What Is A Sorority And How Much Does It Cost?

Article Summary:

Sororities are university organizations that are part of “Greek life.” They offer social events, volunteer opportunities, as well as housing for women who are undergraduates in colleges. Most sororities will cost between $1,000 and $4,750 per semester.

If you want to go “all in” on college life, chances are that you have considered Greek life at least once. Being a woman in a sorority comes with all kinds of perks, such as alumni benefits, lifelong friends, parties, as well as housing help. It’s a college tradition that remains controversial for some, but popular for others.

Ask any sorority member, and they’ll probably tell you that life in a sorority house was worth it. We’re not just talking about the rushing for Greek letters, either. We’re talking about the financial dues they had to pay in order to get in and stay in. But how much does it really cost to be a sorority member?

What is a sorority?

A sorority is the female version of a fraternity. These organizations are part of what is known as “Greek life,” or Greek letter organization. Sororities are organizations that are meant to act as both community service groups and social clubs on college campuses throughout the United States.

Each sorority is marked by a logo, a set of Greek letters, and signature colors. They all have their own handshakes, slogans, and similar traditions that signify that you’re a member. Because Greek life is often a part of old school tradition, many sororities open up doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

How much does it cost to be a sorority member?

There is no “one size fits all” answer to this, since each Greek organization has the right to charge its own fees. It’s also noted that sorority members will usually have to pay more than just sorority fees.

They may have to buy sorority badge accessories, gifts for littles, and even pay money towards the erection of new sorority houses. With that said, there are a lot of different cost estimates that prove how much the price of membership can vary.

University NameAverage High EstimateAverage Low Estimate
University North Carolina$2,500 per semester$575 per semester
Ball State University$900 per year$900 per year
Penn State$650 per semester$350 per semester
University of Florida$3,700 per year$3,700 per year
University of California, Berkely$4,200 per semester$3,500 per semester

What kind of expenses should you expect when joining a sorority?

This can vary from sorority to sorority, but there are generally membership dues every semester. Other fees may include:

  • Housing
  • Application fees
  • Recruitment process fees
  • Sorority clothing with your Greek letters
  • Party entrance fees
  • Gifts
  • Craft supplies
  • Hazing penalties

Can you find out how much sorority fees cost?

On most college campuses, sororities are required to share their fees and financials with the National Panhellenic Conference. If you ask current members of the conference, they might be willing to give you the financial expectations—especially if you intend on pledging.

Pro Tip

Membership fees are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg with sororities. Your best bet is to ask a current member how much they spend for all the Greek stuff they do.

What do sorority membership fees go towards?

Most of the time, membership dues go to administration costs, the upkeep of the sorority home, charities, alumni support, insurance, as well as gear for sorority members. In some cases, those fees also go toward event planning and sports.

Generally speaking, membership fees are going to fund the majority of Greek life on any college campus. Even the recruitment process is going to carry a fee or two. Most new members have to pay a rush fee for the paperwork, as well as a membership fee if they get accepted.

Do all sororities require you to live in a sorority house?

Not all sorority members live in a sorority house, nor are they allowed to require you to live in a house on most campuses. Many women who are members have their own apartments.

Pro Tip

Ask your sorority about the price of housing. It could be that your sorority possesses a home that has lower “rents” than most apartments. This could offset the costs!

What are the benefits and pitfalls of a sorority?

Every sorority is going to be a bit different from one another. Before you go through the arduous recruitment process and plunk down money, it’s important to understand what you’re getting for that price.


Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.

  • Sisterhood/Networking. The word sorority means sisterhood. Most women who join find that they get instant access to a thriving network of college women who become their allies in their careers. It’s also a major boost for networkers.
  • Housing. Many sororities will offer you housing as a part of your membership, though not all do.
  • Fundraising. All initiated members are expected to fundraise for a cause that works with the organization’s history. You will end up donating money during these events, allowing you to support a cause you truly care about.
  • Friends. It can be very lonely without friends. Having friends in your chapter house can be a major perk for shy women.
  • Scholarships. Some sororities offer their own scholarships to members, especially for students who have high academic achievements.
  • Potential Job Offers. This is up for debate, but many women report finding their first high-paying job through the Greek system.
  • Marriage. Let’s just be honest. A lot of those recruitment events and campus organizations turn into dating opportunities.
  • Money. On some college campuses, the total price of a sorority membership can exceed $18,000 per year. Due to the high price tag that sororities have, many students feel like the institution is elitist. Fees can get high, and you may need to consolidate student loans to pay them off later. In some cases, this isn’t even doable. If you can’t afford it, don’t try it.
  • Time. If you currently work and go to school full-time, you probably do not have the additional time it takes to rush a sorority. It’ll be a fun time, but it’s not for everyone. If you need lots of alone time, this is not a good move for you.
  • Culture. Every college campus has its own fraternity and sorority vibe, but some can be quite obsessive about having members who follow a strict look and attitude. It also is worth noting that sorority life comes with a lot of exclusivity. If you rush a sorority and aren’t chosen, it could be somewhat traumatic.
  • Hazing. Hazing is the act of putting people through recruitment processes that cause emotional or physical discomfort—or even worse, put people at risk. There are multiple hazing deaths that have been reported year after year on a nationwide scale. You can report incidents and hazing complaints to both the National Panhellenic Conference and the police. If a university hears about hazing, chances are that the chapter houses involved will be shuttered.

