Understanding Your Net Cost
The amount that you will have to pay is referred to as your Net Cost and can be determined by subtracting all financial aid resources from the total cost of attendance. Please use our Net Cost Worksheet (PDF) to compute your net cost. This net cost is specific only to the current academic year costs and eligibility and may change in future academic years.
Families may pursue a private or parent loan to assist with their net cost. If you choose to obtain additional loans to finance your expected family contribution or any unmet need, you will need to complete additional forms and applications. Information on education loan options.
Lehigh also offers a short-term payment plan option, administered by the Office of the Bursar. Information on the Lehigh Semester Payment Plan can be found on their website.
Financial Aid Appeal Process
Though we collect a significant amount of information through the financial aid application process, there may be special circumstances or additional information that you feel impacts your family’s ability to contribute to your educational costs. Though not all circumstances will impact need-based financial aid eligibility, we welcome students and parents to contact their financial aid counselor to discuss this information.
Revisions to Financial Aid Awards
Financial aid eligibility may change for a variety of reasons. Completion of federal verification, receipt of updated information to finalize a previously tentative award, receipt of an additional outside resource, change in enrollment or housing status, verification of sibling enrollment, employment as a Gryphon and other factors may result in a change in eligibility.
Notifications of financial aid eligibility changes are sent via email to the student only and require logging in to the Lehigh Portal Banner Self Service. A history of award information is not maintained, and we strongly recommend that you save a record of your award each time you receive a notification. Active Messages associated with your award and eligibility will provide details on your eligibility and revisions. You may contact your financial aid counselor at any time for information or explanation of an award change.
Loan Options and Requirements
Loans are funds that are borrowed and must be repaid over time, usually with interest. Loans can be made available through the federal government, lending institutions such as banks and credit unions, and Lehigh. Some loan types are based on financial need, while other loan options are available to all students regardless of their need levels. Loan repayment periods and terms vary by loan type and lender and it is important to understand this information when deciding to take out a loan. You may have been offered a loan as part of your financial aid package or you may be interested in borrowing a loan to cover your net cost. Important information regarding the steps you need to take if you wish to borrow is listed below.
This federal student loan is available to students enrolled at least half time in an undergraduate- or graduate-degree program who must meet the minimum eligibility criteria for Federal Aid. A student must file only the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be offered this loan.
View more information on the terms and conditions of this federal loan including interest rates at the Department of Education website.
How to Apply for a Direct Loan
- Submit the FAFSA - Students who submit the FAFSA and meet the eligibility requirements for a Direct Loan will receive the loan as part of their financial aid package.
- Log on to your Student Portal and accept or decline all or part of the Direct Loans that have been offered to you.
- For first-time borrowers - Complete both the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note at StudentLoans.gov
- Upon graduation (or enrollment drops below half-time) – Complete the Loan Exit Counseling at studentaid.ed.gov
A history of your Direct Loan borrowing can be accessed at NSLDS.
Lehigh University has funding available to provide institutional loans, called Frank Williams Loans, to students. The Frank Williams Loan is awarded to students as part of the financial aid package and is based on financial need. This loan does not accrue interest while the student is in school and has a fixed interest rate of 7%. A student is required to begin repayment three months after graduating from college (or once no longer enrolled at least half time). This loan is also available to cover costs related to summer or winter enrollment. Students who wish to apply for loans to cover the cost of summer tuition should complete a Summer Financial Aid Application.
In accordance with the Truth in Lending Act, students who have been offered University Tuition Loans must receive a solicitation disclosure. Please reference our Private Education Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure for reference. You must complete additional requirements once you accept the University Tuition Loan.
How to Apply for a University Tuition Loan
- Students who submit a complete application for institutional need-based aid and are eligible for the University Tuition Loan will be offered the loan as part of their financial aid package.
- Log on to your Student Portal and accept or decline all or part of the University Tuition Loan that has been offered to you.
