What are the housing-related fees that are paid by collegiate members of Sigma Kappa?
In addition to chapter dues and fees, each collegiate member of Sigma Kappa is also responsible for paying housing-related fees that are set by the local house corporation or decorating committee. Common housing fees include:
- Housing and Furnishing Fee – A flat-rate fee paid by each member during her first year of membership that is placed in a restricted fund to be used for capital improvements to the property. Some chapters may split this fee into installments. The range is generally $100-$400, depending on the size and age of the property.
- Parlor Fee – A fee paid each semester by non-residents of the house that is designated for general operating expenses of the chapter house. The Parlor Fee may also include a meal plan of some type if one is offered by the local house corporation.
- Room and Board – The fees paid by residents of the house that is designated for general operating expenses of the chapter house and a defined number of meals per week (if meals are provided).
- Meal Plan Fees – Some house corporations offer a separate meal plan, or plans, for non-residents and members will be charged based on the plan that is selected.
- Parking Fee – Some house corporations will have a separate fee for a designated parking space at the chapter house.
- Financial Services Fee – A per member fee that is paid to the NHC to cover the financial services that are provided for the local house corporation. Some house corporations include this in the Parlor Fee and Room & Board Fees, thus do not charge separately for it.
How are housing fee payments invoiced and paid?
For house corporations that participate in the NHC, housing fees are invoiced monthly through the Billhighway online payment platform along with the monthly collegiate chapter fees. Invoices are available the 1st of each month and are due by the 26th of that month to avoid late fees and automatic financial suspension. Members should make payments online through their Billhighway account.
Invoicing and payment systems for non-NHC corporations will vary by chapter. Please check with the local house corporation for more information.
Who is responsible for managing the local chapter house or suite?
In situations where the facility is owned by a local house corporation, overall responsibility for managing the property lies with the board of directors for the local house corporation, often referred to as the “corporation board” or “house corps.”
Depending on the size of the facility and the number of services offered to chapter members, the corporation board may hire a number of staff members to supervise and/or provide services. These may include:
- House director – Historically called “house moms,” the house director is usually a professional on-site property manager who oversees the maintenance of the property and hires/supervises all other staff members. The house director is employed by, and reports to, the corporation board – not the chapter or its officers.
- Chef/Head Cook and kitchen staff
Where the property is university-owned, the decorating committee is responsible for the management of the house or suite. In these situations, there is not a professional staff in place as services are provided by the university.
In addition, each chapter elects or appoints a house manager who serves as the liaison to the corporation board or decorating committee, coordinates with the house director to plan for the chapter’s needs related to the house, and works with other officers to ensure that chapter members follow safety and other house rules. Along with either the chapter president or vice president of finance, the house manager serves as one of two collegiate voting members on the corporation board.
What is the NHC’s relationship with, or authority over, the local house corporation?
Where there is a local house corporation in place that is a participant in the NHC, the NHC is a financial services provider that acts only at the direction of the local corporation board. Decision-making including the setting of fees and invoicing schedules, hiring and supervision of staff, property maintenance and remodeling, and house rules are set by the local corporation board.
In addition to financial services, the NHC provides to participating corporations a comprehensive offering of resources, expert technical assistance, educational opportunities, and project financing to assist them in meeting the benchmarks defined in the Keys to Housing Excellence (hyperlink). However, the local corporation is not required to take advantage of these resources.
For participants in the NHC’s HOMES program (hyperlink), the local house corporation has delegated all operational authority, property management, and staff hiring/supervision to the NHC. Paid staff members of the NHC manage the property and the NHC board of directors provides oversight.
For local house corporations that have not chosen to participate in the NHC, the local corporation board is responsible for all operations and management of the property, including financial services. These corporations receive support and guidance from the Sorority’s housing team of national officers.
How are members selected to live in the house?
Sigma Kappa Sorority’s national policy states that “all members shall live in the house when there is space available.” Since most chapter houses do not have the capacity to house all of the chapter members, each chapter is responsible for determining the method by which they will select members to live in the house. The procedure is generally outlined in the chapter’s Code of Conduct. For questions about your chapter’s expectations regarding living in the house, contact the chapter’s president or house manager.
How and when are housing agreements (room and board contracts) distributed?
Once the chapter notifies the corporation board regarding who will live in the house the following academic year, housing agreements are sent to those members for she and a parent to review and sign. A number of corporation boards manage this process using an online platform for e-signatures.
The process usually takes place November through January and generally occurs prior to the timeframe in which students secure contracts for other off-campus housing so that those who are not selected or required to live in the house have the option to find other housing in the campus community.