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  #1  
Old 03-12-2008, 04:50 PM
SophieA SophieA is offline
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Can students on financial aid/scholarship afford a sorority?

I'll be attending college in Fall 2009 and recently took a campus tour of a state university. A family friend's daughter was kind enough to give my friends and I a tour of her sorority and I look forward to participating in rush when I head off to college.

I've done my basic research on sorority housing costs at the school we toured, but I still remain confused. Our family will need to apply for financial aid, I may well be eligible for academic scholarship, and of course I'll be working summers and may well need to take out loans.

Generally speaking, approximately how much more will I be expected to pay (on top of university room and board) to pledge a sorority? Are first years the most expensive?

The college we toured gave us some general sorority housing expenses (living in residence hall first year and meals, etc. at sorority and living in chapter house only second year, etc.), but they couldn't tell us if these charges were per semester or annual. The sorority member giving us the tour said it was actually less expensive to live in her sorority house than a residence hall (and the house was beautiful!). Sorority housing can be paid out of financial aid awards, but only as much as we receive as a financial aid award, so if first year housing costs are double, or dues, initiation, etc., are very expensive, I'm assuming my parents will need to make up the difference. Has anyone else encountered this or can you offer any suggestions?

When we toured with the sorority house, we did get a lot of great info from the chapter member, but it wasn't at all appropriate to ask any financial questions. Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:02 PM
ForeverRoses ForeverRoses is offline
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It will depend on the chapter and the campus, however I went to college on financial aid and scholarships and was able to join a sorority without a problem. The first year is the most expensive, because of all the costs associated with your new member period. I paid for my sorority myself out of the money that I made during the summer and during Christmas break. Other friends of mine had jobs during the school year at the bookstore or on campus somewhere. It all depends on priorities-- I put myself of a pretty strict budget (I still remember it was $20 a weekend) plus as a member of a sorority you do get invited to mixers and closed parties will may cut down on "going out" costs.

So it can be done (and living in the sorority house was cheaper than a dorm plus a meal plan). Good luck!
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:03 PM
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AlwaysSAI AlwaysSAI is offline
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To pledge an NPC sorority, first semester dues are usually close to or around $1,000.

Each semester after that can range from $300-$800.

It really depends on the chapter, the cost of the house, etc, etc.

My sister and I are both at school on financial aid. And, we both work 15-20hrs a week during school. It's not always easy, but it can be done.
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:19 PM
sjsoffer sjsoffer is offline
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I'm here with scholarships and financial aid, and I haven't really had problems with my sorority. A lot of groups will let you go on a payment plan to break it up into smaller chunks over a longer period of time, and I know some of our girls do that. Hope that helps
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:20 PM
DallasDelta DallasDelta is offline
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ya it does depend on the university... at utd they are around 300-400 a semester... Your FIRST semester in the sorority will be the most expense, bc of initiation fees, badge, and housing fees. Lots of sororities allow you to make them in payments too.

yes, I also heard that living in a house is much less expensive then the college dorms.. plus, you get meals from a chef! (in most cases)

ya I'm also on financial aid, but I work and my parents help me out... and they LOVE my sorority so that helps lol
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:37 PM
skylark skylark is offline
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It REALLY depends on the campus as far as what the dues are. However, I can say that nearly every girl in my chapter had some sort of scholarship or at the very least some significant financial aid.

The top GPA/leaders in the sorority actually probably got a net benefit from being in the sorority, though, through sisters-only scholarships. I know I wound up receiving about $9,000 in sorority scholarships... far beyond what my meager dues totalled. I'm not saying that these scholarships are a guarantee, but they are a potential opportunity to consider when making your choice.

ETA: And my first semester dues were MUCH lower than $1000... I would ask your college's panhellenic to see if they have an informational flyer with dues on it. We do. And not one of the sororities charges $1000 even for your first year.

Last edited by skylark; 03-12-2008 at 05:51 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:46 PM
SmartBlondeGPhB SmartBlondeGPhB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysSAI View Post
To pledge an NPC sorority, first semester dues are usually close to or around $1,000.

Each semester after that can range from $300-$800.

It really depends on the chapter, the cost of the house, etc, etc.

My sister and I are both at school on financial aid. And, we both work 15-20hrs a week during school. It's not always easy, but it can be done.
Please don't quote dollar amounts on things you may not know anything about.

