About JELF JELF has one mission.
We lend with a heart.

College costs are rising and JELF is meeting the need through providing no interest loans to Jewish students who demonstrate need for their higher education, which includes undergrad, graduate, vocational or technical school.


Who JELF Serves

JELF is dedicated to the jewish students in

five states

(Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, excluding metro DC).


JELF's Impact

Since 1961 JELF has provided interest-free loans to


students. We now have recipients living all over the world who are active in their own Jewish communities.


Student Choice

JELF believes that students should pursue the academic path that is best for them. Recipients attend a wide range of U.S. accredited college, graduate school or degree-granting vocational programs.

JELF believes that money should never stand between a student and the education they need to excel.

JELF recipients become proud JELF donors and vital members of their Jewish community - in turn helping future Jewish students in need.

438 Recipients This Year

6,646 Students Funded

100% Interest Free

$21.5M Loaned to Date

99% Repayment Rate

We haven't come this far to come this far! Discover JELF's 150+ year History

  • 1876 - 1888
    Grand Lodge Convention of B’nai B’rith’s Fifth District

    It all began at the 1876 Grand Lodge Convention of B’nai B’rith’s Fifth District, which at the time included Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

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  • 1889 - 1929
    Hebrew Orphans’ Home Opens

    After a decade of hard work and perseverance, the Hebrew Orphans’ Home opened its doors at 478 Washington Street in Atlanta, not far from the site of the former Turner Field which currently houses a stretch of I-85.

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  • 1929 - 1940's
    A Period of Transformation...from Orphanage to Foster Care

    In 1929, a new supervisor of the Home, Armand Wyle, was hired who responded to the changing sentiment of the times

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  • 1940s - 1960
    Responding to Post-World War II Social Challenges

    Responding to Post-World War II Social Challenges, the Homes' caseload eased in the early 1940s as welfare boards increased.

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  • 1961 - 1988
    College Education and “Interest Free” Take Center Stage

    JCS underwent major changes in 1961 when it became evident that other welfare organizations provided similar or overlapping services.

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  • 1989 - 2000's
    The JELF name is adopted

    In 1989, 100 years after it's inception, JCS changed its name to Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF) to better reflect the organization's new mission.

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  • Present
    The Legacy of JELF's Past Continues

    Today, through its outstanding loan portfolio of $9+ million, JELF continues to meet a critical need in the Jewish community throughout the five southern states that we have always served.

    Funded by seed money which originated from the sale of the Hebrew Orphans' Home in the 1970's, JELF continues to uphold the values of the two Jewish organizations that preceded it in name. Today, many of the descendants of our former Board Members and even former orphans remain involved as active leaders. JELF is truly the organization that continues to live on!


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  • Past Board Chairs
    Leadership Through the Years

    From the Hebrew Orphans' Home to Jewish Children's Service and now JELF, we are fortunate to have incredible leaders each step of the way. Without these individuals who have paved the way for generations to come, JELF would not be where we are today.

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  • A rich past and a vibrant future!
    YouTube video

    Full Circle Stories

    megan williamson lawrenceville|Megan W.

    chicago, il Megan Williamson

    "Because of JELF, I was able to enjoy college life while interning with two non-profits which led to employment at graduation and then became building blocks for the consulting role I am now in.”

    Sara M.|sara massachi taylor charlotte

    raleigh, nc Sara tAYLOR

    "JELF was an academic lifesaver for me, allowing me to continue my college career after a sudden death in my family nearly forced me to leave college and head back home.  With the help of JELF, I was able to stay in school and earn my BSN.  Thank you, JELF!" 

    How is a JELF loan determined?

    1. The cost of the school

    JELF calculates the total cost to attend school for the academic year, including room/board, transportation, living expenses, supplies and more.  JELF then subtracts the student’s total financial resources from the total cost.

    2. Student's total financial resources

    Students apply online with all required documentation. After that, students and their cosigner(s) meet with a Local JELF Administrator (LJA). Through the personal interview, JELF works to better understand the student’s financial situation --  beyond what their most recent tax return may show.

    3. Reviewed anonymously and confidentially

    Loan applications are reviewed anonymously and confidentially by volunteers who determine final loan decisions.  Students are notified by email shortly after decisions are made and after signing a promissory note, funds are dispersed to the student through ACH in two equal payments before each semester.