Parent FAQs

Below we’ve answered some of the biggest questions we get from parents, families and friends. Click on the plus (+) sign next to each question to see the answers.

If you don’t see a question listed here that you have, or if you need to understand more about an answer, send us an e-mail at or call us at (800) 233-1856.

What is the history of Sigma Alpha Epsilon?

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity was founded March 9, 1856, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Its founders were eight young men, five of them seniors at the university; the other three were juniors. The leader of the eight was Noble Leslie DeVotie, whose motive was to perpetuate through the organization the warm friendships he and his friends had already formed on the campus of the university. Today, the organization is among the largest of its kind, with more than 240 groups and 300,000 initiated brothers.

What is the mission of the Fraternity?

The mission of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is to promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for our members based upon the ideals set forth by our Founders and as specifically enunciated in “The True Gentleman.”

What is your stance on hazing?

We maintain a strict anti-hazing policy and use a health-and-safety guide titled Minerva’s Shield that covers our regulations and protocols. We also provide education at our Leadership Schools, both regional and national. Sigma Alpha Epsilon also sponsors a hazing hotline in place for individuals to reports any hazing concerns anonymously at 1-888-NOT-HAZE. Any questions about alcohol, hazing or health and safety can be directed to Director of Health & Safety Clark Brown at

Are there regulations on who you accept as a new member?

Our groups are autonomous in their recruitment of new members, but the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity maintains a non-discrimination policy regarding membership in our organization. In addition, our Fraternity Laws detail the qualification of membership in the Fraternity.

What educational opportunities do you provide?

SAE has developed the web-based True Gentleman Initiative Program, which is the framework for all educational programming. The program is based on 12 core areas of chapter development and builds partnerships between the chapter, host institution, alumni, parents, and Fraternity Service Center. Each chapter has a complete library of online officer notebooks to store and record officer information, files, and officer goals. A tradition since 1930, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation sponsors the annual Leadership School to deliver personal development training and skill-building to more than 400 brothers each year. In addition, the Foundation also recognizes our top scholars and leaders with a generous scholarship program. Our True Gentlemen Initiative program was awarded the “Outstanding Educational Programming Award” by the Association of Fraternity Advisors in December 2002.

What impact will fraternity membership have on my son's academics?

Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high-school environment to the freedoms of college. Part of the new-member program is to assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs, which might include study partners, study hours and time-management workshops. Your son can access the network of brothers who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study-skills centers, computer labs and academic advisers. A minimum 2.3 GPA is required for membership along with the expectation that brothers maintain positive academic standing at their respective institution. Our members are enrolled in higher education for the primary purpose of attaining a degree or several; it is an expectation set by the Fraternity that members achieve excellence in the classroom and in their everyday lives.

Will the fraternity help my son with job placement after he graduates?

With a worldwide network of nearly 200,000 living alumni, Sigma Alpha Epsilon offers an extensive networking opportunity for its members – both during and after college. While we cannot guarantee job placements, Sigma Alpha Epsilon can expose your son to an incredible number of successful alumni who are leaders in all areas of business, education, arts, sciences, politics, technology and numerous other fields.

It seems like fraternities embody the type of behavior and antics in movies like Animal House or Old School, right?

Regretfully, pop culture and the poor behaviors of college men in the past few decades have stereotyped fraternity members as abusive, irresponsible partiers and hellraisers. In reality, fraternities are values-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendships. Sigma Alpha Epsilon encourages its members to exemplify the characteristics of a gentleman and to become involved in their campus and local community. The Fraternity’s preferred philanthropy is the Children’s Miracle Network because of its great capacity to impact children’s lives and the proximity of numerous hospitals to our chapters. In 2002, the Fraternity launched its inaugural True Gentleman Day of Service, with more than 35 chapters participating in a community-service program. This event has grown to involve hundreds of chapters. In fact, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a national partner with National Youth Service Day.

What are the costs associated with membership?

Each chapter is responsible for creating and maintaining its own budget. A number of factors may determine that cost, such as room and board, meals or other maintenance fees. However, the only costs the national headquarters mandates is a $310 initiation fee, which is a one-time fees. In addition, we protect our members through insurance coverage and assess each man a health-and-safety fee. The average cost is $200 per member per year. Please note, however, that members who breach our health-and-safety policies will not be covered under our policy. Furthermore, chapters with claims histories may be assessed a higher fee.

Does being a fraternity member require a lot of time?

Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one's time. Research has shown that college students who are active in extracurricular activities are more likely to graduate and report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through his fraternity involvement, your son should be able to learn how to balance his academic, work, campus involvement and social commitments.

What is my role as a parent?

Our best advice is this. Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking questions of your son as he meets fraternity members and discusses his experiences. In the same way, it’s important for you to show interest in the path he has chosen and find out whether or not membership has guided him accordingly. If you ever have concerns, whether he communicates them to you or based on your own perceptions, you should contact us anytime at or at (800) 233-1856.

If your son becomes a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, there are many opportunities for parents to become involved. Some of our strongest chapters have strong participation by mothers and fathers. This can include an active Parents or Minerva Club or being a member of the house corporation or advisory board. Parents can also assist in the organization by organizing or participating in Parents’ Day, House Improvement Day, homecoming, etiquette dinners or golf outings. Family participation can always improve any undergraduate event.




Since 1856

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