Understanding Your Award


Once you receive your Lehigh financial aid notification, you may have questions about your awards, eligibility, and possible next steps. The information on this page will provide you with helpful information.

Award Notification

Please be aware that first year student initial financial aid notifications are sent in hardcopy, and will be delivered with or shortly after an offer of admission. Financial aid notifications for current students, and revised financial aid notifications for all students, are announced via general email, and award information is accessed through the Lehigh Portal.

Prospective students who complete their application by the deadline will receive their award notification within a week of their offer of admission.

Current students who complete their application by the deadline will receive their award notification by mid-June each year.

Using Lehigh Portal

Your Lehigh Portal is the quickest and easiest way to view the current status of your financial aid requirements and award information. Please use the following instructions to:

Understanding Your Award/Eligibility

You may view individualized messages informing you of specific factors impacting current year eligibility, information or instructions on certain types of financial aid awarded to you, or why changes or adjustment in eligibility occurred.  View your financial aid “Active Messages” on your Lehigh Portal.

The general process to determine need-based eligibility may also help with understanding your financial aid eligibility.

Finally, our financial aid is staff, including an assigned financial aid counselor, is happy to assist with your questions or concerns.  Please contact us.

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 impact 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.

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. Please be aware that this net cost is specific only to the current academic year costs and eligibility and may change in future academic years.

Financing Your Net Cost

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 Four Payment Plan (4PP).


Default Fee

A default fee is used by the guarantor to maintain reserve funds to reimburse lenders if a student/parent borrower fails to repay a loan (defaults.) Therefore, guarantors may charge a 1% fee.

Financial Aid Notification (FAN)

The offer of financial aid prepared by the Office of Financial Aid after completing a needs analysis. The award letter lists the types and amounts of aid offered and the terms and conditions of that aid. The letter also contains the necessary paperwork that must be completed and returned to the Office of Financial Aid to accept the aid offered. We typically include special information or messages regarding the needs analysis process on the back of the award letter.

"I applied for federal loans and I found the experience helpful because it has allowed me the opportunity to attend school each year with a portion of my tuition taken care of for each semester.  While I may have to spend some time after school paying back those loans, the degree I will have at the end of my four years of college and the opportunity to pursue a career I am passionate about it well worth it." – Miranda Reyes ‘16