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Scholarships and Financial Aid
At Chai Israel we are to committed to offering the best program at the lowest possible price . All tuition money and funding goes directly to creating the best programming for our students.
With that said, we recognize that some students will still need assistance in acquiring the funds that are necessary to attend our gap year program in Israel. We work closely with parents and students to find different avenues for obtaining funding to assist with the costs of tuition and airfare. In extreme cases, after all external sources have been exhausted, Chai Israel may offer a tuition reduction or organize a payment plan to ensure that every registered student will be able to attend our program.
Please view the list of sources below and speak with your high school's guidance counselor and your local Rabbi to see what other funds and scholarships may be available to you. Please direct all questions regarding scholarships to Rabbi Dani Zwick at
(This list is updated as new resources become available. Please check back periodically)
Masa - Masa is an organization co-sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the government of Israel which provides financial aid to young people who wish to come to Israel on qualifying programs. For 2011-2012, Masa will offer tuition assistance in the form of a grant of $1,000 to any Chai Israel participant from North America who has not previously been awarded Masa funding. There is an application process for the Masa $1,000 grant which includes completing an online application (available at www.masaisrael.org) and submitting the signature confirmation sheet.
Limited need-based scholarships (up to $4,000 in past years) have also been available through Masa for those with financial need. Check the Masa website (www.masaisrael.org) for details. Applicants will be notified of need-based awards as soon as they are announced by Masa. Please note that these scholarship awards are determined solely by MASA and not by Chai Israel.
IMPORTANT: Every student attending Chai Israel MUST apply for the basic Masa grant. In addition, if you are planning on applying for a tuition reduction from Chai Israel you must first apply for a Masa "Needs-based" Scholarship.
NCSY - If you were a participant on any of NCSY's many programs such as their Summer programs, Shabbatons, Yarchei Kallah or participate in local events run by your city's chapter, you may be eligible for a scholarship available through NCSY/OU. In the past NCSY has been very generous in offering funding to help with the costs of their students coming to Israel for the year. Scholarships may be available through your local chapter or Regional office as well as the NCSY national office.If you are a student who participates regularly at a JSU (Jewish Student Union) club offered at many public schools around North America or if you are enrolled in Torah High, you may be eligible for other Israel scholarships as well. For more details contact your NCSY regional office or visit the NCSY website www.ncsy.org
FAFSA - (Only available to students enrolled through a Chai Israel Joint Israel program) FAFSA www.fafsa.ed.gov/ is a free application for U.S. Govt funding for any student looking to attend an American college or university. By participating in one of Chi Israel's Joint Israel programs, you will be recognized as a student attending the overseas program of a registered American college and are therefore eligible to receive FAFSA grants and loans.Although it is recommended, it's important to realize that students do not necessarily have to continue their education after Israel at the college in which they are enrolled for the Joint Israel program.There are a few options of Joint Israel programs listed below. Please contact them to find out which one most suits your needs. There may be additional charges from these institutions for their services, however bare in mind that only through a Joint Israel program will you be able to apply for a FAFSA grant.
IMPORTANT: When applying to a joint Israel program for Chai Israel please register as if you will be attending “Derech – Ohr Somayach” . Chai Israel is a division of The Derech Institute of Ohr Somayach and is run under the same administration.
