Why Joining College Fraternities May Be Smart Move — Despite Hurting Grades

Economic study finds going Greek could raise income by 36 percent.

September 25, 2017 5:00 am

Here’s an unusual tip for college success: Skip the library, head straight to the toga party.

That’s because a new economic study finds that joining a college fraternity lowers a student’s GPA by approximately .25 points (on the four-point scale), but can boost future income by roughly 36 percent, CBS MarketWatch reported.

The findings in the paper, “Social Animal House: The Economic and Academic Consequences of Fraternity Membership,” published by a pair of economists from Union College in Schenectady, New York, stems from a survey of 3,762 alumni from a liberal Northeastern college.

“These results suggest that fraternity membership causally produces large gains in social capital, which more than outweigh its negative effects on human capital for potential members,” the paper concluded.

Fraternities have gotten a tarnished image because of a recent spate of hazing and other scandals, but they have served a traditional function as a source of social connections that often transcend college years. Fraternity alumni groups provide an important networking source that does pay dividends.

And that boost has lingered long after the buzz from the last party dies down: The study collected data from subjects aged 25 to 65, showing  Greek membership on lifetime earnings.

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