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-   -   The sorority cost/money/financial thread. (http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?t=135229)

KSUViolet06 07-24-2013 07:56 PM

The sorority cost/money/financial thread.
 
{The money talk happens everywhere on GC, so I wanted to make a central place to talk (to PNMs and anyone else) about money. The treasurer/housing corp/financial peeps, rejoice.}

So you want to join a sorority? Awesome. In case you have not guessed, it costs money.

It is actually required of Panhellenics to provide PNMs with some sort of cost/financial info. However, it's up to your school HOW they choose to provide it.

Your school might be awesome (like mine was) and provide you with a detailed cost breakdown outlining every single thing that is going to require money for the entire year.

Others will just give you a ballpark number such as "Costs per year range anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000."

If you get a ballpark, assume and plan for the higher side. Don't assume, "It won't be that high." Even if you get a bid to $2,000 chapter, it may end up being more like $4,000 if those costs don't include socials, parlor fees, etc.

Also, even if you're given good info, consider that there are some chapters who are "all-inclusive" meaning that you pay what appears to be a higher cost, but have things built into your dues like formal tickets, favors, etc.

For example: An all inclusive chapter might have first year costs of like $5,000, but include tickets to all your socials, favors, all tee shirts for every event etc.

Non-All Inclusive might be $4,000. It seems less expensive, but you pay separately for tickets, parking, socials, out of pocket.
There is merit here in that you can CHOOSE whether you'd like to attend x party or formal, rather than pay automatically for the tickets. There are pros and cons to each!

Also consider live-in costs. Sometimes it's cheaper than the dorms, sometimes it's equal. Many times (particularly with the level of awesomeness in a lot of newer chapter houses), it costs more. There are also some chapters who REQUIRE you to live in the chapter house for a certain length of time. You are not a special snowflake, you will be expected to do it. Keep that in mind.

There are OTHER costs associated with being Greek that don't always show up in the financial info such as having a Little Sister, craft supplies, etc. as well.

In addition, there are chapters who may fine members for missing events, meetings, etc. Keep that in mind as well.

Most importantly, consider your financial resources before deciding to pursue recruitment. This is a lifetime commitment and as such, it carries a financial commitment as well.

Do you need to be super mega rich to join? No! But as soon as you get that bid, there are going to be financial responsibilities coming due (really, like you get a bid and many times your first payment of NM fees is due prior to your NM ceremony.) You need to have a plan for how you are going to afford it.

Too often, members join, not thinking of the cost. Then once they realize that it is super costly, they depledge or even worse, terminate their memberships.

Please avoid wasting sorority time and ensure that you have a plan in place to address sorority costs should you receive a bid.

Note: A plan is not assuming "oh my parents will pay." Don't assume. You need to get confirmation that they'll do so (and be upfront with THEM about how much it may cost.)

Additional note: A plan is not, "I'll take the bid worry about it later." No because in 4 weeks you'll be all "omg I can't afford this and I'm dropping out." Ain't nobody got time for that.

Really bad idea: assuming "Oh they have payment plans." Some do, some do not allow it.

Part-time jobs are a good plan, especially one that's flexible with student schedules.

I guess the point of this thread is to talk money/allow you to ask questions and encourage you to do your homework on costs before you commit.

So you got a bid! For the active sorority member.

Congrats! Now pay your dues, on time. All the time. Your chapter and National HQ depend on it. There is no chapter if no one pays.

Don't pay your dues? Some sororities do not allow you to participate in certain things. Don't be all "Why can't I go to date party?" when you have a $1,200 balance. Nonpayment may even cause you to lose your membership. most importantly, it shafts your sisters whom you say you care about. (not being dramatic, every missing dollar impacts the budget and falls on others.)

Be financially smart: If paying dues is hard for you one month, maybe you don't need that new Lilly sorority bag. You'll survive without it. I promise. Necessities first, extras second.





Titchou 07-24-2013 08:38 PM

Excellent, my dear!

lilabelle 07-24-2013 09:23 PM

I have a question for those more "in-the-know" with a variety of schools - would you advise PNMs who are concerned about money to inquire during parties what all the money covers? Like maybe she can afford a chapter that's $5000 a semester all inclusive, but not one that's $4000 plus money for socials, etc. I know advice here is generally to not go through recruitment if you aren't prepared to find a way to afford the most expensive chapter (in case you fall in love wit them and they bid you), just curious.

