In an effort to eliminate financial barriers preventing students from joining fraternities, the Interfraternity Council will supply an additional $15,000 in scholarships and need-based aid to new members beginning in the 2016-17 school year.
Blake Brown ’17, president of the IFC, acknowledged that membership dues can be a deterrent for many students although the IFC has offered $5,000 in scholarship money in the past, the organization noticed that the funds did not have as much of an effect as the IFC had hoped.
“The IFC has sponsored New Member Grants and merit-based scholarships for a number of years, but we found that we were not impacting enough students,” he said. “While we recognize that we cannot cover every potential new member’s financial needs, we nonetheless feel empowered to increase our scholarship fund and widen the scope of our impact.”
Brown added that IFC aims to start a discussion and encourage diversity in fraternities with this new allocation.
“If this scholarship expansion can allow even a few more students to join fraternities, then it is completely worth it to us,” he said. “Diversity is something that should be celebrated and supported and that’s what the IFC aims to do through this initiative.”
The need-based grants — where most of the total scholarship money will be focused — will be distributed through an application process, while two people will be given merit-based scholarships, according to Adam Kahn ’17, vice president for finance of the IFC .
“A majority of the aid covers new members’ initial dues with 15 percent of the funds covering general membership dues,” he said.
Kahn emphasized that equal access to membership is pivotal for continued success for the Greek system.
“If our fellow Greek undergraduates and alumni truly want to strengthen our Greek community and promote its continued success, we must work to ensure that Cornellians have access to financial resources so that they can make the same great decision to join a fraternity,” he said.
Kahn said the main goal of the new policy is to encourage openness in fraternities.
“As a result of the increased availability of scholarship money, the IFC hopes to continue moving forward towards a more diverse and accepting community,” he said.
According to Phil Variano ’18, president of Delta Upsilon fraternity, there is a clear need for more scholarship money, which will help to decrease financial concerns rushing imposes on some students.
“I know a handful of students that had to take on a part-time job to pay dues and some who couldn’t join chapters because they just couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I’m confident that this scholarship model will alleviate some of these issues.”