What Are Interest-Free Student Loans?
An interest-free loan is a loan that has no interest and no fees. If you borrow $500, you pay back $500—period. Yes, they really do exist.
Interest-free loans are money that’s provided to students for the purpose of helping them pay for expenses related to their education, whether it’s for housing, food, tuition, textbooks or a computer. The amount borrowed is what you pay back.
Where Can I Find a No-Interest Student Loan?
No-interest student loans are typically offered by nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private companies. The best way to discover no-interest student loans is to check some of the following:
- High school guidance counselors
- College financial aid offices
- Local chambers of commerce
- Rotary clubs
- Local nonprofits
- State education departments
- Fraternities or sororities
- Religious organizations
Many interest-free student loans are limited to residents of certain geographic regions, which is why it helps to start your search close to home. Others, though, are open to pretty much anyone (provided you are a U.S. citizen).
How Do I Apply for an Interest-Free Student Loan?
Every no-interest student loan comes with its own unique set of qualifications, but, generally, you could be expected to meet the following requirements:
- Financial need
- Completion of FAFSA
- U.S. citizenship
- Resident of a specific state
- High school graduate of a specific state
- Full-time enrollment at an accredited in-state school
- Specific field of study
- Solid academic record (e.g., GPA, class rank, test scores)
- Essay submission
- Personal interview
- Cosigner on the loan
Note that funds are very limited for interest-free student loans, so the sooner you apply the better.
Where Can I Get an Interest-Free Education Loan?
The Jewish Free Loan of Los Angeles is one such organization that provides interest free student loans.
Jewish Free Loan Association of LA, or JFLA for short, is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization that offers full-time college students up to $10,000 a year in interest-free loans.
The interest-free student loan is renewable every year and is paid back over a 3-5 year period in small, affordable, monthly increments. These loans do not require collateral, but instead the applicant must provide one to two guarantors with good credit (680 or higher) to back their loan, depending on how much money they are borrowing.
Jewish Free Loan is the only non-sectarian interest-free lending organization in LA County offering loans for emergencies, housing, student, dental, medical, special needs, home healthcare, women and children in crisis, and Jewish life cycle event loans. There are no fees and there is no interest ever.
The Jewish Free Loan Association of LA is just one example of a local chapter of the International Association of Jewish Free Loans. Search for a local chapter near you.
Other Organizations Offering Interest-Free Student Loans
Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
Military Officers Association of America
Evalee C. Schwarz Charitable Trust for Education
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