TiareNoire 07-24-2013 09:24 PM

^^Someone beat me to my question! Haha.

thetalady 07-24-2013 09:30 PM

I am a while out of school, but I am pretty sure that costs are covered by the sororities during one of the parties. You should NOT ask the actives during a rush party. Advisors, please correct me if this is not accurate.

MaryPoppins 07-24-2013 10:04 PM

I've always thought that there needs to be a matrix like this:

Chapter | New . . . . | Active | Active . | Room & | Parties & | . . Standard
. . . . . . . | Member . | (Fall) . | (Spring)| Board/ . | T-Shirts, . | . . Badge
. . . . . . . | Fees . . . . | Fees . | Fees . . | Semester | Etc. . . . . . |

ABC . . | . . . $2,500 | $1,600 | $1,600 | $4,000 . . | . . . .$700 | . . $150

DEF . . | . . . $3,500 | $2,000 | $2,000 | $4,000 . . | . . . . . .$0* | . .$0*
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *Included in Fees

GHI . . . | . . . $1,500 | $1,200 | $1,200 | $4,000 . . | . . . $1700 | .$100

And so on . . .

So rarely is this done effectively, on a level playing field, or made understandable to the PNM without a foreign language interpreter.

FSUZeta 07-24-2013 10:09 PM

Often times,with diligent searching on a college's greek life website, or in the greek recruitment guide distributed prior to recruitment (in the summer for fall rush), costs are listed. It may take some digging.

You could also contact the greek life office and ask for the high and low sorority costs- I imagine that you would not have to identify yourself.

For instance, the costs of each chapter at FSU are listed in the 2013 recruitment guide here (financial info. is on page 10):

http://greeklife.fsu.edu/Current-Mem...To-Recruitment

MaryPoppins 07-24-2013 10:47 PM

From the Ole Miss web site:

"What are the costs of joining a fraternity or sorority?

The Registration fee for Formal Recruitment is $100. It is due when you submit your application form online. The costs associated with the individual chapter dues are fairly subjective. We highly encourage potential new members to ask about the financial costs of each chapter during the first round of Recruitment. It is a very common topic of conversation, and should not be an awkward question. Typically, most chapters will address this issue up front. The average dues are about $350 per month, which includes membership fees, meal plan, social parties, t-shirts, and other items. For some groups, some of these costs are separate from the main dues. But please note, each house is different, this is simply an average estimate. It is also noteworthy that after the first year, dues are somewhat less because of the costs associated with initiation." Link
http://dos.orgsync.com/greek_parents

I think this is insufficient. And suggesting that a PNM ask the Chapter during recruitment is malpractice per se and unrealistic. That being said wonderful changes have been happening at the Greek Life level at Ole Miss, I just hope they know that there is more ground they need to cover before they slow down on the improvements.

KSUViolet06 07-24-2013 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaryPoppins (Post 2227295)
I've always thought that there needs to be a matrix like this:

Chapter | New . . . . | Active | Active . | Room & | Parties & | . . Standard
. . . . . . . | Member . | (Fall) . | (Spring)| Board/ . | T-Shirts, . | . . Badge
. . . . . . . | Fees . . . . | Fees . | Fees . . | Semester | Etc. . . . . . |

ABC . . | . . . $2,500 | $1,600 | $1,600 | $4,000 . . | . . . .$700 | . . $150

DEF . . | . . . $3,500 | $2,000 | $2,000 | $4,000 . . | . . . . . .$0* | . .$0*
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *Included in Fees

GHI . . . | . . . $1,500 | $1,200 | $1,200 | $4,000 . . | . . . $1700 | .$100

And so on . . .

So rarely is this done effectively, on a level playing field, or made understandable to the PNM without a foreign language interpreter.

My alma mater does something very similar

Every chapter hands out sheet with a table on it with the following cost items :

NM Fee
Badge Cost (most basic)
Initiation fees
Dues (fall)
Dues (Spring)
Room & Board
Live-in requirement (1 or 2 years)
Live-out/parlor fees
Estimated social costs (date parties, etc.) and y or n if they are inclusive.
Fines (indicating if they fined for anything like missed chapter, etc.)
Payment plans offered (y or n)
Optional costs (eg extra tees for events, etc.)
Total costs for 2013-2014

You get one of these sheets at EVERY chapter. By the end of the first day, you know exactly what you're getting into cost-wise.

They were given out at COR as well.

