College of

Financial Aid and Support

Graduate Student Handbook

Graduate assistantships and research assistantships are available in the College and in various administrative offices on campus.  In addition, graduate students may be recommended for a limited number of fellowships and endowed scholarships, which are awarded by the College.  Academic programs in the College also award a limited number of departmental scholarships in the form of tuition waivers.  The general preference for awarding such program-administered departmental scholarships is to full-time students pursuing a doctorate first, then part-time students pursuing a doctorate, followed by full-time students pursuing a master’s degree, and lastly to part-time students pursuing a master’s.

    Centennial School

    Lehigh's Centennial School, a laboratory school for children with emotional/behavior disorders, provides employment for some Lehigh education students.  Graduate students may apply for teaching internships, which pay tuition plus salaries. See Centennial School Employment Opportunities for more information, 

    Scholarships and Fellowships

    These awards are made to graduate students who demonstrate superior qualifications and performance.  There are three types of awards: 1) scholarships which consist of credit awards to be applied towards tuition; 2) fellowships sponsored by the university which provide both stipend and credit awards for tuition; and 3) fellowships which have been designated by a donor for students in a particular discipline.

    Each year the Dean's Office receives an allocation of tuition credits for scholarships.  The Department Chairperson designates students for fellowships of the second type outlined above that consist of a semester stipend as well as an entire year of tuition credit hours of up to 10 credits per semester, and of the third type outlined above when a donor funds this award.  Contact the Dean's Office at 610-758-3221 for further information regarding specialized donor scholarships.

    Financial aid is ordinarily available only for regular, full-time graduate students.  The Department of Education and Human Services (see Chairperson, Iacocca Hall A325, 610-758-3241) and the Dean of the College of Education (Iacocca Hall A325, 610-758-3221) award scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships (GAs), research assistantships (RAs), and project assistantships (PAs).  Scholarship award applications must be submitted to the program director no later than December 15.

    Scholarship Application Request Forms
    Graduate Assistant

    Graduate Assistant (GA) is a technical term used to describe specific types of Lehigh University students receiving university support.  Their duties are generally set by the department, but certain conditions must be satisfied before a student can be classified as a GA.  These include:

    1. Each full GA must be a regular full-time Lehigh graduate student.  This status normally requires registration for at least 9 credit hours per semester;
    2. A full GA is a “half-time” position, meaning that he or she provides services to Lehigh University of 20 hours per week.  “Quarter-time” (10 hours per week) and “eighth-time” (5 hours per week) GA appointments are possible for both full- and part-time graduate students, with stipends and tuition remission reduced proportionately;
    3. Each GA must be paid a specific stipend that is set for the academic year by the Dean's office after consultation with the Director of Budget;
    4. Qualified full GAs receive tuition remission for, at most, 10 credit hours in a regular semester.  No full GA may register for more than 10 credit hour without permission.  A student who is a full GA during the preceding academic year is entitled to a maximum of three hours of research or dissertation registration (not course credit) in the following summer without payment of tuition;
    5. Each GA is appointed by a process that begins with a formal letter of appointment issued by the appropriate department Chairperson.  The appointment letter specifies standard university conditions, including stipend level, time of arrival, length of service, and satisfactory academic progress and performance of duties.  The department Chairperson submits written notification of GA appointments to the student and the faculty supervisor.
    6. Tuition remission for qualified GAs is authorized by the Dean as part of the registration process.

    Graduate Assistantships may be awarded by recommendation of the Chairperson of the Education and Human Services Department.  All full graduate assistants are full-time students and are normally expected to devote half-time to the service of the university.  Appointment is for one year and tuition fees are remitted.  In special cases, graduate students may hold one-third GA positions where two-thirds of the student's time is devoted to graduate work and one-third to service to the university.  Tuition fees are not waived for any graduate assistant devoting less than one-half time service to the university.  The availability of these assistantships is based on the needs of the department.  GAs are also employed regularly by the Graduate Life Office (217 W. Packer Avenue, 610-758-4722); Athletic Facilities (641 Taylor Street, 610-758-4320); Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (31 Williams Drive, Suite 380, 610-758-3890;; the Dean of Students Office (Williams Hall, 610-758-4156); the University Counseling Service (Johnson Hall, 610-758-3880); the Office of International Students and Scholars (Coxe Hall, 610-758-4859;; and Career Services (Rauch Business Center, 610-758-3710).

    Award Application Deadlines

    Continuing students who request fellowships, scholarships, RAs, and GAs beginning in the fall semester must file a request with the appropriate program director within the Department of Education and Human Services.  Check with your program coordinator for deadlines.  The department Chairperson will make recommendations for the recipients of these awards based on merit.  Students are not required to submit a financial statement to be considered for such awards.

