The Crazy Costs Your Sorority Doesn’t Tell You About Upfront

If you gasped out loud when you saw the hundreds of dollars in dues that your sorority asks you to pay, you might want to sit down.

When I joined a sorority, I had no idea how much money would come out of my pocket over the next four years. Sure, dues sounded high but doable. Suddenly, I was getting hit up for money for everything from t-shirts to parties. These expenses were charged through an online bill pay system – if I didn’t pay on time, I had to pay more. 

Before I go any further, I will say that going Greek in college is full of priceless perks. You may have a sister who passes your resume onto a future employer, gives you incredible relationship advice, or becomes your bridesmaid. Being in a sorority can help make college the best four years of your life and give you a home away from home.

But it doesn’t come cheap.

Below are some of the costs, “optional” expenses, and other fees that sororities don’t tell you about upfront.

1. Apparel

Those letter shirts ain’t cheap. While I would normally would never spend $20-$30 on a t-shirt, it’s hard to say no when your entire pledge class is ordering matching letters. While I was passed down plenty of shirts from my Big and the rest of my family line, I know plenty of girls who spent hundreds on new patterns and colors.

While the amount of shirts you order is up to you, other shirts aren’t so optional. When a shirt was ordered for an interest session or part of recruitment, you don’t have a say. You’re paying $25 for that ugly shirt you’ll wear once (and maybe to the gym a few times).

2. Gifts

When you’re a pledge or a Little, you get tons of gifts. News flash: you’ll be buying those gifts in the coming years. And yes, it’s very possible to spend $100 at Michael’s on craft supplies.

You want to spoil your Little with awesome presents, but don’t underestimate the cost.

3. Philanthropy

One of the redeeming qualities about Greek life to GDIs is our commitment to philanthropy. And yes, it’s awesome. However, it’s not without expenses. Not only do you spend money on the charities your organization supports, but you will find yourself being asked to run a 5K for your friend’s fraternity or to attend a fundraiser on campus more often than you realize. It’s great a few times, but pretty soon it feels like you’re being hit up for money nonstop.

4. Social Dues

Who did you think pays for those kegs?

Party expenses weren’t included in my sorority’s dues because they tried to keep it under the radar from nationals and advisers. Instead, it was an additional fee every semester, usually of about $20. And another $20 for Greek Week or Homecoming. Now, that’s practically nothing to party all semester long, but add in booze for pregaming and you’ve got yourself another expense to think about.

5. Formals & Date Parties

Sometimes this is calculated into dues, but often times it’s a social event that is paid for separately. Think about it – it’s a mini prom that includes food, a bar, a venue, transportation, hotel room, alcohol, your dress, and a host of other ways to spend money. And guess what? You probably will pay for your date too. I’ve paid anywhere from $60 to over $250 for one night of fun (and yes, it is very fun).

6. Housing

My sorority didn’t have a house, but living there will cost you about as much as on-campus housing. I won’t go into too much detail as it’s not something I experienced firsthand, but it is another thing to consider.

7. Fines

Late to chapter meeting? Fined. Get a little too wild at a party? Fined. Contacted a PNM during recruitment and got caught? Fined. These $20 mistakes definitely add up.

Moral of the story? It’s great that you can afford dues, but it’s going to cost you way more than that. Hope your summer waitressing job pays well.

Sorority Life: Worst Things About Going Greek In College