Oct 13, 2020
JELF Loans Aid More Jewish College Students in Uncertain Times
In any year, some of our college students find it financially difficult to pursue their educational goals and career dreams. And, the COVID-19 economy has made affording higher education more challenging for many local students and their parents – amid all the other stresses of college attendance.
“My parents are struggling financially and my dad's not doing the business he used to,” said one anxious student. “This economy will probably push him out of work.”
Another says, “I think I’ll need more money to go to the Masters program I was recently accepted to.”
Fortunately, JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund), a valued Federation partner, provides no-interest, no-fee loans to help Jewish students of all backgrounds meet their undergraduate, graduate, vocational or technical educational goals. They’ve experienced a 63% increase in applications over the previous year! Immediately moving their entire process online and reaching students in new ways, this important organization remains fully committed to assisting students in need during these uncertain times.
Since 1961, JELF has provided over $14.5 million in interest free loans to over 2,000 Jewish students in its five southern states including Florida. JELF’s “last dollar” loans require students to assemble all the financial aid they can before applying. After getting government and school aid and loans for tuition, they turn to JELF for help with uncovered expenses.
Recipients in our community are facing mounting challenges. Some have lost their own or their parents’ incomes, there are families facing serious medical issues, and in some cases they are caring for siblings with special needs and disabilities. Despite the impressive financial aid packages they receive, they are left with gaps to cover the cost of their education. JELF has been there to help them achieve their goals and dreams, including about 40 of our local students in this year alone. JELF is administered in our own community by Federation’s vital partner, Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS).
JELF is proud of their recipients’ stellar 99% repayment rate, and that so many stay with the organization after graduating, as hands-on supportive volunteers and donors to help new recipients in need. JELF also hosts (now virtually) fun events and gatherings to build Jewish community – using the tagline, “A Loan but Not Alone.” Just let them tell you how much JELF means to them:
“JELF has been there for me and has taught me what it's actually like to be part of a Jewish community.”
“My journey to career and Jewish life were made possible by JELF, and I can’t express how appreciative I am for the opportunities they gave me.”
“Thankfully, I have JELF for their support not only this year but throughout the four years. If it wasn't for them, I don't know how much pressure and burden would be on my shoulders.”
“JELF has given me all of the security and opportunities I needed to succeed. They have been more than that - they've been a family.”