Life in the 21st century seems to race along at increasing speed, and many of the things that we’ve grown accustomed to can change overnight. As a case in point, even traditional activities like joining a fraternity or a sorority in college have greatly evolved. While the Greek system, as it’s familiarly known, has always been choosy—even elitist—about who can join, it’s become even more exclusive in the present day. For instance, did you know that most of the country’s fraternities and sororities now require potential pledges to submit to criminal background checks and credit checks? Just think—if you’re even considering joining a fraternity or sorority, you have to pay the organization a fee (generally around $35) to check your credit history. The reasoning: Given the steadily rising expenses of attending college, it only makes sense that frats and sororities need to ascertain whether a potential newcomer can afford the regular dues and other costs associated with being part of the Greek System.
BASIC COSTS OF “GOING GREEK”
While there are some advantages to belonging to a fraternity or sorority, including all the socializing and parties, being a part of an organization greater than yourself, and potential career connections, being a Greek on campus doesn’t come cheap. Aside from paying for your own credit and background checks, you must pay a variety of fees if you’re accepted into a fraternity or sorority.
According the Sorority Girl 101 website, in order to join a sorority, you must also pay for “National New Member Expense $240; Chapter New Member Expenses $575; Meals $1450; Parlor Fee $415; House Fund $200; Security $175; National Dues $100; Chapter Dues $475; Miscellaneous $300—a total of $3930! In addition, each sorority asks you to deposit into a separate account $300 per semester for purchases such as T-shirts, Pics [sic], etc.” The particular college and sorority in this article were not identified, but be aware that the costs the author specified were for one semester of sorority membership. So, for an entire year, this family paid an additional $8,000 for their daughter to go Greek.
By contrast, here’s the information on sorority membership according to the Kansas State “Greek Affairs” web page: “The average cost the first year of joining a sorority is $1,876 a year. This first year has a higher level of costs due to one-time expenses and fees. The average annual cost of sorority membership for a member who lives in the sorority chapter house is $6,195 a year. This cost includes all membership fees as well as room and board. For comparison, the cost of living in a residence hall double room with a 15-meal dining plan is $7,660.” So, it appears that joining a sorority or fraternity would cost about as much as living and eating on campus. However, female pledges also have to spend more money on their wardrobes because of all of the social functions they are required to attend, which is an additional expense running into the hundreds or thousands each year depending on the school’s location and the social standing of the sorority’s members.
So, it appears that considering the overall expense of joining a fraternity or sorority, a credit check is a reasonable precaution to ensure that the new members can afford everything that they’re called upon to pay for.