S. Daniel Abraham Joint Israel program (Yeshiva University) - Students who participate in the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program may receive federal and state aid if they are eligible. They should apply in the same manner as do students on campus. Students should apply for financial aid for the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program as soon as possible after January 1st of the year the student will attend the Israel Program. Students must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). New York State residents will receive a TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) application as a result of filing the FAFSA.Yeshiva University institutional aid is not available for study in Israel. However, all Federal and State aid is available including Pell, Work-study, Perkins loan and Stafford loans as well as New York State TAP. It is important to apply early so the money is available for your attendance on the Israel Program. Once the processed FAFSA is received by the Office of Student Aid, a Financial Aid Allocation Letter will be sent to you, which will outline the Financial Aid available. Click here for more info. http://www.yu.edu/jip/
Michigan Jewish Institute Joint Israel option - The Michigan Jewish Institute Study Abroad Program was designed to permit our students to spend a year or two of intensive post secondary study in a foreign country. MJI encourages its students to participate in intensive study abroad as a way of experiencing personal growth and expanding intellectual and educational horizons. Students often speak of the immense benefit and fresh perspective gained from a change of scene, a new school and immersion in a foreign culture. The MJI Study Abroad Program enables the student to have all of these benefits with the guarantee that the course work completed will earn credits toward the completion of an MJI BAS degree. Click here for more info. http://www.mji.edu/templates/mji/article_cdo/aid/545123/jewish/Program-Description.htm
Hebrew Theological College - The Israel Experience Program (IEP) offered by Hebrew Theological College enables a student to spend a year of intensive study in an Israeli yeshiva or seminary while earning college credit. Most students find the year in Israel a challenging and enriching experience that serves as a guide in developing a lifestyle consonant with Torah values. Click here for more info. http://htc.edu/index.php/IEP/IEP.html
Jeff Seidel's Student Information Center - Jeff Seidel has an easy online application for a $400 airfare scholarship to Israel. Students must apply before their arrival in Israel. Some restrictions apply. Apply online for this $400 scholarship by clicking here
Oorah - Oorah is a Jewish outreach organization tha believes that learning in Israel is often the key factor in developing a person who is not only committed to Jewish tradition, but inspired by it. Therefore, Oorah provides help with every aspect of this experience, from air fare to tuition scholarships to enrollment in the right Israel program. In the past, students have received substantial funds from Oorah. The first step is to apply for their scholarship using the following link: http://www.oorah.org/tuition/login.asp
Canadian Scholarships – There are a number of scholarships available specifically for Canadian students.Please go through this online list http://www.jewishtorontoonline.net/home.do?ch=content&cid=1346 to see which ones are applicable to you. In most cases, RESP savings can also be applied to studying in Israel. Parents may also be able to receive a tax deduction on some of the tuition costs. Please speak to your accountant about eligibility. In the past, members of the Mizrachi Bayt in Toronto were able to receive a tax refund through their office. Please contact the Mizrachi- Bayt directly for more info. 416-633-4801
Jewish National Fund (JNF) “Plant Your Way to Israel” Initiative – With the recent forest fire in the Carmel region the JNF is working hard to raise money to replant trees. You can help JNF and also help yourself by selling trees to be planted in Israel and earn money toward your Israel trip. For every $36 donation that you receive, $18 will go to the purchase of new trees and $18 will go towards your tuition. Start your own personal fund raising web page at www.jnf.org/pyw. Some people may be willing to buy trees by the dozens which can earn you lots of money towards your tuition.
Rabbi Benzion Klatzko - National Director of College Outreach, offers airfare and tuition scholarships for students to go to Israel on various Jewish experience trips, including touring, ulpan, tzedek trips offered by many organizations.In addition, Rabbi Klatzko offers scholarships to those students that have already been on a Jewish experience trip and now want to return and study in select Yeshivot or Seminaries in or around Jerusalem. The amount of the tuition scholarship depends on the need.To apply, email Rabbi Klatzko directly at
Free Airfare -Taglit-birthright Israel provides COMPLETELY FREE (including airfare) 10-day trips to Israel. If you're between the ages of 18 - 26 and if you've never been on an organized tour of Israel (even if you've come to Israel before), you'll be accepted.If a student attends a Birthright trip in August for example, In most cases, for a fee ranging from $50 - $250, you can extend your airline ticket to be able to stay in Israel for up to a year. However, “In some situations participants will not be permitted to make extensions. Speak to your Birthright trip organizer to find out if extensions are possible.There are many different types of Birthright trips offered by different organizations. A few that we have worked with in the past are available at at these links:
Local Jewish Federations (North America) – Many local Jewish Federations have scholarship programs for trips to Israel. Contact your local federation and inquire about sources of funding from within the organization and ask the staff to also recommend other sources of funding available in your local community. Check the website of your Federation or speak to a representative in your city. Every Federation in North America has its own policies on scholarship funding and the details can change from year to year. Please use this link to locate the Federation in your area.
Local Jewish Organizations - Many synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, and other community organizations provide scholarships for Israel programs. It's worthwhile taking the time to see what funding is available for you. Should you require financial assistance, we encourage you to seek out and contact these funding sources as early as possible to meet any required deadlines.
Synagogue – Many synagogues have scholarship funds to assist young members in participating in Israel programs. In addition, some Rabbis have discretionary funds through it's members of which they may award as they deem responsible. Call your family’s synagogue and inquire what assistance may be available to you. Ask your Rabbis if they know of other sources of possible funding.
College Scholarships – Check online college databases, by searching the internet for “college scholarships.” Here are a few:www.college-scholarships.comwww.scholarships.comwww.financialaidfinder.com
Student Loans - Wells Fargo Bank has two options for students and parents: the Wells Fargo Education Connection Loan and the Wells Fargo Student Loan for Parents. Check out https://www.wellsfargo.com/student for more details.
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