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Credit: Mona Lee

Greek life is a substantial aspect of life at Penn, with an estimated 25 percent of Penn undergraduates actively involved in fraternities or sororities. According to an analysis by The Daily Pennsylvanian, a number of these organizations are worth tens of thousands of dollars. 

The DP Analytics team analyzed tax forms filed by Penn’s Greek life organizations between 2015 and 2018 to gather financial information on fraternities and sororities at Penn. The data available for each organization is from its most recent publicly available filing between those years. For example, the most recent filing available for Chi Omega is from 2018, while the most recent filing for Delta Psi is from 2017. 

Nonprofit organizations are required to file Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service annually to maintain their tax–exempt status. Form 990 files, which are in the public record, document an organization’s revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities. 

We analyzed data from seven of the 27 fraternities in the Interfraternity Council and two of the eight sororities in the Panhellenic Council. Data on every Greek life organization at Penn was not available, as some organizations that have not submitted Form 990 have either stopped filing their annual returns or never sought nonprofit status at all. Forms were obtained from the 990Finder website.

The above graph presents the revenues and expenses of nine Greek life organizations–seven fraternities and two sororities–at Penn, based on their most recent Form 990 filing. The greatest revenues and expenses belong to Delta Psi, Alpha Phi, and Chi Omega. In 2017, Delta Psi’s revenue and expenses totaled $434,070 and $483,581, respectively. The lowest revenues and expenses belong to Zeta Beta Tau, Sigma Nu, and Pi Kappa Alpha. In 2018, Zeta Beta Tau’s revenue and expenses totaled $34,927 and $38,555, respectively. 

There appears to be a correlation between fraternity expenses and deficit, as shown in the graph below, with some fraternities incurring high deficits as a result of high spending. Delta Psi, also known as St. Anthony Hall, spent $483,000 and incurred a deficit of nearly $50,000 in 2017. On the other end is Sigma Nu, which, in 2017, spent $44,013 and had a net surplus of $23,000.  

The pie charts below display the allocation of expenses for three Greek life organizations. Nonprofits with less than $200,000 in annual revenue can choose to file either Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. Form 990-EZ does not contain a detailed expense breakdown, so this information is only available for fraternities that filed Form 990. 

Form 990 also documents assets and liabilities. Several Greek life organizations control assets worth tens of thousands of dollars. Assets can include the chapter houses, bank accounts, and any other property a group may own. The graph below presents the asset holdings of nine organizations. Most notably, Sigma Nu’s assets by the end of 2017 totaled $530,100. The next most valuable organization in 2017, Delta Psi, controlled $288,912 in assets by the end of the year. 

This is part one of a three–part series. In part two, we will analyze data available on the GPAs of students involved in Penn Greek life. In part three, we will analyze the Form 990 filings by other nonprofits associated with Penn.