Mine weren't anywhere near $1000 because we didn't have a house and those chapters that don't have houses will be much cheaper.
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  #8  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:48 PM
SmartBlondeGPhB SmartBlondeGPhB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieA View Post
I'll be attending college in Fall 2009 and recently took a campus tour of a state university. A family friend's daughter was kind enough to give my friends and I a tour of her sorority and I look forward to participating in rush when I head off to college.

I've done my basic research on sorority housing costs at the school we toured, but I still remain confused. Our family will need to apply for financial aid, I may well be eligible for academic scholarship, and of course I'll be working summers and may well need to take out loans.

Generally speaking, approximately how much more will I be expected to pay (on top of university room and board) to pledge a sorority? Are first years the most expensive?

The college we toured gave us some general sorority housing expenses (living in residence hall first year and meals, etc. at sorority and living in chapter house only second year, etc.), but they couldn't tell us if these charges were per semester or annual. The sorority member giving us the tour said it was actually less expensive to live in her sorority house than a residence hall (and the house was beautiful!). Sorority housing can be paid out of financial aid awards, but only as much as we receive as a financial aid award, so if first year housing costs are double, or dues, initiation, etc., are very expensive, I'm assuming my parents will need to make up the difference. Has anyone else encountered this or can you offer any suggestions?

When we toured with the sorority house, we did get a lot of great info from the chapter member, but it wasn't at all appropriate to ask any financial questions. Thanks!
Not sure what school it is, but search on their website and see if they have a Greek Life website. That may give general amounts and/or it will have a contact for the office who can give you better information than any of us can.
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  #9  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:52 PM
violetpretty violetpretty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartBlondeGPhB View Post
Please don't quote dollar amounts on things you may not know anything about.

Mine weren't anywhere near $1000 because we didn't have a house and those chapters that don't have houses will be much cheaper.
On the flip side, at other schools, like SEC schools, they can be WAAAAY above what AlwaysSAI quoted, and there can be a big range among chapters at the same school.

SophieA, we have no idea where you are thinking of attending school, so no one can really give you dollar amounts. Ask the daughter of your family friend about the finances, but remember, that is what her sorority at her school charges right now.

Knowing these 3 amounts should help you plan and see if you think you can afford it:

1. Cost during your new member semester(dues + parlor fee + national fees + badge)
2. Cost for a member to live in the house (dues + room and board)
3. Cost for a member to live out of house (dues + parlor fee)

*Keep in mind, some chapters' dues will be all inclusive (flat fee, nothing else asked), some will be semi-inclusive, and some will only cover the basics, meaning that socials, t-shitrts, etc are NOT included. Also, I haven't heard of a chapter anywhere that doesn't allow members to pay on a payment plan, but I could be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieA View Post
When we toured with the sorority house, we did get a lot of great info from the chapter member, but it wasn't at all appropriate to ask any financial questions. Thanks!
I wonder why you thought it wasn't appropriate to ask financial questions. It's definitely an appropriate question to ask during recruitment, so when your time comes, don't be shy.
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Last edited by violetpretty; 03-12-2008 at 06:10 PM.
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  #10  
Old 03-12-2008, 06:00 PM
ZTA72 ZTA72 is offline
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Actually, AlwaysSAI was right on the money , (so to speak). I have 2 daughters right now in college, in the same chapter, and those figures are accurate. They are also scholarship receipents which does help with the bills. I do know from what they have told me, that a number of their sisters have some type of part time job and while living in the house can be expensive, it can be cheaper than a dorm and required meal plan. I definitely know that it can be done.
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  #11  
Old 03-12-2008, 06:07 PM
skylark skylark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTA72 View Post
Actually, AlwaysSAI was right on the money , (so to speak). I have 2 daughters right now in college, in the same chapter, and those figures are accurate. They are also scholarship receipents which does help with the bills. I do know from what they have told me, that a number of their sisters have some type of part time job and while living in the house can be expensive, it can be cheaper than a dorm and required meal plan. I definitely know that it can be done.
ZTA72
It isn't like this for every chapter... yes statistically it is probably close, but the OP shouldn't make a decision based on these figures because they might not apply to her campus.
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:09 PM
OleMissGlitter OleMissGlitter is offline
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Originally Posted by violetpretty View Post
On the flip side, at other schools, like SEC schools, they can be WAAAAY above what AlwaysSAI quoted.
I think the average per month I would say is $450 at Ole Miss (based on what I know AOII pays and a couple of other sororities pay). Then if you live in the house it's around $1650 or more a semester because you are living there. Your first semester can be rather high. I think all of the sororities on campus have a Building Fund that new members pay. It is usually broken down over your new member period. There are plenty of sorority members at Ole Miss who work to pay their dues. It's all about communicating with your Financial Advisor/Officer and seeing if they can set up a payment plan. Also, if you contact your Greek Life office they might have some average amounts of what it costs. But just remember the first semester is usually the most expensive. Also, some sororities have "senior plans" for seniors who are doing internships/student teaching, etc so they will reduce your food bill portion since you might not be eating at the house as much or your social portion since you cannot attend as many socials. Oh and I have even heard about members working all summer and saving their money to pay for their sorority dues.