    Summer Appointments

    There are a limited number of summer GA appointments.  These GA employees must receive the same monthly stipend as academic year GAs and provide services of up to 20 hours per week to the university, once again proportionate to the GA position they hold (full, one-quarter, one-third, one-eight).  A summer GA registers for a maximum of three credit hours in each summer session of employment and receives tuition remission for that registration.

    Research Assistants

    Graduate students employed on research projects are designated as either research assistants or project assistants and are not eligible for university benefits.  Appointment is offered by the principal investigator or project director in consultation with the Chairperson of the Department of Education and Human Services, and is reviewed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  Research assistants (RAs) are pursuing graduate degrees, devoting full-time to a program of graduate work (which may include teaching, research, and other academic activities as well as courses), and are appointed to such positions in a research program whose activities help them fulfill requirements for the degrees sought.  RAs typically receive both a stipend and tuition remission.

    Graduate Project Assistants

    These assistants are appointed by research project directors, after consultation with the Chairperson of the Department of Education and Human Services, and upon review by the Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  Graduate project assistants (PAs) provide services to research projects for research work that does not fulfill degree requirements.  Joint appointments as research assistant and graduate project assistant are permissible, subject to appropriate approvals.

    Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan

    The Federal Stafford Student Loans are long-term, low-interest loans made to a student by private lending institutions.  The certification of eligibility for these loans is done through the Office of Financial Aid.  The Federal government will pay the interest on this loan while the student is in school.  The student must demonstrate "financial need" to qualify for the interest subsidy benefits.  "Need" is the cost of education, minus other financial aid and your expected family contribution.  The expected family contribution is determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

    Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan

    No expected family contribution is used to determine need for Unsubsidized Stafford Loans; however the student is responsible for all the interest on this type of loan from the date it is disbursed.  The Federal government does not pay the interest on the student's behalf.  This type of loan is limited to the cost of education minus other financial aid.  If students wish to borrow an amount in addition to their subsidized eligibility, they should check both types of loans on their Stafford loan application and promissory note.

    Federal Stafford Loan Application Procedures

    All applicants must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year.  A Lehigh University graduate financial aid application, together with a signed copy of your most current tax return, must also be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.  Financial aid transcripts from all other colleges or universities are required; however, this information should be detailed on your Student Aid Report (SAR) that you receive after filing the FAFSA.  If this information is not included, then you will need to arrange to have financial aid transcripts forwarded from your previous college(s).

    Federal College Work-Study (FWS)

    These awards are subject to the availability of funds.  Work-study is need based and requires the submission of the following; Free Application for Federal Student Aid, university application, student's IRS 1040, and a Financial Aid Transcript (FAT) (see SAR data above).  Job listings and pay-scale information are available in the Office of Financial Aid.

    Loans and work-study employment are distributed by the Office of Financial Aid, 27 Memorial Drive West, 610-758-3181l; (  A student's official classification with the Registrar governs the way in which the loan coordinator for the Office of Financial Aid must certify the loan application.  Anyone with associate graduate student status is, by definition, not a degree-candidate graduate student and, therefore, does not qualify to borrow under the Federal Family Educational Loans program at the graduate student rate.  An "associate" student's loan will be prorated and may be further affected by whether or not the student had a loan as a fifth-year undergraduate.  Questions may be directed to the loan coordinator.

    Further literature, as well as all required forms, are available from the Office of Financial Aid.  The financial aid transcript information is required from each postsecondary school attended, whether or not financial aid was received.

    The Office of Fellowship Advising (OFA) has as its mission to provide Lehigh students (undergraduate, graduate and alumni) with personalized advice, up-to-date information, and guidance through the application process for competitive national and international Fellowships and Scholarships. Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, Goldwater, Carnegie, Gates-Cambridge, SURF and Churchill are only some of the most recognized awards we handle at OFA. We work closely with the student to identify the strengths and resources that will make them successful in achieving their goals, whether these are graduate studies, summer research or international exchange. For more information, visit or call (610-758-3193).

    Travel Grant Program

    The purpose of this program is to assist graduate students in attending professional conferences by covering expenses graduate students would otherwise be forced to pay out-of-pocket.  It is intended to supplement existing funds, not to replace them.  Please see the Travel Grant Application

    Lehigh University Forum Student Research Grants

    These grants are available to all Lehigh University students.  They are awarded based on the student-demonstrated significance of the project and its relationship to his/her education goals. Preference is given to undergraduates, but graduate students with meritorious projects outside their thesis work are also considered. The Grants normally do not exceed $500 and usually are smaller, e.g., $100-200. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but awards are made shortly after the beginning of the fall semester, according to the availability of funds. For further information, visit this page.