JELF has been helping the Jewish community since 1889 when the doors of the Hebrew Orphans’ Home opened in Atlanta.  Over the last 130+ years, the organization morphed twice:  first, in 1931, when it became Jewish Children’s Services, and then, as the organization had already begun granting interest-free loans in the early-60’s, it formally changed its name to JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) in 1989.

Our mission is very simple — JELF provides interest-free, last dollar loans for higher education to Jewish students in need in FL, GA, NC, SC and VA (excluding metro-DC). Higher education includes college, graduate school or any other degree-granting vocational programs.

Jewish students within the 5-state region are eligible to apply for JELF’s interest-free loans. JELF loans are need-based and it is the goal of the organization to serve as the last dollars a student needs to actually go to school. For more about the history of the organization, or complete set of loan criteria, visit