JELF’s interest-free student loan application

Need Money Need Money for School for the Spring/Summer 2020 Terms?

Apply for an INTEREST-FREE Loan for Higher Education September 1-30


CHARLESTON, SC – August 1, 2019 - Applications for JELF’s interest-free loans for higher education (college, graduate school and vocational programs) will be open to Jewish students in the Charleston area for the period January through August 2020 will be open September 1-30. JELF, in partnership with the Charleston Jewish Family Services helps Jewish Students reach their academic goals. To qualify, the applicant must be:

  • A permanent resident of FL, GA, SC, NC, and VA (excluding the greater DC area) but can go to any U.S. accredited school
  • Enrolled full time in a program leading to a degree or certificate and in good academic standing
  • A U.S. citizen or have lawful immigration status
  • Have a designated co-signer
  • Able to demonstrate financial need (2019 FAFSA application required)


The funds help pay the educational and living expenses that other financial aid doesn’t cover, such as travel, rent, food and books. JELF’s “no-interest” loans help save borrowers thousands of dollars in high-interest bearing debt. Currently, there are 45 million Americans with some form of outstanding interest-bearing student loans. 8 million Americans have a balance of $50,000 or more according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


The strength of the longstanding “Free Loan” model is funds are lent to those in need, yet once the borrower can repay, the repayment goes to the next student - and so on. Thus, the same funds are recycled indefinitely, and the organization can help future students in need. In addition, donors can see their donations continue to do good far into the future. “This is the only type of organization I know of that when I write a check I know exactly where it’s going, and it keeps going. My dollars never die,” says Stan Lowenstein, a long-time JELF volunteer and current President of the Board.


There are many organizations that provide interest-free loans, but JELF is distinct in that it is the only Jewish organization in the U.S. focused solely on higher education. Students and their families can apply online at




JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) provides interest-free last dollar loans for higher education to Jewish students in need bridging the gap between a student’s total financial resources and the cost of attending school.  Since 1961, JELF has provided over $12.5 million to 4500+ students from JELFs 5-state region of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia (excluding metro DC). JELF is proud to boast a 99% repayment rate and strongly believes that money should not stand between a student and the education that he or she needs to excel in life. The JELF board and staff are active in supporting students and their families, and in attracting the financial resources JELF needs to meet an ever-increasing demand for loans.



The mission of Charleston Jewish Family Services (CJFS) is to empower individuals, strengthen families, protect the vulnerable and help seniors age with dignity. Our work is based on Jewish values to improve quality of life regardless of race, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation.  CJFS is guided by the fundamental Jewish values of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repair of the world). CJFS is an affiliate of the Charleston Jewish Federation. As a member of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, Charleston Jewish Family Services provides vital services to clients of all ages, faiths, and economic backgrounds. NJHSA is a membership association of service agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada.


For more information about JELF in Charleston, contact Sara Chesley at 843-614-6494 or