Policies

It is your responsibility to understand all financial aid policies fully.  If you have questions about any of this information, please contact us.

General Eligibility Standards

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours (full-time enrollment) per semester in order to maintain institutional aid eligibility*. Financial Aid awards are provided to students with the assumption that they will enroll full time. If a student will enroll less than full time, it is his or her responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid to ensure that financial aid eligibility offered is correct based on actual or anticipated enrollment level. At a certain point each term, the Office of Financial Aid will evaluate the enrollment levels and adjust aid accordingly.

*In general, an undergraduate student must be enrolled full-time to receive need-based institutional grant.  However, an undergraduate student who does not requirement full-time enrollment in their final semester (within eight consecutive semesters) may complete the Petition for Institutional Aid (part-time in last semester). Reductions in cost of attendance due to less than full-time enrollment will still result in reduction to need-based aid.

Renewal Policy

Aid is limited to eight consecutive semesters from the date of enrollment for a four-year program. The only exceptions to this rule are the Arts-Engineering, IDEAS and IBE undergraduate programs. Should a student have a break in enrollment (due to leave of absence or medical withdraw) and/or require enrollment beyond eight consecutive terms, continued financial aid consideration must be granted by the Committee on Undergraduate Financial Aid. This requires a petition to the Committee on Undergraduate Financial Aid. Petitions will be considered incomplete and will not be considered for review until all steps have been completed and received in the Office of Financial Aid

Reapplying For Financial Aid - Factors/Changes in Eligibility

Financial need is reviewed annually to ensure aid eligibility as determined by the Office of Financial Aid, in conjunction with federal, state and university guidelines, reflects current financial and household information. In order to maintain federal and institutional grant eligibility from one academic year to the next, students must continue to demonstrate financial need. Changes in circumstances such as sibling(s) enrollment in undergraduate college, changes in household size or changes in income may result in a change in financial aid eligibility. Completed renewal applications are due to our office by March 15 of each year. Late applicants risk not being aided due to lack of fund availability and applications are considered incomplete until all required materials are received. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the financial aid application is complete. Application status can be viewed on the Lehigh Portal.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

All students receiving financial aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP policies exist for both federal financial aid as well as all institutional financial aid. For both federal and institutional aid purposes, academic progress will be checked annually at the end of each academic year, unless a student is on Financial Aid Probation, in which case SAP will be checked at the end of each semester.

Federal

SAP for Federal Financial Aid Eligibility differs from the academic progress policy for institutional aid. To maintain eligibility for Federal aid, students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress based on both qualitative (cumulative GPA) and quantitative standards (pace of progression). Students must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all grade levels. Per Federal Guidelines, students have a maximum of 12 semesters of Federal Aid to complete their graduate requirements (aggregate loan limits apply as well). Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of their attempted coursework.  

Institutional

In order to maintain eligibility for Institutional financial aid, students must make progress toward their degree by:

  • enrolling and passing no fewer than 12 new credits each semester,
  • earning a minimum GPA of 2.0 for each semester, and
  • maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

NOTE: Institutional aid is provided to assist students in obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Additional aid will not be available to students who choose to enhance their bachelor’s degree with additional credentials (i.e., second major/minors) and are unable to do so within the eight consecutive semesters.

Failure to Meet SAP: Students who are failing to meet SAP standards can may view this status on the Lehigh Portal and may file a petition to the Academic Committee on Financial Aid.

State/Federal Grant Policy

Students are expected to apply to the state grant program for which they might be eligible. Receipt of a state or federal grant will result in a one-for-one reduction to any institutional need-based grant assistance.

Outside Scholarship/Resource Policy

Institutional grants will be reduced when total gift-aid received (scholarships and/or grants from any sources including but not limited to Lehigh University, Federal Grants, State Grants, Tuition benefits, Gryphon awards, and outside foundations and agencies) exceeds the total financial need that is calculated using the expected family contribution that is determined using the FAFSA application. In addition, the total of all sources of funding cannot exceed a student’s total Cost of Attendance for the year. If receipt of an outside resource causes this "over award", federal funds must also be reduced. The Office of Financial Aid will first reduce the self-help, including the loan component of the package and Work Study portions, when necessary (or when it is preferred by the student).

Tuition benefits are not considered a private scholarship, Tuition benefits in excess of self-help awards (Work Study and Loans used to meet need) will result in a dollar for dollar reduction to Lehigh University Grant awards.

Refund/ Withdrawal Policy

An undergraduate student in good standing who formally withdraws or reduces his or her course enrollment below 12 credit hours before 60% of the semester has been completed during the fall and spring semesters will be eligible for a tuition refund. The tuition refund for a student who withdraws or drops a course(s) is calculated on a daily basis. The date used to calculate refunds is based on when a properly authorized withdrawal or drop/add is received by Registration & Academic Services. Students receiving financial aid who drop below full-time status must have their financial aid package re-evaluated by the Office of Financial Aid prior to the issuance of any refund check. The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for determining the appropriate redistribution of charges and refunds when students receive any financial assistance. These decisions are made on the basis of federal, state and institutional policies. Any refunds due to the Title IV programs will be refunded in the following order: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan; Subsidized Federal Direct Loan; Federal Perkins Loans; Federal PLUS Loan; Federal Pell Grant; Federal SEOG; any other Title IV program.

