Cost of Greek life

Brittney Prather

Students commonly decide to rush a fraternity or sorority in search of friendship, social status and belonging. But with new member fees, chapter dues, social expenses and fines, Greek life can cost hundreds — and even thousands — of dollars beyond just paying membership dues.

The exact costs that come with joining Greek life are hard to compare between campuses and chapters, as they vary widely and are broken down in different ways. Costs beyond paying dues include, but are not limited to, philanthropy events, apparel, formals and socials, and gifts for members within the fraternities and sororities. 

For many students involved in Greek life, Big/Little Week is often one of the biggest expenses for them. A ‘Big’ is an older sister in the sorority who acts as a mentor during the new member process, whereas a ‘Little’ is the mentee.

During Big/Little week, the Big traditionally showers their Little with presents like crafts, T-shirts and baked goods. Although an exciting time, it can become quite pricy.

“You’re spending around $200, maybe $300 for just making the crafts. But if you’re taking twins or triplets, you’re spending at least $400 to $500,” said Shannon Carlough, a junior fashion merchandising major. “Some girls use their resources wisely to save more money, but typically what I hear from some people is that they’ve spent $400.”

Being in a sorority or fraternity can be expensive, but an important aspect to affording it is budgeting. Several Kent State students mentioned that they were lucky enough to have the support of their parents to help pay for their Greek life experience. But others said that they work in order to pay the fees that come with going Greek.

“I know a lot of girls that work extra so that they are able to pay their dues and so that they are able to pay for the extra stuff that we do do,” said Deena Gifford, a senior speech pathology and audiology major. “I am very thankful because my parents help me a lot, and I know that’s definitely not the case for all sorority women or all fraternity men.”

Many said that although each chapter is different, there is usually different payment methods. Further, they said that most treasurers are understanding and willing to work with each member. Dues are paid by the month, but if there comes a time in which a person truly cannot pay their dues, they will be put on financial probation.

“When you are on financial probation, you are not allowed to go to certain events and you cannot go to socials (with) your sisterhood,” Carlough said. “If you still don’t pay your bill, you’ll still be on probation and you just can’t go to events other sisters could go to.” 

Although going Greek and being a fraternity or sorority member can get expensive, some students at Kent State said that it is definitely worth it, and that they wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

“I feel like everyone in a sorority at some point questions ‘Why the hell am I paying for this?’, said Jessica Albrecht, a junior geology major. “But the thing is that in the end, I think it’s worth it because you get to go to so many things.”

Albrecht said a lot of Greek life is the philanthropies and the memorable things members are able to do. “Even though you do have to pay for a lot of it — and it can get expensive —but it’s worth it,” she said. 

Similarly, Gifford said that after joining as a freshman and going through four years of Greek life, she’s had “such a positive experience from it,” she said.

“I had held a ton of leadership positions that I think will help me in the long run,” she said. “It has helped me have those life experiences and — even if it sounds super cheesy — you get out of it what you put into it.”