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New Study Confirms Benefits of Fraternity Membership

A new national study has found that fraternity and sorority membership has a significant positive effect on college students–getting and keeping them engaged, satisfied, and successful.

The study, conducted by Indiana University’s Professor Gary Pike, utilized one of the largest sample sizes of Greek versus non-affiliated students ever undertaken. The study used data from the 2014 and 2017 administrations of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), drawing on responses from more than 200,000 students attending 541 institutions.

Key findings from the study included:

  • Fraternity/Sorority members are more likely to be involved and engaged on their college campuses.
  • Fraternity/Sorority members are more likely to be satisfied with their college experience, especially among incoming and graduating students.
  • Fraternity/Sorority members have more discussions about diversity and engagement with diverse organizations and people on campus
  • Fraternity/Sorority members are more academically engaged and successful than non-members

For years, it has been known that fraternity membership can be instrumental in developing successful students and citizens through previous studies. This new study reconfirms prior findings and affirms that the fraternity experience is still relevant and beneficial to higher education.

“The findings of this study indicate that fraternities and sororities are not antithetical to the values of American higher education, as some have suggested. To the contrary, membership in a fraternity or sorority is associated with greater involvement in curricular and cocurricular activities, promotes student learning and development, and promotes satisfaction with the college experiences. Furthermore, the largest positive effects were generally found for first-year students, arguing against deferring recruitment until the second semester or second year,” concluded Professor Pike.

Gary R. Pike is the executive director of information management and institutional research at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and an associate professor of higher education. As executive director, his duties include providing supervision, leadership, and professional expertise for IMIR and for campus program review and assessment efforts. From 1993 to 2003, Pike was director of student life studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Pike served as the director of institutional research at Mississippi State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2010, Pike received the Sidney Suslow Award from the Association for Institutional Research for his contributions to higher education research and scholarship. He is a four-time recipient of the Best Paper Award from the Association for Institutional Research, and he received the Outstanding Assessment Research Award from the American College Personnel Association in 1998. He was named a senior scholar by the American College Personnel Association in 2000. Pike has written 46 refereed articles in scholarly journals and a dozen book chapters. He is a consulting editor for Research in Higher Education.

If you would like assistance with writing an op-ed tying your positive Greek and KA experience with this study for your local or regional newspaper, please contact Jesse Lyons

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