Types of Financial Aid

Financial aid packages that aid in paying for college typically consist of grants, scholarships, loans and student employment.

Financial aid can consist of grants, scholarships, loans and student employment.  Typical financial aid packages consist of a combination of these types of aid and are determined after evaluating a family’s ability to contribute in an equitable and consistent manner.  Be aware that applying for admission to Lehigh and applying for financial aid are separate applications with different deadlines.

The basic types of financial aid are:

Gift Aid: Grants & Scholarships

What is Gift Aid?

Grants and scholarships are resources also known collectively as “gift aid” – they do not need to be repaid or earned by working. Most grants are considered need-based awards, while scholarships typically are merit-based.


Grants are gift aid awarded to students. Funds are awarded based on a student's calculated need as determined by the university’s financial aid staff.

Federal Grants (Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant [FSEOG])

Federal grants are need-based gift aid that does not have to be repaid. These types of grants are federally funded and are for students with exceptional need. The value is determined annually and is based on information your family provides. If you are awarded a federal grant, it may reduce your institutional grant.

Lehigh Grants (Endowed & Sponsored Scholarships)

Lehigh Grants are need-based awards funded through university funds and endowments established by generous alumni and friends of the university.  The Lehigh Grant is originally awarded to act as a "placeholder" until we are notified of the amounts we are able to award for each of the named scholarship funds. The Lehigh Grant may be swapped with a scholarship established by a donor. Student recipients must be enrolled full-time.

State Grants

Many states offer grant assistance based on financial need. State grants are awarded to students by the scholarship office of the state in which the student resides. If you are a recipient of a state grant, any need-based institutional grant that you receive will be reduced by the amount of the state grant. Be sure to check with your State Higher Education Agency to find out if there are any additional forms required for state grants.

Scholarships/Merit-Based Awards

Scholarships and merit-based awards are gift aid awarded to undergraduate students solely on a merit basis. When awarding merit aid, we take a holistic approach, looking beyond the numbers related to academic talent alone and reviewing what a student contributes outside the classroom. We also consider recommendations and personal essays. Learn more about Lehigh's scholarships and merit-based awards >

Loans (Both Need- and Non-Need Based)

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.

The following are educational loan opportunities for students and/or parents/guardians:

Federal Loans (Direct and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students [PLUS])

Federal Direct loans are funds that a student is required to repay after graduating from college (or once no longer enrolled at least half time). Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are funds that a credit-worthy parent may borrow. PLUS loans begin repayment while the student is in school. Learn more about federal loan programs >

Lehigh University Tuition Loans

Lehigh University Tuition Loans are funds that are awarded based on financial need and are required to be repaid.

Private/Alternative Loans

A Private/Alternative Loan is a loan that a student can borrow to help finance the family's expected contribution. These loans are based on one's credit history. A student who has not established credit can apply with a co-borrower and can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any aid received. A wide variety of private loan providers are available. We strongly recommend that you carefully review all the terms of each individual loan, as they can vary greatly. Individual loan providers have their own applications and timelines. Plan to apply at least 30 days prior to the date the bill is due. 

Student Employment

Federal Work-Study or Institutionally Funded Work Opportunity

Through Lehigh work-study awards, students can earn money to help meet expenses that are not billed by the institution, such as books and personal expenses. There are usually plenty of employment opportunities available, so students have ample opportunity to earn their full awards.

External Scholarships

There are many private scholarships you may apply for that may or may not be need-based. These awards are based on various factors, such as academics, career goals, etc.

You can access free scholarship information online at www.collegeboard.org or www.gocollege.com and search for a scholarship that matches your interests and qualifications. In most instances there is no charge to apply for scholarships and no guarantee that you will receive a scholarship. The Office of Financial Aid maintains a list of current external scholarships. We strongly recommend that you avoid scholarships that require payment to apply.  Be sure to carefully research the organization and be wary of scholarship scams. Each private scholarship has its own criteria and application process. Please review Lehigh University's Outside Scholarship Adjustment Policy to find out how these awards may affect your need-based financial aid package.


Important Financial Aid Deadlines

The details below will help you understand your responsibilities and provide a timeline to ensure you have the best possible financial aid package in place for the upcoming academic year.
Student Type Application Deadline Award Notification
Early Decision I November 1 Mid-December
Early Decision II January 1  Mid-February
Regular Decision January 15
(Non-U.S. citizens: January 1)
Late March
Current Students March 15 Late June
Fall Transfer April 1 Late May
Spring Transfer November 1 Late December


Career Placement

Success After Lehigh

A Lehigh education will launch your career—95% of the class of 2022 were employed, continuing education or pursuing military or volunteer service within six months of graduation.