For people in Greek life, membership costs can be a source of financial distress. Yale University hopes to change that with a new financial aid program.
The Yale Panhellenic Council announced that they will be launching their first financial aid program this Spring semester.
Each of Yale’s four sororities, Alpha Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi will receive roughly $200 to cover for membership dues according to Panhellenic Council President Lucy Friedmann ’19.
“We decided that as a body, we have the capacity to give more money,” Friedmann said to Yale Daily News. “It’ll be up to each sorority’s discretion whether they give it to one person or distribute it among people who need financial aid.”
Friedmann also said the funding for the new financial aid program will come from registration fees the council collected in previous years and has saved. According to Yale Daily News, the registration fee for sorority recruitment was $15.
Other colleges have started initiatives like that to help with membership costs in the past. At Penn State, the Panhellenic Council founded the Panhellenic Scholarship Fund in 2013 to “help multiple women who need financial assistance with their sorority dues.”
That year the fund split $3540 between 12 recipients and in 2016 it provided $3,830 to 17 recipients, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The move came after students at Penn indicated that sorority membership dues, which ranged from $550 to $917 for freshmen not living in-house in 2015, posed a significant obstacle for students from lower income backgrounds.
At Cornell University and Columbia University, financial aid does not cover sorority membership fees, though sororities at the two schools have the option of offering their own financial aid, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
At Yale University, Alpha Phi requires new members to pay $750 for their first semester, $430 for their second semester and $350 for subsequent semesters. Kappa asks new members to pay $495 and active members to pay $395 every subsequent semester.
Pi Phi required members to pay $665 for their first semester and $411 for each subsequent semester. Theta required new members to pay $662 for their first two semesters, and active members to pay $487 in the fall semester and $395 in the spring semester.
Some were doubtful whether the amount offered would make much of a difference.
Kat Corfman ’21, who participated in this year’s rush but decided not to join a sorority, said to Yale Daily News that she appreciated the Panhellenic Council’s efforts to make Greek life more accessible at Yale but is unsure whether $200 would “make much of a dent,” considering the total cost of dues for each member.
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