The Inter-Fraternity Council is anticipating an increase to its scholarship fund to assist members with fraternity dues and is promoting its rush fee waiver program to reimburse those who cannot afford the cost of rush fees with the goal of making Greek life more accessible to prospective students ahead of the formal recruitment process this semester.
The IFC currently allocates $12,500 for scholarships, which it expects to double by 2030 due to interest rates on existing funds. This sum of money was originally funded by increasing the cost of rush fees from $20 to $50 in 2021. The IFC plans to continue charging a rush fee in order to continue offering scholarships while interest accrues, as well as support other activities.
The IFC has an overall fund of slightly under $70,000 set aside to accumulate interest that can be used to support scholarships in the future. Investment in this fund will not be used until the interest generated annually can fund approximately $25,000 in scholarships.
Kayvon Samadani, IFC president and fourth-year College student, said decreasing financial burden on students interested in Greek life has been a priority for him as president.
“The IFC understands the significant cost of participation in Greek life and we're committed to financial accessibility, minimizing the burden that costs puts on potential new members,” Samadani said.
Dues for the 32 social fraternities at the University range anywhere from $500 to $1500 per semester. In addition to the IFC scholarships, many individual fraternity chapters at the University offer their own scholarships for members.
Anran Zhao, member of Chi Psi fraternity and second-year College student, said he thinks the increased scholarship fund may be helpful in promoting socio-economic diversity within Greek organizations.
“I think it would definitely allow for a more diverse group to rush,” Zhao said. “Maybe some people don’t have $50 to just spend out of their pocket or they're going into rush knowing that they can't afford to pay the dues every semester, so having that [scholarship] in the back of their mind might help them realize that they should still pursue rush.”
The IFC has offered rush fee waivers and need-based scholarships for several years. Samadani said that this year, IFC leadership wanted to advertise these support systems earlier to potential members in order to bring more people into Greek life who would be unable to afford it otherwise.
“My hope is that more people will apply to the IFC scholarship,” Samadani said. “And that more people will ask their own chapters about scholarships that they have,”
The IFC offers need-based scholarships to individuals who apply for funding. While rushees are prioritized for these scholarships, active members are also eligible to apply. According to Samadani, roughly 10 to 15 students receive these scholarships each year. During the 2022 rush season, Samadani said that out of 30 applicants, 15 were able to receive awards.
Interested students must submit the application and show demonstrated financial need. After all applications are submitted, the scholarship chair reviews applications and selects applicants for interviews.
When a student receives a need-based scholarship from the IFC, funds go to the students' fraternity chapter rather than the individual —- a system designed to prevent the scholarship from impeding other sources of financial aid.
Zhao, who has seen his fraternity brothers struggle with the financial burden of Greek life, said the increase in advertising for fee waivers and larger scholarship fund will be very helpful in bringing more students into Greek life at the University.
“I think having a [larger] scholarship would greatly help reduce stress for that aspect of Greek life,” Zhao said.