Here's How Much It Really Costs To Join A Sorority In College

by Talia Koren
Universal Pictures

There are many good reasons to join a sorority, but the benefits come with a pretty large price tag.

Some people think joining a sorority is basically "buying friendship," but anyone who has joined one will tell you that's not always true. The money spent is friendship earned, I guess.

Obviously, sororities are organizations that need some funding to function. Huge parties and living accommodations aren't free, people.

No matter what school you go to or what kind of family you come from, costs are definitely something to consider when making a huge commitment like joining a sorority.

It's hard to nail down an actual average of basic costs, such as registration fees, dues and housing because every school is different.

Here are some examples, but keep in mind every school and chapter are different.

Penn State and the University of Mississippi don't offer housing for sororities, but members must pay either monthly or per semester to be a part of them. At Penn State, sorority members pay $350 to $600 per semester, which adds up to $2,800 to $4,800 total.

That's all on top of living costs. Yikes!

On the other hand, schools like University of California, Berkeley and the University of Florida offer housing for sororities, and the fee to be a member is included in the per semester or per year cost.

At the University of Florida, sorority members pay around $3,700 per year, and that includes housing. That adds up to $14,800 for all four years.

But sorority members at the University of California, Berkeley cough up $3,500 to $4,200 per semester including housing and food. After four years there, sisters will have paid $28,000 to $33,600 to be in a sorority.

And then there are colleges with expensive membership fees that don't include anything else, like at the University of Southern California, where sorority members have to pay an additional $1,300 per year. That adds up to $5,200 just to be in a sorority.

So yeah, joining a sorority is a bigger financial decision than you'd think amidst the fun and excitement of rush week.

You can see how much the costs vary. The first semester will be the most expensive because recruitment, registration and initiation fees are piled on everything else.

There are a lot of the cost factors people overlook before joining a sorority.

Members also have to pay for apparel like t-shirts (everyone has to match), alcohol, social events like other fundraisers, clothes for themed parties and gifts for younger members.

Sure, a t-shirt costs $20 one time, but after many different events each semester, it all adds up quickly.

Joining a sorority could mean spending almost $500 on just t-shirts over four years. That's a lot for t-shirts you'll end up giving away or throwing out.

In an article on, Christine DiGangi broke down each expense by looking at her old credit card and sorority billing statements and estimating cash costs.

She included all costs, from housing to little things like beer cozies and sweatbands worn for events.

Her final breakdown came to $16,015.21 for the four years she was part of a sorority. Damn.

She lived in the sorority house for some, but not all, of her four years in college. With the help of student loans and loaned money from her parents, DiGangi was able to make it work.

At the end of the article, DiGangi expresses how she feels about the costs in hindsight.

She writes,

Was it worth it? Some of it certainly was, but some of it definitely wasn't — so if you figure I wouldn't have had the good experiences at all if I hadn't joined, I guess it was worth it. But $16,000 (plus interest, since some of that was student loan money) is hell of a lot of money for a social life and, um, sisterhood.

Weighing the price of becoming a sister for life is different for every person. Some dream of being part of a sorority for years, while others don't think about it once until rush week.

Yes, living in sorority housing can be cheaper than on-campus housing, which is often required for undergrad students on most campuses. But, not all college kids have to pay fines for missing meetings or getting too drunk at parties like sorority members do.

For the most part, joining a sorority will add expenses to an already expensive four-year experience.

I was never part of a sorority myself. My college experience wasn't cheap, but I didn't have to pay initiation fees, recruitment fees or buy matching apparel for anything.

For the most part, joining a sorority will add expenses to an already expensive four-year experience.

At the end of the day, there is no cheap way to do sorority life. But the lifelong connections you make and the experiences you have just have to be worth it to you.

Citations: Here's What It Cost Me to Be in a Sorority for 4 Years (, How Much Do Sororities Cost? (Campus Explorer)