IUB


 

Frequently Asked Questions    

 

(When referencing data from this page, please cite the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity, Bloomington, IN.)

What kind of research does the Center do?

The Center is a small non-profit that serves more as a clearinghouse for research than as an organization conducting original research. The Center does, however, conducts the Greek Student Experience Survey (paper) and the Fraternity and Sorority Experience Survey (paper & online).

 

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Is fraternity membership increasing or decreasing?

TRENDS IN MEMBERSHIP FOR FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES
In 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997, and 2000 the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity surveyed college campuses on the status of their fraternity and sorority systems. Over time, the response rate to the questionnaire differed so direct comparisons of data should be made with caution.

 

The questionnaire included an item on membership numbers, and later an item on trends in membership numbers for men’s and women’s groups.The results received were:

 

YEAR
SCHOOLSRESPONDING FRATERNITY NUMBERS SORORITY NUMBERS
1982 285 institutions 122,711 fraternity actives 114,867 sorority actives
35,948 fraternity pledges 29,116 sorority pledges
1983 334 institutions 177,220 fraternity actives 144,191 sorority actives
44,071 fraternity pledges 39,398 sorority pledges
1984 371 institutions 165,698 fraternity actives 131,574 sorority actives
49,025 fraternity pledges 42,304 sorority pledges
1986 429 institutions 196,884 fraternity actives 155,620 sorority actives
67,400 fraternity pledges 54,657 sorority pledges
1988 392 institutions 194,260 fraternity actives 157,498 sorority actives
62,406 fraternity actives 58,346 sorority pledges
1990 398 institutions 197,974 fraternity actives 169,953 sorority actives
59,417 fraternity pledges 59,675 sorority pledges
1992 292 institutions 162,820 fraternity actives 144,521 sorority actives
48,998 fraternity pledges 47,454 sorority pledges
1997 346 institutions 133,210 fraternity actives 134,248 sorority actives
59,166 fraternity pledges 68,508 sorority pledges
2000 324 institutions 115,222 fraternity active 127,110 sorority actives
40,935 fraternity pledges 45,515 sorority pledges
In 1984, a survey item was added to ask how membership compared with previous survey year in an attempt to address concerns about the comparability of data between surveys when the respondents were not always the same schools.“Fewer” was defined as down 5%, “same” as about the same, and “greater” as up 5% or more.The responses on these items were not always consistent with the trend suggested by the raw numbers.
1984 371 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -29 schools fewer -38 schools
same -231 schools same -214 schools
greater – 23 schools greater - 92 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -36 schools fewer -39 schools
same - 201 schools same - 200 schools
greater - 87 schools greater - 85 schools
1986 429 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -26 schools fewer -22 schools
same -275 schools same -253 schools
greater - 108 schools greater - 111 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -37 schools fewer -30 schools
same -251 schools same -228 schools
greater - 102 schools greater - 118 schools
1988 392 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -22 schools fewer -18 schools
same -192 schools same -186 schools
greater - 146 schools greater - 140 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -34 schools fewer -32 schools
same -180 schools same -163 schools
greater - 140 schools greater - 152 schools
1990 398 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -42 schools fewer -29 schools
same -195 schools same -182 schools
greater - 125 schools greater - 151 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -54 schools fewer -39 schools
same -191 schools same -175 schools
greater - 115 schools greater - 146 schools
1992 292 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -55 schools fewer -42 schools
same -149 schools same -148 schools
greater -54 schools greater -66 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -59 schools fewer -57 schools
same -143 schools same -132 schools
greater -54 schools greater -66 schools
346 institutions
for fraternity actives for sorority actives
fewer -88 schools fewer -68 schools
same -163 schools same -168 schools
greater -59 schools greater -74 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer -88 schools fewer -60 schools
same -138 schools same -141 schools
greater -48 schools greater -70 schools
The 2000 survey again asked respondents to compare membership numbers with the previous survey year (1996-1997).
2000 324 institutions for fraternity actives for sorority actives
(preliminary data) fewer -101 schools fewer -71 schools
same - 149 schools same - 159 schools
greater - 56 schools greater -75 schools
for fraternity pledges for sorority pledges
fewer - 95 schools fewer - 57 schools
same - 134 schools same - 149 schools
greater - 49 schools greater - 69 schools

 

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What percentage of students are affiliated with fraternities and sororities?

There is no good, definitive answer to the often asked question: "What is the percentage of students who are fraternity and sorority members on campuses nationwide?" We recommend contacting the various umbrella groups within the fraternal movement to inquire about specific trends. However, one source of information on this topic is the Status Survey of Campus Fraternity and Sorority Systems.

The Center for the Study of the College Fraternity conducted the "Status Survey of Campus Fraternity and Sorority Systems" approximately every 2 years (since 1982). The survey is mailed to more than 700 campuses, and an administrator from the campus may complete and return the survey. The response rate varies each year. While a few campuses have participated in each survey, others have participated only once, sporadically, or not at all, making a comparison of responses over time unreliable. Responding campuses also vary widely in terms of size, institutional control, etc. Of course, many campuses have no fraternity and sorority community at all, and are not included in the survey.

Prior to 1988, the survey did not collect any information about the percentage of affiliated students. The survey instrument was revised in 1997, allowing us to collect a different type of data about the percentage of affiliated students. The new survey allows us to collect a unique percentage figure from each respondent, whereas previously we only collected information about ranges of affiliated students (0-10%, 11-20%, etc.)

Keeping these limitations in mind, here is a summary of the information we have on membership percentages.

2000 (324 responses) Median=12% Mean=17.50%
1997 (346 responses) Median=13% Mean=17.78%
1992 (292 responses)
 <10% = 98 campuses
11-20% = 88
21-30% = 46
31-40% = 24
41-50% = 19
51-60% = 8
61-70% = 4
71-80% = 1
81-90% = 1
91-100 = 1
1990 (398 responses)
 <10% = 140 campuses
11-20% = 130
21-30% = 56
31-40% = 28
41-50% = 17
51-60% = 14
61-70% = 5
71-80% = 4
81-90% = 1
91-100 =
1988 (392 responses)
 <10% = 142 campuses
11-20% = 108
21-30% = 58
31-40% = 26
41-50% = 25
51-60% = 17
61-70% = 7
71-80% = 2
81-90% = 2
91-100 =
1986 (no data available)
1984 (no data available)
1983 (no data available)
1982 (no data available)
The survey also asks information about the number of students affiliated. Totals from each year of the survey are included in the monograph "Status of the College Fraternity and Sorority, 1997" published by the Center. (The 2000 data has not yet been published.) The monograph may be purchased using the order form on our website.
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