In 2021, JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) provided 400 interest-free loans to Jewish college, graduate, and vocational students with a total of $1.8 million. This increase in loan amount allowed JELF to raise the average student loan by $400 over the previous year, which was especially important during this past year as inflation rose exponentially.
JELF serves students in the five-state region of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia (excluding metro DC) as they pursue their higher education. Through student repayments, increased fundraising, and the generosity of The Marcus Foundation, JELF is continuing to grow its operation each year despite national college enrollment levels going down by 6%.
JELF’s mission is to help reduce a student’s financial burden so that they can pursue their higher education full time. JELF’s interest-free loans of last resort help students pay for crucial living and medical expenses, books, supplies, transportation, and many other costs. By borrowing through JELF, this year’s 400 student loan recipients are estimated to save nearly $1 million in interest payments over the life of their loans.
Since JELF first started providing interest-free loans in 1961, the organization has loaned nearly $18 million to 2,800+ Jewish students. JELF is proud to consistently maintain a 99% student repayment rate, even during these past two difficult years. As proud board members and donors continue to relay, “What I love about JELF is that your contribution continuously pays it forward. Dollars used for one student when paid back, are used for the next. Every dollar goes on and on.”