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  #1  
Old 07-31-2011, 08:51 AM
justsmile justsmile is offline
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Leaving a sorority for financial reasons

Hey there,

I'm going through recruitment this fall and I'm really excited. The only thing I'm sort of apprehensive about is the money. If worst comes to worst, and I need to withdraw from the sorority even after I'm initiated because of financial reasons, how hard would that be? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2011, 09:43 AM
IrishLake IrishLake is offline
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Well, it's really not hard to withdraw, but realize that means you are no longer a member at all. It would be a huge insult for you to continue to wear any paraphernalia, your badge, show up at events, etc. That stuff should have to be returned, even if you "bought" it.

Many, if not all, NPC sororities offer payment plans, where you pay smaller amounts over a longer period of time, versus a one time big payment. If you're paying dues yourself, with no parental help, then you'll have to be like many of us and have a job. For example, my sister is an active right now, and she is working 2 summer jobs. One will pay for her fall semester dues. The other is going toward her tuition and other expenses. She also works on campus, which that money goes toward her spring dues. Some groups also offer scholarships and financial aid through their National offices.

If you want it bad enough, and you're determined enough, you'll make it happen.
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  #3  
Old 07-31-2011, 09:58 AM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Talk to your Treasurer and/or Financial Advisor and think hard about it before you do this.

The process of terminating one's membership varies by sorority, but do realize that it's a permanent step that cannot be undone. You won't be a sister anymore and will have to return any and all items with letters.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2011, 11:47 AM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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I am glad to know you're thinking about the financial aspect BEFORE committing. Terminating your membership is something you are really not going to want to do, so I would do the research now as to how much it costs, which you can probably find on the Greek Life webpage for your school. If you can't, a phone call to their office should get it done. They should definitely have the info; it's just a matter of finding it. The costs vary so much from school to school and your situation (one person's poor is another person's totally flush) that you are going to have to make these decisions on your own.

Oh, and make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Your new member fees may or may not include a badge, for instance. Those details you may have to wait and ask during rush - NOT on day one and hopefully to your rush counselor not at a party if you can at all avoid it.

Good luck! I hope you can make it happen.
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2011, 12:59 PM
als463 als463 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justsmile View Post
Hey there,

I'm going through recruitment this fall and I'm really excited. The only thing I'm sort of apprehensive about is the money. If worst comes to worst, and I need to withdraw from the sorority even after I'm initiated because of financial reasons, how hard would that be? Thanks!
Maybe I'm being mean here but, it concerns me that you would come on this site and ask a question about how "easy" it would be to terminate your membership--even after initiated, before you have even gone through recruitment. There are payment plans for some organizations and if you really want it-you can be Greek.

Please don't go in to recruitment with the mindset: "Well, if I can't afford it--I'll just drop out (even after getting initiated)." It's a privilege to be Greek. If you think you are going to go in and probably just drop out (even after initiation), please don't even bother the women who work hard during recruitment and don't break their hearts.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2011, 01:06 PM
knight_shadow knight_shadow is offline
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I think it's a valid concern. If she ends up not being able to afford it, she needs to know that she likely won't be forced into paying for the remaining 3 years if she terminates.

That being said, someone has already stated that it's good to get the costs up front. If you see the costs and know you won't be able to afford it, then don't waste your time or theirs. If you can, then go for it.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2011, 01:14 PM
als463 als463 is offline
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Originally Posted by knight_shadow View Post
I think it's a valid concern. If she ends up not being able to afford it, she needs to know that she likely won't be forced into paying for the remaining 3 years if she terminates.