ETA: Please remember at Ole Miss all of the sororities serve 3 meals a day M-Th, and then on Friday 2 meals a day. They also have very large houses to maintain so the fees will be higher. Furthermore, most sororities include the social fees in the dues since most members attend socials. Some chapters do include t-shirt fees and recruitment fees for clothes in their bills. So it just depends on the chapter. I know this year AOII assessed a fee for one of their socials to help offset the costs, so it does vary. I know also with AOII we have a “technology fee” to help maintain the computers and pay for the wireless in the house.
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Last edited by OleMissGlitter; 03-12-2008 at 06:12 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2008, 06:36 PM
ZTA72 ZTA72 is offline
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skylark is absolutely correct, local knowledge is essential, I speak ONLY from personal experience. I think that it goes without saying that checking with Greek Life at your college is the answer. Best of luck to the OP if you decide to go through recruitment.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:07 PM
bejazd bejazd is offline
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You should contact the Greek Life office at the school you plan to attend and ask them to give you last year's financial information (they probably don't have 2008-09 yet.) That will give you an idea of the costs involved.

Whether or not you can "afford" it is a decision you need to talk about with your family. Right now, you're probably spending money on social activities or school activities (i.e. movies, concerts, eating out with friends, costs for participating in choir or band or cheerleading or whatever you are into.) Would you be willing to pass up movies or a spring break ski trip in order to be able to "afford" sorority dues? Would you be willing to live at college without a car?

If you feel like you'd be "financing" your social activities with student loans, I'd say, no, it's probably going to be a financial hardship that eventually will cause a strain for both you and the sorority. But if you are willing to save some, scrimp some, work some, and sacrifice some, you can do it. Above all, you need to think about affording your education first, but if you've got the will....there's always a way!

Good luck!
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2008, 07:08 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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A sorority is a financial obligation, and I commend you for recognizing this right off the bat. It is very doable if you are on financial aid. I paid for college myself without family assistance, and I lived in the house, held chapter offices, and was on the Dean's List every semester. While I would have loved it if I hadn't had to have a part-time job through school, I enjoyed my undergrad experience immensely and was very happy to join a sorority!

For now, the university's Office of Greek Life/Office of Student Activities can provide information about dues to you. During recruitment, be sure to ask questions at the sorority events. There will be a round of parties where the sororities will specifically tell you about dues and costs, so wait to ask questions about dues until the sorority brings it up to you. Call home with this information after those parties and discuss it with your parents.

The first semester is typically the most expensive. There is a one-time new member fee and the purchase of your sorority badge. Most sororities will require you to make an initial payment 24-48 hours after bid day. Be prepared for this initial cost. While you can pay all of your dues for the semester up front, more typically, members pay monthly.

Moving into the house is almost always cheaper than living in the dorms or an off-campus residence. Almost all sorority houses come equipped with a meal plan, so you save even more time and money not having to buy or prepare food (or clean up!). Living in the house is also a great experience to get to know your chapter sisters better and to get involved. It's also very safe-- many sorority houses have security systems, and they all have house mothers who plan meals and manage the house maintenance.

Some sororities may have a required meal plan for live-out members. Don't freak if you see the price tag on their dues-- it may break down to where you are spending $5/day on food, even though dues may seem to be quite costly. Think about the big picture costs. If you aren't the type who is into the meal plan idea, you may not want to consider that sorority. If you really can't afford it, you may not want to consider that sorority. On the other hand, if you have really clicked with a chapter during recruitment, think about the big picture-- and how sharing meals with your sisters can be a great way to save money and to bond with your chapter.

Sororities that have chapter houses tend to have more expensive due than sororities that do not have a chapter house. Again, don't let this stop you from joining the organization where you feel you fit best. Consider all of the pros and cons carefully.

Best of luck with recruitment!
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