Jewish Free Loan Toronto (JFLT)
Q: What is a JFLT student loan?
A: JFLT student loans are interest-free loans for education-related expenses for Jewish residents of Ontario (excluding Ottawa) who have limited financial resources and have already applied for OSAP assistance.
A student loan is intended to assist with the tuition fees charged by recognized institutions such as colleges and universities, but the loan can also be used for related expenses such as books, lab supplies, out-of-town lodging, etc.
The words “recognized institutions” refer to educational institutions recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Education and for which the student may be eligible for an Ontario Student Assistance Program loan. Click here for additional information about OSAP.
Q: What is the maximum amount that can be borrowed for a student loan?
A: The current maximum for a student loan is $7,500 for an undergraduate program and $10,000 for a graduate program. A person may apply for a lesser amount, as needed.
Q: How do I apply?
- Visit the JFLT offices and complete an application form. Or, download the application form here. JFLT staff will be pleased to answer any questions about the application form. You can also call (416-635-1217), visit the office (4600 Bathurst Street, just north of Sheppard Avenue), or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Find two qualified guarantors and have them complete guarantor forms, which are part of the application package linked to above. Criteria for guarantors are listed below.
- Return all documents to JFLT offices. If you have school documentation to support your loan request (invoice, paid fee schedule, book list, etc.), copies should accompany your application. Once all completed documents have been received by JFLT, an interview will be arranged for you.
- Come in for a personal interview. Each applicant meets with one or two members of the loan committee and goes over basic personal and financial information that will help the committee make their decision.
Q: When and where do the loan committee meetings take place?
A: The loan committee usually meets every two weeks on Tuesday nights in the Lipa Green Centre for Jewish Community Services on Sherman Campus, 4600 Bathurst Street.
Q: How do the members of the loan committee make their decisions?
A: The decision to grant a loan is made by a loan committee made up of volunteers from the Jewish community. These volunteers review and discuss the information about loan request.
Q: I need a loan urgently. Do I need to wait until the next loan committee meeting?
A: In rare situations, JFLT can get a member of the volunteer loan committee to meet with you. However, all loan decisions are made by JFLT committee at its regular meetings and this interview may not speed-up the process. Check with the office to determine if your case may be eligible for such special consideration.
Q. What if I don’t want to apply for OSAP?
A. JFLT student loans are available only to full-time students who have already applied for OSAP for the current school year, if your program is eligible.
Q: Can I apply for a loan if I have already received an OSAP loan?
A: Yes. You must provide JFLT with a printout of your OSAP application and OSAP results along with other information requested in the JFLT application form.
Q: I was rejected by OSAP. Can I still apply for a loan?
A: Yes, our only requirement is that you apply for OSAP.
Q: The school I want to attend is not in Canada. Can I still receive a loan?
A: Yes. JFLT loans can be approved for qualified applicants planning to take courses at “recognized institutions” in other Canadian provinces, in the USA or in Israel. If a school is included on the OSAP website https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal as an educational institution recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Education, you can apply for a JFLT student loan.
Q: You are asking for a lot of personal and confidential information. Is it going to be protected?
A: Yes. JFLT keeps all information in strict confidence and is only discussed among the members of the loan committee. No other person or organization has access to the information.
Q: If I am approved, how soon can I get the money?
A: Call us the day after your interview to find out if your loan application was approved. If you are approved, your guarantors should then call us to confirm they are still willing to guarantee your loan.
Once we have spoken to you and the guarantors and we are satisfied that everyone understands their financial obligations, you can pick up your loan cheque. If your interview takes place on a Tuesday evening, it is possible that you can get your loan funds as early as Friday.
Q: How much to I pay back every month?
A: Student loans are repaid at $50.00 per month as long as you remain in school. Once you are no longer a full-time student, the repayment increases to $125.00 per month. Like with all of our loans, no interest is ever charged.
Q. How do I make my monthly loan payments?
A. JFLT will take your monthly loan payment directly from your bank account by Direct Electronic Funds Transfer (DEFT). When you pick up your loan cheque, you must provide us with a VOID cheque and sign a DEFT agreement form. Payments will be deducted from your bank account on either the 1st or 15th of each month until your loan is paid in full.
Q: Can I lower or increase my monthly payments?
A: Yes. In certain cases if the borrower is under particularly difficult financial circumstances, JFLT may accept a lower monthly payment. This situation must be discussed with our office staff. Borrowers are free to increase the payments if they wish to pay back the loan faster.
Q: It’s going to be difficult for me to get guarantors. Do I need them?
A: Yes. In most cases JFLT requires two guarantors who are jointly responsible to repay the loan if you do not make the required payments. The JFLT bylaws do not allow granting of loans with no guarantors. Please discuss difficult situations with our office staff.
Q: What are the criteria for a successful guarantor?
A: Criteria for guarantors include:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have the financial means and capability of repaying the loan and preferably own real estate
- Cannot be current JFLT borrowers, clergy or JFLT board members, executive members or their spouses
- Applicants and their guarantors cannot all be employed by the same person or company
- If a married or common-law couple agreeing to act as guarantors, both spouses must sign all documents
- Guarantors must be permanent residents or citizens of Canada, and must have been residents of Ontario for at least one year
- Guarantors must be fully employed by the same company for at least one year
- A person cannot be a guarantor for more than one loan at a time, unless they are in a very strong financial position and the loan they are currently guaranteeing is being repaid on time
- Guarantors cannot live with borrowers, with the exception of parents (see below)
Q: Can my parents be guarantors?
A: Yes, as long as they are financial able to repay the loan if you fail to make the regular payments.
Q: What happens if my application is rejected by the loan committee?
A: You can write a letter of appeal providing additional information in support of the loan. The loan committee will review the application and will make a final decision to either approve or deny your loan application. There is no appeal process after this second discussion by the loan committee.
Q: What happens if I cannot keep up with the monthly payments?
A: Do not let the loan payments lapse. Call the office to discuss your special circumstances. If your payment does not go through, the office will attempt to contact you and discuss the situation. If the amount owed cannot be collected, we will contact your guarantors and recover the funds from them. If necessary, JFLT will use the legal proceedings available in Small Claims Court.
Q: I had another JFLT loan a number of years ago. Can I apply for a new one?
A: Yes, but you will have to go through the entire application process again.
Q: Can I apply for a personal, business and student loan as the same time?
A: No. You have to decide which type of loan is most useful for you and apply for that one only.
Q: Is there a penalty if I pay off the loan earlier than the due date?