Lehigh students now have 10 more days to inform the school of their fall semester plans. The deadline extension comes amid confusion over how a tuition discount might impact a student who receives financial aid. (Megan Burke/B&W Staff)

UPDATE: In reversal, Lehigh students now have 10 more days to declare themselves ‘fully remote’

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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.

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4 Comments

  1. What is going on with this school!?!? I am a Lehigh family. My father, my husband, me and my kids, are ALL Lehigh. I expected so much more. I am so disappointed. Don’t know what else to say.

    • I am a new member (parent) of the Lehigh Family. I am also disappointed, and expected so much more. How an organization responds to crisis provides very potent insight into the quality of the leadership. Yes, times are very challenging, but everyone must deal and we cannot give management a pass here. So many schools are handling more effectively. Feels like Facebook and the School Newspaper are the primary sources of info. Perhaps the poor communications is making the overall handling seem worse than actual….but its persistence is compelling.

  2. Will you be running a story about how so many students were blindsided by recent decisions and were left scrambling to find a place to live after being kicked out of their housing but yet still had in person and hybrid classes. No communication, no guidance other than redo your schedule, get on waitlists and email professors to let you in their class. In my case, we are paying full tuition but are forced to do remote and watch the kids who were lucky to afford off campus housing or live on campus go to class. The recent Welcome Back emails have been so deflating – no one has reached out at all to support those that were left ousted and in a panic what to do.

  3. Not one Lehigh person on campus helping or directing students in anyway during freshman move in . Not even an RA.

    LU just about $$$$

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