GLC formalizes rush financial policy

by Sunpreet Singh | 10/11/16 12:33am

On Sept. 30, the Greek Leadership Council formalized a policy banning any Greek house from considering financial need when extending bids to students.

The announcement came during recruitment in a campus-wide email from the GLC and is part of a broader initiative to better meet the financial needs of Dartmouth students in Greek life.

Previously, Greek organizations were informally not allowed to consider students’ financial situations when extending bids. Fraternities and sororities determined financial aid independently, based on their respective costs and policies as well as the students’ needs.

In past few years, the College’s Greek system has faced criticism for being elitist, with prevalent speculation over Greek organizations considering financial information in making their recruitment decisions.

In 2015, Business Insider reported on the initiatives by College President Phil Hanlon and the Interfraternity Council to promote inclusivity within Dartmouth’s Greek system, which has been criticized for being a “haven for the rich that imposes high costs for membership to keep out poor students.” The IFC recommended measures such as “overturning the ban on hard alcohol” and requiring each fraternity to “devote a minimum of 15 percent of its total social and programming budget to financial aid.”

Greek dues can pose a financial burden for some students as they can sometimes exceed $500 per term.

Chair of the GLC Austin Welch ’17 said that the goal is to ensure that no one is financially limited from joining Greek organizations.

“Our system is already comprehensive but we are moving to meet 100 percent of need and guarantee that money through alumni funding and other sources,” he said.

Welch added that “the policy helps in squashing rumors regarding Dartmouth’s Greek life being only for the wealthy, as bids are extended based on personal character and not financial situation.” He noted that other factors can complicate the matter, such as the unwillingness of parents to pay for their student’s Greek dues if they are opposed to the student joining the Greek system.

Dartmouth has become more socioeconomically diverse over time, with 14.4 percent of the Class of 2020 qualifying for Pell grants and 45 percent receiving scholarships from the College. The concern of whether or not students can afford Greek dues still persists, given that individual Greek organizations determine financial aid on a case-by-case basis.

Welch said that this move is part of a larger effort by the GLC to have a full and comprehensive financial aid and scholarship program for all Greek organizations in place by the start of next term.

“The Greek Leadership Council has established a committee of alumni and Greek advisers, administrators, presidents, and faculty to create a framework for financial assistance and financial inclusivity in addition to formalizing funding for individual houses,” he said.

Welch added that the new initiative is a good start to eliminating financial barriers for students wishing to join Greek organizations.