For those pledging greek houses, make sure to read


Just wanted to pass the information along as it’s all over my FB (University) parents page.

When your child joins a greek house (and many do rush before school even starts), they will have to sign a contract. Make sure they read the contract (and preferably read it to you) and make sure they know what all of the commitments are. They are now legal adults and will not be able to get out of this contract, even with the threat of a lawyer.

Some of the things to consider:

Will they have to Iive in the house for a certain number of semesters? If the house isn’t “full”, do they use a lottery system that requires members to live in the house? Make sure they know how this will impact any scholarships they receive, their ability to be an RA and what will happen if they do an internship or semester abroad.

Do they have dietary needs? Make sure you know that they can be accommodated. How many meals are served? Are their alternatives? Are members allowed to use the kitchen and when?

Are they required to attend certain events? Is there a fine for missing events?

How many semesters can they be “inactive” due to grades, internships, travel abroad, etc. ?

Other financial considerations that might not be in the contract:

What additional items will they be required to purchase? Letters (merch with the greek name on it), payments for outings, formals or retreats, outfits for events, gifts for bigs/littles.

School break travel that isn’t mandatory but “everyone is doing it”

Other things that are just part of the house “culture” like DoorDashing a certain night of the week or paying for your big/little’s tab.

For many, this will be the first time they enter into a legal contract, so it’s a good idea to have the discussion before they even leave for school. Some parents were taken by surprise that their kids had even signed a contract.


Wouldn’t many students have already signed legal contracts to matriculate to college, live in any housing away from parents or relatives, and (if applicable) get financial aid and scholarships?

However, if you mean signing contracts without guidance from parents, that could be the real point of the matter if the student is presented with a contract in the context of rushing a fraternity or sorority. Perhaps parents should prepare students by having the students read and understand every word of the aforementioned contracts (college matriculation, housing, financial aid / scholarships) to sign as practice.


They should understand the financial agreement before joining and signing. Most are no different than the dorm contracts/meal plan agreements.

My sister asked me to look at her son’s housing contract when he was a sophomore. It was for 5 guys to rent the garden level apartment of a house. Each had to sign for the entire rental agreement, so almost $50k for an 11.5 month rental agreement (they graciously allowed them to pay in monthly installments - for a fee!). The deposit was about $7k, and there was no way they were getting about 1/2 of that back after re-keying fee, cleaning fee, etc)

My daughter’s sorority agreement was actually cheaper than the dorms and meal plan. When she went on a study abroad, there were no fees at all. The only thing I really objected to was the security deposit of about $300 and I had to apply for the refund (I think they hope you’ll forget and they’ll get to keep it) and there was a $15 processing fee for the refund. That angered me.

Of course there are extra fees for t-shirts and events where there will be food or drinks provided. Same as if you are in the band or on a club soccer team.

I suggest a general conversation about reviewing and signing agreements, regardless of the source. This could serve as a concrete example, discussing potential implications. One of the houses at my college required a commitment of x% of earnings for y years after graduating rather than annual expenses. “It doesn’t cost anything” can certain appeal to a college freshman. (A common mantra during the rush period was “freshmen are stupid”).

Yes, students likely signed a housing and enrollment contract. I suspect it’s much more likely that a parent was aware of, and advised on, something a high school senior living at home, required by everyone attending college, was signing than an optional agreement for a student away at college.

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We always told our kids to thoroughly look through any contract that they sign. Neither one of kids did/is doing Greek life, but you really need to be aware of all the extra costs that are not in the contract. We know some people who were really surprised by all the extra costs of being in Greek life…and this included “door dash” nights, trips over spring break, etc…