That being said, someone has already stated that it's good to get the costs up front. If you see the costs and know you won't be able to afford it, then don't waste your time or theirs. If you can, then go for it.
Yes, but her question wasn't whether or not there are payment plans or how women in sororities can afford their dues. It was whether or not it would be hard to disaffiliate. That's like saying, "I'm going to graduate school. I hear graduate school for such-and-such a major is hard. So, if I fail out--what do I put on my resume?" It's going in with this pre-conceived notion you can just leave if it gets expensive. It concerns me.
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2011, 01:41 PM
knight_shadow knight_shadow is offline
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Originally Posted by als463 View Post
Yes, but her question wasn't whether or not there are payment plans or how women in sororities can afford their dues. It was whether or not it would be hard to disaffiliate. That's like saying, "I'm going to graduate school. I hear graduate school for such-and-such a major is hard. So, if I fail out--what do I put on my resume?" It's going in with this pre-conceived notion you can just leave if it gets expensive. It concerns me.
To be fair, it does say "if worst comes to worst" -- I hope she'll explore all of her options before getting to that point.
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2011, 03:18 PM
wavycutchip wavycutchip is offline
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@justsmile - Just to let you know, many (if not most) groups have members sign a membership expectation contract that says that you will pay your bills. That means, that anytime up until you resign your membership, you are responsible for those dues. Some sororities may even send accounts to collection agencies or take them to small claims court if your bill is not paid in full at the time of resignation. If you don't pay those bills and action as the above is taken, you could damage your credit score. So, while its "easy" to resign, you would still be responsible for the money that you owed. The amounts and when they are due are often listed in the groups national and local bylaws.
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2011, 03:21 PM
justsmile justsmile is offline
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I honestly didn't mean to offend anyone with my question. I really hope that I have no problems, and I definitely will explore every option before anything might POSSIBLY happen. But I just wanted to have all of the facts straight before I went into recruitment. And also, thank you everyone for your help!
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2011, 04:24 PM
AnotherKD AnotherKD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by als463 View Post
Yes, but her question wasn't whether or not there are payment plans or how women in sororities can afford their dues. It was whether or not it would be hard to disaffiliate. That's like saying, "I'm going to graduate school. I hear graduate school for such-and-such a major is hard. So, if I fail out--what do I put on my resume?" It's going in with this pre-conceived notion you can just leave if it gets expensive. It concerns me.
I know that I didn't have bills and a lot of the responsibilties that I had in college when I was in high school. Maybe she didn't even know what payment plans were and how they work, or even if they existed for this at all. I don't think she meant it in a bad way at all, she's just covering her bases.

Same as the highschooler that doesn't realize that people *are* a member of XYZ instead of just being a member while they're in college. It's just a nuance that you learn as you go.
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2011, 07:24 PM
MST62 MST62 is offline
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I agree with AnotherKD, I think justsmile has a valid question, just phrased it kind of badly. As a PNM myself, I didn't realize payment plans existed, I thought the money was due upfront/one payment was due by a certain date. I think it's really responsible of her to be asking questions like this - I know so many girls who have dropped out during recruitment because they didn't even realize it cost money to begin with. Just my two cents, though.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2011, 06:35 PM
violetpretty violetpretty is offline
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Definitely check with your school's Greek Life Office to get a ball park figure if that information is not listed on the Panhellenic website.

Make sure you compare apples to apples. There are chapter dues, parlor fees if you live out of house, national fees (most likely one time fees but some chapters may separate the semesterly national dues from the chapter dues), your badge, and optional extras (t-shirts and other group order items, formal). Some chapters are all inclusive, some are a la carte for the extras.

Also, if your school's sororities have houses, inquire if living in the house is required and how much it is. Talk to your parents as to whether this is something they would pay for. At my alma mater, living in my sorority house was a little bit cheaper than living on campus---about the cost of dues cheaper!

There are a few chapters at certain campuses that will look down on PNMs asking questions about money---the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" attitude. If you are at an SEC or large Texas school, you may be more likely to encounter this mindset, which is why I would suggest inquiring from the Greek Life Office instead of during recruitment parties. Also, at ANY school, do not say to chapter members, "Oh if I can't afford it, I'll just withdraw." It makes you look like you wouldn't be a committed member. At most schools, asking about finances is perceived as responsible, but saying up front that you'll withdraw in a flash does not look good.

Since you will most likely be working to earn money for dues, you might want to ask the chapters about the time commitment, and ask your boss for off well in advance for required (ie fined) events.

About the ease of withdrawing, others have mentioned that you are no longer a member if you withdraw. You will have to return your badge and you will not receive a refund for it (you're paying to rent it from HQ). You will have to be paid up or your chapter can and will send you to collections court and it will ruin your credit if you don't pay.

