Lehigh students will now have until Aug. 21 to change their fall plans, according to Jennifer Mertz, the director of financial aid — pulling back on an earlier deadline of Aug. 7 to do so.
A survey went out to students on Aug. 3 in which they were required to inform Lehigh by Aug. 7 how they were going to opt to complete the semester. A student was able to choose to go “fully remote” — which would bar a student from access to all campus facilities except for the Health Center and come with a 10 percent tuition discount — or not go fully remote, enjoy limited access to campus facilities and forego the discount.
The deadline extension comes just two days after a Brown and White report was published, which included information about how students on need-based financial aid would not see any reduction in the amount they pay Lehigh even if the student selected the fully remote option and the 10 percent tuition discount. Mertz explained since Lehigh already meets need, the university would instead reduce the aid awarded to that student, but their “expected family contribution” would remain unchanged.
Yet in the university’s original Aug. 3 email — which “encouraged” students to opt for the fully remote option with the tuition discount — there was no explanation of the fact that students on need-based aid would see no reduction in their payment with a tuition discount and that Lehigh would be the one rolling back grant awards. There was, however, such an explanation about three-fourths of the way down on Lehigh’s COVID information webpage.
But as of Aug. 12, Lehigh announced students will have the ability to change their responses to their survey by clicking this link, which can also be accessed through Lehigh’s COVID information webpage. Mertz told The Brown and White that Lehigh has offered this extension so that students “are aware of the ramifications” of their decision.
About 2,000 students, or 40 percent of the student body, receive need-based aid, Mertz said.
It’s not immediately clear if the university plans to inform the student body of the Aug. 21 extension. As of publication, no campus-wide email was sent explaining the extension. Rather, a paragraph appears in an email from Mertz to work-study students about the deadline extension, and the school’s COVID information page was updated on Aug. 12 to include the new deadline.