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Cornell University

Financial Obligations with Sororities & Fraternities

Fraternities and sororities can be quite affordable, and fees go to services that will positively impact students by providing them with leadership skills, academic assistance and lifelong friendships.

Each chapter is responsible for determining dues (used for the betterment of the chapter and the inter/national organization), as well as one-time new member and initiation fees. If the chapter has a housing facility, there may be requirements to live in for some amount of time. Rent in these facilities is comparable to, if not cheaper than, many other housing units.

To assist members, chapters may offer various scholarships and grants and provide payment plans. Students are encouraged to ask questions related to finances during the recruitment process and go over the costs associated with fraternities and sororities with their parents. Each member has a financial obligation to his or her chapter. Below is a description of some of the obligations and how they are funded. Each sorority or fraternity's self-reported fees are listed on the scorecard

 

Housing

Recognized Sorority and Fraternity Housing will fulfill the two year residential requirement. Please read for more detail below.

Groups that are fortunate enough to enjoy a chapter house are responsible for the operation and upkeep of the house. The buildings are owned either by the university, an alumni group, or a national organization. Funding for the operations of these buildings comes from student rents. In most cases the rent is billed through the university Bursar system. Chapter houses are expensive to maintain and operate. All members benefit from having a chapter house, therefore, all members must contribute to their buildings operating budget. Nearly all chapters have a minimum requirement to live in their chapter house for at least a semester or two. In addition, there are parlor fees, or living out fees. Room and board fees vary and are in general less than the fees for living in residence halls or off campus.

A typical operating budget (student rent) would cover items like:

  • Common Area Housekeeping Services

  • Utilities
  • Internet/Phones
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Building Insurance (does not cover personal possession)
  • Grounds Care

A typical chapter house has the following amenities and safety systems:

  • Study areas and computer rooms

  • Fire alarm systems (required)
  • Sprinkler (fire suppression) system throughout the building (required)
  • Laundry and exercise facilities
  • Limited parking spaces
  • Social gather spaces
  • Dining and kitchen areas

NOTE: Students are only released from their spring housing contract if they are graduating, going abroad or leaving the university. Contract releases for any other reason due to extenuating circumstances will be determined by, and are at the sole discretion of the Housing & Dining Contracts Office. Moving off-campus or in to a fraternity small residence is not an extenuating circumstance. Please contact housing@cornell.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

2022-2023 Sorority & Fraternity Housing

https://scl.cornell.edu/residential-life/housing/campus-housing/residential-policy

Non-Resident House Charge (living out or parlor fee)

The budget process determines all the expenses associated with the operation of the facility and distributes them to the members as housing charges or rent. A good management principal is to pass a portion of the housing expenses on to all members, as opposed to just the members that live in. This principal, while not immediately intuitive, is rooted in the belief that a fair housing system receives support from all its members. Chapter houses have public and residential spaces. As a chapter house, the facility is the meeting place and hub for all the organization’s activities, and this benefits all members, regardless of whether they live in or not.

Billing a housing charge (some organizations refer to this as a parlor fee) to members that live out has a number of benefits:

  1. Appropriately distributes responsibility for the facility to all members

  2. Reduces the burden of the room rates paid by live-ins because their proportionate cost is reduced
  3. Improves prospects for house occupancy because the cost to live out is increased

This Fraternity/Sorority Residence Contract ("FSR Contract") is a legal agreement between the University and you, the student.