Ehrlich Student Loan Program


The Ehrlich Student Loan Program was made possible by a generous bequest from Mrs. Shirley Ehrlich to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in 2004. The program provides subsidized, low-interest educational loans to Jewish students from the Chicago metropolitan area who otherwise may have difficulty affording college. Because the program has limited funds available, first priority will be given to students who have limited access to other sources of funding, whether through federal, state, or private loans, savings, or other sources of financial assistance.   

How It Works

The Ehrlich Student Loan program subsidizes the loan while you are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program. Preference is given to undergraduates and graduates who are studying toward careers in helping professions (eg, education, social work, medical profession, Jewish communal profession, etc.). You'll make no payments nor accrue any interest payments on your loan while enrolled in the school for which you've taken the loan.

  • Applicants demonstrating financial need may borrow $5,000 to $10,000 per academic year, or $2,500 to $5,000 per semester, for up to four years. Some applicants may receive smaller loans than requested. All applicants have a lifetime borrowing limit of $20,000.
  • You will qualify for low interest rates upon repayment (Rate: Prime - ¼).
  • All loans are disbursed by Devon Bank, and all loans will be subject to applicants' credit approval.

Can I Apply?

  • To qualify for a loan, you must be a US citizen and Jewish resident of the metropolitan Chicago area.
      • Undergraduates: Must have graduated from a high school in a county within the JF/JUF service area (Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Dupage, and Will).
      • Graduates: Same as undergraduates or you must have lived in one of the counties within the JF/JUF service area for one year before electing to further your education.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students aged 25 and younger will be required to have a co-borrower, preferably a parent, who is a US citizen. Mitigating circumstances may be considered and must be submitted in writing with application materials. 
  • You must be a full-time student pursuing undergraduate or graduate education at an accredited college or university within the United States.
      • The college or university does not have to be located in Illinois. 
  • Priority is given to low-income borrowers. You must be able to document financial need by submitting your required documentation (listed on Application Cover Sheet on the Eligibility Forms page). For borrowers aged 25 and younger, parents' household income cannot exceed $150,000. For borrowers over the age of 25, household income cannot exceed $80,000. Mitigating circumstances may be considered and must be submitted in writing with application materials.

Application Deadlines

Applications for the first semester (a maximum loan of $5,000) or full academic year (maximum loan of $10,000) will be accepted from April 15th through June 15th. Applications for the second half of the academic year (maximum loan of $5,000) will be accepted November 10th through December 15th. Applications will not be accepted at other times of the year. Loans will not be awarded in arrears.

What Happens Next?

  • Once you have completed the Eligibility Forms (PDF), please send them via email to  
  • If eligible, you will receive a loan application from the Ehrlich Student Loan coordinator. Once the full application package, including the formal bank application, is submitted, you will be notified of your approval within 10 to 14 business days. If you have not received confirmation within this time frame, please contact the Ehrlich Student Loan administrator.
  • You must reapply for the Ehrlich Student Loan each year you wish to receive it. Previous receipt of a loan is no guarantee of future loan awards.
  • Each year, you will need to email the Ehrlich Student Loan facilitator with confirmation of enrollment, your graduation date, and any other changes in your address, financial circumstances, and academic plan.
  • You must begin to repay your Ehrlich Student Loan six months after graduation from the school for which you took the loan. Loan deferments of up to two years will only be considered for students enrolling in further full-time accredited graduate or licensing programs in a service field or, in certain circumstances, for students who experience and show evidence of a prolonged period of unemployment post-graduation. Repayment will begin up to three months after the end date of the deferment. You will have up to 10 years to complete principal and interest payments. Remember, any interest accrued while you were a student will have been paid off by the Ehrlich Student Loan fund through the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Any interest accrued during a deferment, and paid at that time by the JF/JUF, will be owed by borrower to the JF/JUF in a balloon payment at the end of borrower's repayment period.

Please contact with any questions.