General Institutional & Federal Regulations/Policies/Important Information

  • Overpayment cases will be referred to the U.S. Department of Education
  • If you have been selected for verification by the federal government, schools are required to obtain the requested information under the financial aid program rules (34CFR, Part 668)
  • Additional information on aid eligibility may be found in the Lehigh University Course Catalog

Students' Rights and Responsibilities 

Students have the right to know:

  • the cost of attendance
  • the refund policy for students who withdraw
  • the financial assistance available from federal, state and institutional sources
  • procedures and deadlines for submitting applications for financial aid
  • how financial aid recipients are selected
  • how eligibility was determined, including all resources the aid office considered available to the student
  • how and when funds will be disbursed
  • an explanation of each type of award received
  • for any student loan received: the interest rate, total amount to be repaid, when repayment begins, the length of the repayment period, and the cancellation or deferment provisions of the loan
  • for any Federal Work-Study or university-funded job: a description of the job, the hours to be worked, the rate of pay, and how and when the student will be paid
  • the criteria used to determine satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes; and how to appeal a decision by the Office of Financial Aid concerning any aid award.

It is the student's responsibility to:

  • read directions thoroughly, complete all application forms accurately, and to comply with any deadlines;
  • provide any supplemental information or documentation required by the Office of Financial Aid or other agency if applicable;
  • read, understand and keep copies of any forms the student is required to sign;
  • repay any student loans received;
  • complete entrance counseling and an exit interview if federal, state or university loans are received while in attendance at Lehigh;
  • notify the Office of Financial Aid of any change in enrollment status or financial status (including any scholarships or grants received from outside sources); changes of address and enrollment status must also be reported to lender(s) for any loan(s);
  • satisfactorily perform the work agreed upon in a Federal Work-Study or university-funded work program; and
  • know and comply with all requirements for continuation of financial aid, including satisfactory academic progress requirements.

Lehigh University Financial Aid Code of Conduct Policy

The Higher Education Opportunity Act sets conditions for educational institutions to participate in Title IV programs and requires the development of and compliance with a code of conduct prohibiting conflicts of interest for its financial aid personnel [HEOA 487 (a)(25)]. Lehigh University’s officers, employees and agents are required to comply with this code of conduct. The following specific provisions bring Lehigh University into compliance with the federal law [HEOA 487(e)].

  1. Neither the University, not its employees shall not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
  2. No officer or employee of the University, who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise, has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agent, who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or any of their family members, shall solicit or accept any gift (any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount) from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans.
  3. An officer or employee who is employed in the Financial Aid Office of the University or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, shall not accept from any lender or affiliate of any lender any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
  4. The University shall not for any first-time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender; or refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
  5. The University shall not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans (as defined in section 140 of the Truth in Lending Act), including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the University providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with:
    a. a specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under this title;
    b. a specified loan volume of such loans; or
    c. a preferred lender arrangement for such loans
  6. The University shall not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or Financial Aid Office staffing.
    Assistance will be permitted for the following instances:
    • Professional development training for financial aid administrators;
    • Providing educational counseling materials, financial literacy materials, or debt management materials to borrowers, provided that such materials disclose to borrowers the identification of any lender that assisted in preparing or providing such materials; or
    • Staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis to assist the University with financial aide-related functions during emergencies, including State-declared or federally declared natural disasters, and other localized disasters and emergencies identified by the Secretary of Education.
  7. Any employee who is employed in the Financial Aid Office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or other student financial aid of the University, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor or group of lenders or guarantors, shall be prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lenders, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such advisory board, commission, or group.

In addition to the items above, as a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the University also follows the standards established in NASFAA’s Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aide Professionals.

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations, if a student is convicted of a drug offense after receiving Federal financial aid money, he or she must notify the Financial Aid Office immediately. Further, that student will become ineligible for further federal financial aid and will also be required to pay back any and all aid received after the conviction. Should a conviction result, a student can take advantage of rehabilitation programs that can make him or her eligible again for federal financial aid.

For students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs (the following information is excerpted from the Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1 – Student Eligibility): A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds. Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when a juvenile, unless the student was tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.

Offense Possession of Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 year from date of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite Period
3+ Offenses Indefinite prior of ineligibility Indefinite prior of ineligibility

To regain eligibility, a person must successfully complete a drug rehabilitation program recognized by a federal, state or local government agency and the program must include at least two unannounced drug tests OR if the conviction was reversed, set aside or removed from the student’s record. If a student is denied eligibility for an indefinite period, the student can regain eligibility after completing a drug rehabilitation program as described previously or if the conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

Glossary

Deferment

The temporary postponement of loan payments for a limited period of time. Deferments, allowed for specific borrower activities, extend the loan repayment period by the length of the deferment period.

Need Analysis

The process of determining a student’s financial need by analyzing the financial information provided by the student and his or her parents.

"Financial aid allowed me to actually attend Lehigh. If I had not received financial assistance, I would not be able to go to college, let alone to an institution like Lehigh." – Colton Marko ‘17