Pro Tip

Calling an anti-hazing hotline is a smart move if you feel like you’re in danger. Almost all universities have one. While there could be social implications, hazing is a serious issue that has previously killed people. So, don’t feel bad about reporting it.

Are sororities worth it?

Sorority membership is one of those choices that can make a huge difference in your schooling or be a total waste of time. Unfortunately, part of joining any Greek organization is determining if your ideal lifestyle at school is becoming a member.

Sometimes it might be about finding the right sorority. If you’re individualistic, you might want to seek out Greek life members who are about self-expression. Or if you wish to focus on finding friends within your major, look for a sorority geared towards your area of study. Other students may wish to further ground themselves in their cultures, which a multicultural sorority would be perfect for. It’s all about finding the right group for your personality and preferences.

Pro Tip

Vet the sorority you want to join and make sure it shares your values before you try formal recruitment.

When is a sorority not worth it?

If your schedule is extremely tight or you don’t fit in with the other members, you would be better off saying no to Greek life. The recruitment process can be grueling.

In most cases, if you feel like you’re not going to have a fun time, you should save money on the fees you pay.


What is the purpose of a sorority?

Sororities are organizations that are part college heritage, community service groups, and social clubs. These groups originated as a place for women to discuss current events and engage in social events. However, the sorority life quickly became a culture of its own.

What happens in a sorority?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not at all like the secret societies and party houses you see on TV. Are there parties? Yes, but they aren’t that big. Most of the time, current sorority members are more worried about their GPA and keeping university administrators happy.

The best way to describe a typical sorority is a finishing school that also doubles as a volunteer organization and social club. They also may work to offer support to alumni members.

Do you have to pay to be in a sorority?

Regardless of whether you live in a sorority house or if you live on your own, you should expect to pay a sizable fee in order to stay in a sorority. Even if we don’t count fundraising events among fees, you will need a decent income (or funding) to join.

How can you pay your sorority dues?

Believe it or not, you can actually pay for your sorority membership using student loans. If that doesn’t work, you may use your savings, take up a job, or ask your parents for some funding. In some cases, personal loans can also be used for your sorority membership.

Is being in a sorority a status symbol?

For most people, being in a sorority signifies both wealth and social acceptance. You must be vetted and bid on in order to get a ticket into Greek life of any type. Since the fees can be prohibitively high, then you also indicate you have the cash for it.

Key Takeaways

  • A typical sorority will cost upwards of $1,000 per semester and can easily cost upwards of $10,000 during your four years.
  • Most sororities offer housing, higher education help, academic achievement scholarships for members, and friendship.
  • You can pay for Greek life membership through the use of school loans.
  • Though sororities can offer benefits, it’s important to take potential pitfalls into account.
  • Greek life is not for everyone, so don’t worry if it doesn’t feel right for you.

Is there a “right” student loan for Greek life?

If you’re debating joining a fraternity house or a sorority of your own, then you’re not alone. Greek life is popular for a reason. However, funding will always be a major issue for most of us. If you want to be one of the new members of your local chapter, it’s always smart to plan ahead.

The best way to make sure you have the funding you need is to read up on student loans and check to see if your potential sorority will have amenities that make your time in college more affordable, as many do.

View Article Sources
  1. Examples of Hazing — University of Colorado Boulder
  2. Fraternity and Sorority Property Registration — City of Springfield
  3. Can You Consolidate Private Student Loans Into Federal Loans? Consolidation vs. Refinancing — SuperMoney
  4. What Are the Main Differences Between Federal and Private Student Loans? — SuperMoney
  5. How to Get Out of Student Loan Debt : Strategies You Need to Know — SuperMoney
  6. Best Personal Loans for Students | March 2022 — SuperMoney
  7. 2021 Student Loan Industry Study — SuperMoney