Sometimes, people will peace out at the beginning of a semester, ignore dues reminders, and get around to writing their withdrawal letter by the middle or end of a semester. They believe they do not owe the chapter any dues because they did not "get anything out of" that semester (didn't attend any events). However, had the withdrawal occurred before recruitment, that spot could have been filled by a new member who would pay dues. So, if the chapter lets a member slide like that, they lose money. I see this happen a lot. It's a double edged sword. If you educate your new members upfront on how to withdraw, it scares them/makes them feel like the chapter only cares about their money, etc. but if you don't tell them, then members plead ignorance. So pay attention to deadlines.

Keep in mind that many chapters do allow members to take a one semester leave of absence where you only pay national dues and not chapter dues. This would be an option if you experience a temporary financial setback that you expect to improve in future semesters, not for continuous financial struggles. However, chapters do have limits on how many times you may take a leave of absence, even if for different reasons.

Sorry to write a book, I just thought of a lot of things.
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2011, 09:39 PM
psusue psusue is offline
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Every sorority that I know of has some way of helping members pay their dues if they don't have unlimited funds (and contrary to what some may believe, very few sorority members do). This can range from granting the woman a special consideration status (as it would be called in my sorority), giving her a grant, etc to reduce the amount of her dues for a set period of time, however, a sorority woman is expected to pay her dues. Being in a sorority has greatly improved my money managing abilities, and the financial commitment is a part of sorority life. That is not to say that certain exceptions cannot be made for certain situations, but it would be best if you went into it realizing that the vast majority of the time, you will be expected to pay your dues on time, every time. It is called financial responsibility, and college is a great time to start with this. Let me give you an example from my life.

When I first joined Sigma, I had had jobs in college but nothing very serious as I was only paying for extraneous expenses at the time. When I joined I knew that my parents could not and would not pay for my dues, and I do not come from money anyway, so my only option was to get a job. For me I chose babysitting after school because it was something that I loved to do, it paid pretty well, and it was semi flexible hours. The way our dues work is that they're about $300 per semester, base cost (i.e. national plus local dues) with things like tshirts, formal, certain sisterhoods, etc being extra. This is split up into about $100 per month, starting in September for the fall and January in the spring. Each month, dues are sent out via our online billing system (billhighway) on the 5th of the month and they are due by the 25th, with a one week grace period after that date if it's needed. That calculates to about $100 per month. That means $25 per week. In other chapters it's significantly more than this (for example, one chapter on campus has dues that are $800 per semester but theirs is completely all inclusive) but the idea is the same; you need to figure out how much dues are and how much you need to earn per paycheck to pay them. Some sisters also use their summer job/winter break job money to pay them all up front, because that is easier to them. I prefer to use my babysitting money as I go, but that is me. You will have to decide what works for you.

In all honesty, I was very nervous about the financial commitment before I joined Sigma. But it is a part of it and I really think I am so much better at managing money because of it. My mom even noticed that since I joined, I haven't overdrawn my account and I have saved more than I ever have, and it's because now I have to plan for my expenses. Honestly I think that it is great training for life and the opportunities the cost have afforded me has well exceeded my investment. As someone said earlier on here, at the rate of $2 per friend per month (and the endless personal growth and leadership opportunities it's given me), my dues have been well worth the ends I've received as a sorority woman. Best of luck to you, talk to the Greek life office, and let us know how everything goes.
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2011, 03:42 AM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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Two things, I just read the results of the Alpha Xi Delta awards from convention. We gave away 32 scholarships! I'm sure this is on par with other NPC sororities. No, none of these were full ride, but every bit helps, right?

Secondly, when I was rushing eons ago, we were told to direct the PNM back to her rush counselor for answers about the financials. Whether it was to avoid getting the details mixed up or to avoid a possibly awkward conversation, I don't know. It also could have been so that you could have other sororities' info right in front of you all at the same time. But our sorority bills were all included on our U-bill, so payment/non-payment was a very different thing for us. And since my parents paid my bills (which I paid back over the next 10 years), I don't know what it cost. I do know that by university policy it had to cost about the same as living in the dorms. In other words, it was not an overly expensive proposition for us, relatively speaking anyway.
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