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How to Pay for Greek Life: Sorority & Fraternity Costs

Becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority can be expensive — but scholarships, grants, payment plans, or student loans could help you pay for it.

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By Christy Bieber

Written by

Christy Bieber

Writer

Christy Bieber has been working full-time as a freelance writer since 2008. She has written blogs, news articles, textbooks, and online courses on the topics of law, finance, and history. She lives with her husband, two children, and beagle.

Edited by Jared Hughes

Written by

Jared Hughes

Editor

Jared Hughes is a personal loan editor for Credible and Fox Money, and has been producing digital content for more than six years.

Updated March 22, 2024

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances.

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Joining a sorority or fraternity can be a great way to network in college and after graduation — but it can also be expensive. With chapter dues as well as the price of attending social events, you could end up spending thousands of dollars per year on Greek life.

However, there are a few ways to potentially pay for it, including scholarships and student loans.

How much does a sorority cost?

The cost of joining a sorority varies depending on which school you go to and which sorority you join. On average, you can expect to pay around $2,000 or more the first year.

Keep in mind that later years might cost less because you won’t have to pay upfront fees again.

For example, here’s an estimate of what you can expect to pay over four years if you join a sorority at Auburn University:

Here are some of the costs you might encounter when becoming a sorority member:

  • Membership dues
  • National and local dues
  • Housing and meal plan fees
  • Facility fees
  • Badge fees
  • Pledge fees
  • Technology fees
  • Social dues
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Tip:

Paying for Greek life on top of tuition and other education expenses can be difficult. However, there are a few options that could help you cover the cost, such as federal or private student loans.

If you decide to take out a private student loan, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.

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How much do fraternities cost?

Like with sororities, the cost of joining a fraternity varies depending on the school and which frat you decide to join. Some fraternities might charge $3,000 per year while others could cost much more, depending on the school and whether you stay in fraternity housing.

Here’s an estimate of what it could cost to join a fraternity at the University of Georgia without housing or a meal plan. Keep in mind that if you decide to sign up for a meal plan, the cost per semester could rise to over $10,000 per year.

Here are some of the costs you might encounter when joining a fraternity:

  • Membership dues
  • National and local dues
  • Housing and meal plan
  • Facility fees
  • Initiation fee
  • Social dues

Tip: Keep in mind that there are several options to potentially help you cover these expenses, including student loans.

However, if you decide to take out a student loan to help cover your fraternity expenses, be sure to consider how much that loan will cost you in the future. This way, you can be prepared for any added expenses.

Benefits of joining Greek life

Although joining Greek life can be expensive, the potential benefits could make it a good investment. Here are some of the advantages you might enjoy as a member of a sorority or fraternity:

  • Allows you to become part of a community
  • Provides personal and professional enrichment through volunteer work and philanthropic events
  • Could boost your resume if you take on leadership roles within the organization
  • Peers and members of alumni groups could be helpful for career advancement
  • Fraternity or sorority housing might be cheaper than other on-campus housing (depending on the school)

Learn More: Credit Unions to Consider When Taking Out a Student Loan

How to pay for Greek life

If you’re thinking about joining a sorority or fraternity but aren’t sure how to pay for it, follow these three steps:

1. Look for scholarships and grants

Unlike student loans, college scholarships and grants don’t have to be repaid — which can make them a great way to cover education expenses like Greek life.

There’s also no limit to how many you might be able to get, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many scholarships and grants as you might be eligible for.

A few institutions that might offer scholarships and grants include:

  • Local or national businesses
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Professional associations in the field you’ll be studying

Additionally, some sororities or fraternities provide scholarships or grants that could help you offset your costs.

Check Out: 529 Plan: Invest in a College Savings Account Early

2. Ask about payment plans

In some cases, you might be able to set up a payment plan that could help make the costs of Greek life more manageable. For example, at the University of San Diego, sorority members have the option to pay dues over three to six months, depending on the sorority.

If you’re thinking about joining a sorority or fraternity, be sure to see if any payment plans are available to you.

3. Consider student loans

If scholarships, grants, and other financial aid aren’t enough to cover your Greek life expenses, student loans could be another option.

Just remember that whatever you borrow in student loans will have to be paid back — so be sure to borrow only what you need to keep your future costs as low as possible.

There are two types of student loan to choose from:

Federal student loans

If you need to borrow for school, it’s usually a good idea to start with federal student loans first. This is mainly because these loans come with federal benefits and protections, such as access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

To apply for federal student loans, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school will use your FAFSA results to determine what federal student loans and federal student aid you’re eligible for. You might also qualify for school-based scholarships depending on your FAFSA information.

Tip: Most federal student loans don’t require a credit check, which means you could qualify if you have poor or even no credit.

However, if you want to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan — a type of Direct PLUS Loan available for parents paying for their child’s college expenses — you’ll have to undergo a credit check.

Check Out: Is My College Housing Covered by Financial Aid?

Private student loans

After you’ve exhausted your federal student loan options, private student loans can help fill any financial gaps left over. Keep in mind that these loans are offered by private lenders and don’t come with federal protections.

However, private loans do provide some benefits of their own, such as potentially higher student loan limits and no application deadlines.

Tip: To qualify for a private student loan, you’ll typically need good to excellent credit. While some lenders offer student loans for bad credit, these loans generally come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved, consider applying with a cosigner. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

If you decide to take out a private student loan, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find a loan to suit your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

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Meet the expert:
Christy Bieber

Christy Bieber has been working full-time as a freelance writer since 2008. She has written blogs, news articles, textbooks, and online courses on the topics of law, finance, and history. She lives with her husband, two children, and beagle.