All loans must be repaid.  Need-based loan options are available through both Lehigh and the federal government.  Non-need-based loan options are available through the federal government and private sources. Eligibility for these options are determined by financial requirements submitted. 

The following loans may be included in your need-based award eligibility and are considered part of the “self-help” portion of your package when meeting need.  

On this page you will find additional information regarding the following types of loans:

Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans (The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program)

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. Eligibility for a Federal Direct Loan is based on cost of education, the amount of other financial aid being received and the Expected Family Contribution.

There are both subsidized and unsubsidized….the student pays the interest on the unsubsidized portion. We strongly encourage students to pay the interest that accrues during enrollment, however, the student also has the option to capitalize interest payments (add the interest to the principle balance to be repaid after graduation) if they are unable to provide payments during enrollment. Repayment of any Direct Loans begin six months after graduating from college (or once no longer enrolled at least half time).   View more information on the terms and conditions of this federal loan, including interest rates >

Federal Direct Loan Requirements and Repayment

  • Direct Loan Requirements: In addition to accepting the award, a student must complete (1) Loan Entrance Counseling and (2) sign (electronically) a Master Promissory Note. Both requirements are completed online at and students must use their FSA ID (from completion of the FAFSA). These requirements are good for loans in multiple academic years (unless a separation in enrollment occurs).
  • Repaying Your Federal Direct Loan: Borrowers of a Federal Direct loan must complete a requirement called Loan Exit Counseling upon graduation, or if enrollment drops below halftime. This online requirement provides information and details on the loan repayment process and is completed at Additional information, including specific information on your Direct Loan borrowing, can be accessed at

Lehigh University Tuition Loans (Frank Williams Loan)

The Lehigh University Tuition Loan, otherwise known as the Frank Williams Loan, is awarded to students based on financial need. This subsidized loan has a fixed interest rate of 7% and 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 for summer 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.

University Tuition Loan Requirements and Repayment

  • Lehigh University Tuition Loan Requirements: Once a student has accepted an award, the Office of Financial Aid will mail the following University Loan documents for completion: (1) Lehigh University Loan Agreement; (2) Personal and Confidential form, and (3) Private Self- Certification. These hard-copy documents are completed by the student and parents and returned in original form to the Office of Financial Aid. Please note that the Lehigh University Loan Agreement requires both student and parent signatures, and these signatures must be notarized (either by a notary public or a staff member in the Office of Financial Aid).
  • Repaying Your Lehigh University Tuition Loan: The Lehigh Office of Collections, which is part of the Lehigh Bursar’s Office, handles requirements and provides information related to repayment of the Federal Perkins Loan and the Lehigh University Loans. Information can be found at

Private Loans/Parent PLUS Loan

A student private loan or the Federal Direct PLUS may be applied for by student or parent separately from the need-based application and award.  In general, these loan options are used to help finance some or all of the Expected Family Contribution (or 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 a student loan based on the student’s credit history with the best interest rates given to students who have creditworthy co-borrowers. (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).  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. Individual loan providers have their own application and timeline. Plan to apply at least 30 days prior to the date the bill is due. 

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan offers credit-worthy parents an alternative means of financing the net cost of a student's education.  The loan is specific to an academic year (a Direct PLUS loan application must be completed to confirm the borrower is creditworthy each academic year); the maximum amount is the cost of attendance minus any aid received, and repayment begins while the student is in school however, deferment may be requested. View additional information on the terms and conditions of this federal loan, including interest rates >

The Direct PLUS loan can be applied for at  The student must have a valid FAFSA on file and parents who are first-time borrowers of a PLUS loan must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).  This MPN is completed by parents with their own FSA ID obtained during the FAFSA filing (not the student’s). For more information, see Direct Parent PLUS Loan Application/Master Promissory Note.

Types of Aid

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Grants & Scholarships

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.


Student Employment

A student employment or work study award is an opportunity for a student to get an on-campus job to earn money for college expenses. This award is used to meet a student’s financial need.

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External Scholarships

These gift aid resources may be need-based or merit-based and are administered by third-party agencies and organizations.



The person responsible for repaying a loan who has agreed to the terms and has signed a promissory note.

Capitalized Interest

When interest that accrues on a loan is not paid, it is capitalized or added to the principal balance, which increases the outstanding principal amount due on this loan.