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Funding Your Education

Figuring out how to pay for your education does not have to be stressful or confusing. In fact, you can likely find financial aid to pay for the college of your choice—as long as you know where to look and what steps to take.

Here are 9 tips your family should keep in mind to simplify the process.

  • Start saving now. Your savings may reduce the amount you borrow later, and some savings plans, like 529 plans and Covedell Education Savings Accounts, offer tax benefits.
  • Expand your college search. Private colleges and universities—particularly out-of-state private institutions—value geographic diversity and often have more resources to devote to financial aid.
  • Understand the system. Some universities encourage all applicants to file for financial aid, no matter the family's financial circumstances. It's worth your time to do this and to visit online tools at www.collegeboard.org or www.finaid.org.
  • Complete the FAFSA. Regardless of your income, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal and state grants, work study and federal college loans.
  • Complete the other forms, too! Most universities require a range of forms such as the College Scholarship Service's Financial Aid PROFILE application. At minimum, federal tax returns will be required as well. Be thorough and detailed!
  • Apply for scholarships. There's a lot out there! You can find information about federal grants and scholarships at the Department of Education. And don't forget to check websites like www.fastweb.com, www.gocollege.com and www.collegeboard.org for (private) scholarship information.
  • Highlight special circumstances. Colleges take seriously the responsibility of evaluating a family's financial circumstances and, therefore, recognize that a wide range of factors can affect a family's ability to pay.
  • Be aware of deadlines. Deadlines are critically important, and missing them could make you ineligible for aid. Financial aid deadlines are separate from your college application deadlines and may be much earlier.
  • Be proactive! Keep track of the deadlines and required application materials. If you have any questions, contact the school's financial aid office. Email is the best form of communication because it's easy to keep track of.

Deadlines

Applicant Type Deadline to file CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® Application** Deadline to file FAFSA Deadline to submit 2012 Federal Tax Returns* **
Deadline to submit 2013 Federal Tax Returns* ** & Lehigh University Financial Aid Application**
Early Decision I November 15 February 1 November 15
February 15
Early Decision II January 15 February 1 January 15 February 15
Regular Decision February 1 February 1 N/A February 15
Fall Transfer March 1 April 1 N/A April 1

*Note: Federal Tax Returns must be submitted for custodial parent, student, non-custodial parent (if applicable), and business taxes (if applicable) by the deadlines given.
**These items are required if you are applying for institutional need-based financial aid. You do not need to submit these items if you are applying for Federal Aid only.

Net Price Calculator

Create “what if” scenarios based on expected family income and anticipated expenses, so you can plan for your education. Explore how to plan and pay for your college education >

Affording Lehigh

We take your financial concerns seriously and want to make Lehigh an affordable option. Check out our Net Price Calculator and more on financial aid >

95% of Lehigh undergraduates have had at least one career-related experience (i.e. internship/co-op/research) prior to graduating

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