Helping Jewish students earn degrees with interest-free loans Higher education without
higher cost

Saving students with demonstrated need thousands of dollars in interest-bearing debt.

College is hard enough without the burden of student loan debt.

College is getting more expensive

The average cost of college (public and private combined) in the United States is $25,000 per year. As inflation rises, this cost will only continue to grow.

Income rarely matches the cost

According to JELF's student applicants, 31% of Jewish families have a household income of under $50K. The Jewish community is not immune to debt or hardship.

Average student loan debt is $38K

And that's a problem! With student loan debt at an all time high, JELF provides crucial savings in the form of loans that never accrue interest!

Joshua K.

Joshua K.

"My college journey was made possible by JELF, and I can’t express how appreciative I am for its existence."

tamir galili orlando

Tamir G.

"JELF was wonderful. Everything from the application forward was easy and the people were so helpful."

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Since 1961 JELF has provided over $21.5M in interest free loans to 6,646 Jewish students in our five-state region.

JELF students represent families from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia (excluding metro DC).  Representing a multitude of family dynamics, many recipients come from single parent families, immigrant families, families afflicted with illness, job-related issues and special needs. The list goes on!  JELF aims to help qualified applicants.

Together, we are making a difference.

$21.5M Loaned Over Time

6,646 Students Helped

99% Repayment Rate


Success Story Shaayna S.

Shaayna was accepted to college right as the 2007 financial crisis began. Her parents, both independent business owners, suddenly couldn’t make ends meet and didn’t have enough saved for college. Even with university scholarships, Work-Study, federal loans and a Parent Plus loan, Shaayna was unable to make ends meet. Luckily, she found out about JELF through BBYO.

Today as a Senior Manager at an international consulting firm, Shaayna has been able to buy a house for her and her parents. Shaayna just got married and is now looking for ways to give back. She wants to help other women succeed and has started mentoring younger associates at her firm. “Thank goodness for JELF,” she said, “It’s such a great program.”

Starting a JELF application is the easiest thing you'll do this academic year!

Start here Let's find out if you qualify

If you can check all the boxes below, you should apply for an interest-free loan through JELF!

Loan Process App Check Boxes (#30)

To qualify for JELF services you need to identify as Jewish.
Students must remain in good academic standing in order to be eligible for funding.
JELF requires a viable cosigner for each interest-free loan made.
Students must be enrolled full-time at their school in order to qualify.
Students must attend schools that have U.S. accreditation and are eligible for federal student aid.

Students must first apply for FAFSA and accept the federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans offered to them.

Students must have citizenship in the U.S. (or lawful immigration status) in order to process your request.

Students must be a resident of FL, GA, NC, SC , VA (except metro DC). 

If you are outside of JELF's five-state region, check out IAJFL for a comprehensive list of other Jewish free-loan resources around the globe.

Great! Looks like you may qualify. Keep reading to learn more about our process!

Like a Puzzle Next we bring all of the pieces together

Don't worry, it's not a final exam. JELF staff will help you pull together all the stuff you'll need.

Submit Documents

Now that you've filled out your application, the next step is to gather the required supporting documents.  Please upload these directly to your account as they become available.

Find a Cosigner

All recipients must have a valid cosigner. A cosigner is typically a parent, legal guardian or other relative.

Personal Interview

We place great value on personally connecting and interviewing each JELF loan applicant and their cosigner(s).

Stop Stressing The app is done. The initial docs are in. Your interview is complete!

Congrats! You are on your way to receiving an interest-free loan with JELF.

Depending on how early you applied, there may be some documents we still need to finalize, such as an up-to-date transcript, financial aid letter, and cost of attendance at your chosen school.

But aside from crossing t's and dotting i's, we want you to celebrate!  College debt is a huge burden to so many budding young students, and because you took the time to work with'll have less of it!

Jenna Shulman

Jenna Leopold Shulman meet jelf's CEO

"Higher education is both expensive and a necessity. JELF is providing a way for students to pay for it without accruing crippling debt." 

Meet JELF's professional team

JELF Success Stories

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  • Carter M.

  • Sophia C.

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  • Natalie A.

  • Tamir G.

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    STanding by our jelfies

    In 2021 JELF recipients from all over the country gave their thanks to JELF to the tune of Stand By Me! From clergy to a mental health rehabilitation counselor and so many more, JELFies continue to inspire us with their passions and commitment to giving back.