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What is LUSSI?

The Lehigh University Student Scholars Institute (LUSSI) is a program that strives to cultivate a sense of community, belonging and empowerment of entering first year students who identify as first generation and/or low income and/or coming from an underrepresented minority background, which we  refer to as our F1RST+ students. LUSSI is designed to support you throughout your four years at Lehigh, with a specific emphasis on your first-year experience. The yearlong program engages dedicated administrators, staff, faculty and students who work to reduce the barriers to success for all our students within the F1RST+ community. Incoming first year student participants  are provided with the opportunity to develop community through social and educational experiences, allowing them to  take  full advantage of  life at Lehigh.  LUSSI  seeks to  inspire and support our students to become confident, intelligent and successful leaders on our  campus and beyond. Students in the LUSSI program learn to appreciate and celebrate their identity as a F1RST+ college student and see the world through a lens of richness and wholesomeness.

Program Description

The LUSSI program is application based and offered to all eligible first-year students. Selected students participate in a pre-orientation program, prior to the start of First-Year Orientation. Programming is centered on  f five core areas of: :

  • Academic Success Strategies

  • Community Building 

  • Career Awareness and Development

  • Health and Wellness Strategies (Mental and Physical)

  • Financial Literacy and Wellness

LUSSI Families

As part of efforts to increase the sense of belonging, inclusion and connectedness between the Lehigh community and F1RST+ students, selected individuals  will have the opportunity to interact with approximately 100 other F1RST+ students.  Students will also be able to develop a more connected circle of support within what we call our LUSSI families.  “LUSSI Families” are smaller groups of approxmately 16-25 students, with each Family having two student guides who will serve as a direct contact throughout the first academic year. Additionally, each LUSSI Family will have the support of a faculty and staff mentor.


The LUSSI program has no monetary cost. Selected students will be required to make a commitment to engage in various programming opportunities throughout the year that we believe will help students make the most of their time at Lehigh.

LUSSI students are committed to partake in the following:

  • Bi-weekly group meetings over the course of the entire academic year with student guides, including a monthly LUSSI Family meeting with the faculty and staff mentors.  

  • Participation in customized 5x10 programs

  • Opportunity to participate in the Passport to Success program. LUSSI participants will be given priority status for admission into this program

  • Opportunity to seek financial support from the High Impact Experience Opportunity Fellowship (HIEOF)

  • Additional programming offered throughout the year addressing each of the core focus areas

  • Special social programming for all LUSSI students (including sophomores, juniors and seniors)