraternity: A Big Financial Decision

Joining Sorority or Fraternity

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Considering joining a sorority or fraternity? Then you’ve probably heard people say something about “paying for your friends.” While I joined a sorority in college, I certainly never felt like I was paying for friendship. I came away with lifelong friends, but at the same time, I really did pay.

Let’s look at the cost of joining greek life with the fees I was charged:

Fees for Joining a Sorority

New Member Fee: $65

Initiation Fee: $210

Housing Fee: $50

Average Quarterly Membership Fee: $210

Going with these amounts and assuming you join freshman year, you can expect to pay: $2,845

That number doesn’t even factor in purchasing letters, paddles, events, big/little, and other *ahem* party supplies. According to reports, the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester. While the average fraternity member will pay only $605 per semester. Yeah, it’s always more expensive being a woman.

Is Becoming Greek Worth It?

Don’t get me wrong, greek life was an amazing experience at my school. With a male to female ratio that was heavily skewed toward male, it was nice to come together with a group of ladies I truly loved spending time with. But now that college is behind me, thinking about the average sorority member spending more than $10K over four years gives me heart palpitations.

Before you pledge, consider your priorities for that money and decide for yourself if it’s worth it. There are plenty of other ways to do fun things and make a difference during your college years. Join a few clubs, volunteer at a local organization, or study abroad. I’ll safely bet that none of those will cost you as much as greek life does.

Advice on Paying Your Dues

If you can’t pay for your greek life in cash–DON’T DO IT.

This is a temporary experience that is not worth putting yourself in debt over. Plus, you’re most likely going to come away from college with massive student loans that will follow you around for years to come. There’s absolutely no reason to add to the mountain. I promise you can find other ways to have a well-rounded college experience.

Even if you can afford to pay your dues in cash, you still may want to consider holding on to that $10K so that once you’re done with college, you can start hacking away at those loans. It’s amazing how costly school can become when you add interest into the picture.

You Have Three Financial Options

Okay Option: Join a sorority or fraternity freshman year and pay for dues in cash. You’ll hopefully have a really enriching experience that you might consider priceless one day.

Good Option: Wait for a year to join and then pay in cash. There’s plenty to do and get used to your freshman year, so save money on greek fees.

Best Option: Don’t go greek. Work your part-time job and save $10k so that you can pay your student loans down faster.

Need more help with planning your financial future during and after college? Read our post on 9 Smart Financial Goals for Your 20s.


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