ASTalumna06 07-24-2013 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaryPoppins (Post 2227314)
From the Ole Miss web site:

"What are the costs of joining a fraternity or sorority?

The Registration fee for Formal Recruitment is $100. It is due when you submit your application form online. The costs associated with the individual chapter dues are fairly subjective. We highly encourage potential new members to ask about the financial costs of each chapter during the first round of Recruitment. It is a very common topic of conversation, and should not be an awkward question. Typically, most chapters will address this issue up front. The average dues are about $350 per month, which includes membership fees, meal plan, social parties, t-shirts, and other items. For some groups, some of these costs are separate from the main dues. But please note, each house is different, this is simply an average estimate. It is also noteworthy that after the first year, dues are somewhat less because of the costs associated with initiation." Link
http://dos.orgsync.com/greek_parents

I think this is insufficient. And suggesting that a PNM ask the Chapter during recruitment is malpractice per se and unrealistic. That being said wonderful changes have been happening at the Greek Life level at Ole Miss, I just hope they know that there is more ground they need to cover before they slow down on the improvements.

Here's a random question, which I'm sure has been asked on Greekchat before, but I just missed it...

How is the recruitment registration fee spent? Is this money distributed to the chapters? ..Is it used by Panhellenic for the bid day hoopla? ..Something else? I imagine it could vary by school - and I don't want to completely derail this thread - so if someone could just throw out there a few possible ways it could be spent, that'd be great.

Just curious...

Titchou 07-24-2013 11:06 PM

No, it does not go to the chapters. Typically it might cover any meals or entertainment/convocation expenses for the PNMs, tee shirts for the PNMs and PH Council and the Recruitment counselors, possibly meals and other incidentals for the PH recruitment team, name tags, etc.

DubaiSis 07-24-2013 11:07 PM

To answer the question about asking about costs during a party, it is recommended that you don't. One reason is because talking money is kind of frowned upon in polite circles. But really, more importantly is if you aren't speaking with the treasurer, you can't guarantee the information you're getting is accurate. I have no idea, seriously at all, what sorority membership cost me. I know it was not a lot and our house was in line to a little cheaper than others, but the costs were all on my u-bill, which my parents paid (don't be too stoked for me.... I paid the student loans for about FOREVER). So if you'd have asked me during rush I'd have had to him and haw and desperately try to get someone's attention who could answer you. Conversation comes to a screeching halt... BAD party.

If your school is good, they lay it all out in a spreadsheet for every sorority and there are no questions. If you are at a bad school (where it applies to this), do the best you can to figure it out, and then once you are an active member, get yourself on Panhel and get that fixed!

TiareNoire 07-24-2013 11:12 PM

My school's recruitment guide only list the monthly chapter dues and housing costs but nothing else, like the new member fees and such. Also, I emailed the Greek Life office and only received an estimate for a new member about $750-900 pertaining to the whole year. I supposed since it wasn't listed in detail as it is for the other two major schools in my state, it would just be best to see how it is, if it is, mentioned during recruitment. I just wondered as I found a chapter site for one of the sororities on my campus and they have a "questions to ask during recruitment" guide on their page and the financial commitment was listed as a possible question to ask. Hmm.

DubaiSis 07-24-2013 11:25 PM

I would start by asking your rho chi (or whatever they guides are called at your school). They are usually the ones to disseminate the information. If they can't help you, then by day 3 of rush, it's time to ask during a party. Since you can't take paperwork (or ANYTHING) away from a party, it's pretty tough for the sorority to share much with you.

amanda6035 07-24-2013 11:45 PM

In my experience, the matrix listed above wouldn't work at a small campus with only 2 or 3 chapters because then you run into a situation of one chapter appearing to be more affordable than another, but yet on another campus with more chapters, you don't want to be known as the "cheap sorority" either.

I don't know if this is a problem anymore, but a few years ago on one campus I work with, it was like pulling teeth to get accurate, fair information to provide to PNMs. One chapter on campus was reporting the bare minimum to panhellenic, and NOT telling the PNMs about how they fined out the wazoo (which is why they were able to afford listing their dues so low). My chapter preferred to list our dues as all inclusive, but finally had to pull a few things out and list as separate "optional charges" just to appear more financially competitive. Again, I don't think this is an issue anymore... but it definitely used to be, and it was a complete nightmare and a headache.

Recruitment strategy should not stoop to being dishonest about financial obligations :(


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