- Once a student has accepted the award, you and your parents (if applicable) must sign an MPN using DocuSign’s electronic signature process. Detailed instructions will be sent via email from DocuSign in August. The email will be sent to the student and parent email address(es) provided on your financial aid application materials and contain the subject line “Fall Loan Documents.” Note that to sign the MPN, you will need an access code. The access code that you, the student, will use is your date of birth in MMDDYY format. The access code that your parent(s) will use is also your date of birth in MMDDYY format.
- Upon graduation (or enrollment drops below half-time) – Complete the Loan Exit Counseling which will be sent to the student via email. Information can be found at http://financeadmin.lehigh.edu/content/repayment-loans.
The Direct PLUS loans are federal loans that creditworthy parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow to help pay for college. In general, PLUS Loans are used to help finance some or all of the net cost after all financial aid resources are considered. The loans are specific to an academic year and can be applied for by individual term, or for an entire academic year. Repayment begins while the student is in school however, parents may request a deferment while the student is enrolled. View additional information on the terms and conditions of this federal loan, including interest rates.
In cases where a parent applies for, and is denied to borrow the PLUS loan, the student is eligible for additional unsubsidized loan. This additional loan will be offered to the student by the aid office 48-72 hours after the PLUS loan has been denied.
How to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan
- As long as the student has submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), parents can complete an application for the PLUS loan at www.studentloans.gov. Note: The Direct PLUS loan will not be offered as part of a financial aid award.
- For first-time borrowers – If the loan is approved, the borrower (parent) must complete a Master Promissory Note at StudentLoans.gov
A private education loan is a loan that can be applied for by a student separately from the need-based application and award. In general, these loan options are used to help finance some or all of the net cost after all financial aid resources are considered. The loans are specific to an academic year and can be applied for by individual term, or for an entire academic year.
A private/alternative loan is generally based on the student’s credit history. A student who has poor credit or has not established credit can apply with a creditworthy co-borrower. Even in cases where a student does not require a co-borrower, the best interest rates tend to be given to students who have creditworthy co-borrowers. Lehigh does not recommend any specific private loan option but strongly recommends that you carefully review the terms and conditions of multiple private loan options as they can vary greatly. To assist with this process, a list of private loans recently used by Lehigh students can be found on our ELMSelect site.
How to apply for a Private Loan
- Individual loan providers have their own application and timeline. Plan to apply at least 30 days prior to the date the bill is due.
Students who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and have financial need may be offered work-study as part of their financial aid award. A work-study award is an opportunity for a student to get an on-campus job to earn money for college expenses. This program is administered by the Office of Financial Aid in conjunction with guidelines set forth by the federal government.
A database of work-study positions are able to be viewed and applied for through the Lehigh Office of Career & Professional Development Handshake system.
Current wage levels range from $9-$12 per hour. Please reference the Work-Study Wage Grid to determine the number of hours you can work per week based on your allotted eligibility. You may hold only one position at a time and you cannot earn more than your work-study award for the year. If your earnings do reach or exceed your award limit, your position will be terminated. It is your responsibility to budget and monitor your hours and earnings.
Remember that your supervisor needs your academic schedule. Please be aware that although the scheduling of hours can be flexible, federal guidelines state that you are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Most Lehigh work-study recipients work an average of 7.5 hours a week.
Student employment earnings are not credited against the Lehigh student account (like grants and loans) but are paid directly to the student via a paycheck. Paychecks are distributed every two weeks for hours worked and are sent directly to the department in which you are employed. You may also choose to enroll in Direct Deposit, in which case the funds would be electronically deposited into a designated personal bank account. Wages are subject to taxation, including state, local and occupational privilege tax. Once a job is secured, students are required to log their hours worked through an online tool called TimeClock Plus. Information regarding this tool will be sent after a job is secured. Please visit the Payroll Office page for additional information and forms regarding payment.
Once you have secured a work study position, you must complete and submit the following forms. These forms may be obtained either online or from your supervisor.
Submit to Payroll
- W-4 Form
- I-9 Form (Instructions for I-9 Form)
- Residency Certificate Form
- Direct Deposit Authorization Form (optional)