The Jonas Weil Entrepreneur Fellowship is a loan forgiveness program to assist in-residence Johnson MBA alumni who pursue entrepreneurial ventures. It was established by a generous endowment gift from a distinguished alumnus and entrepreneur, Jonas Weil MBA ’59. The purpose of the fund is to assist students and alumni with substantial educational debt to pursue entrepreneurial careers that might otherwise need to be delayed. It provides eligible graduates with funding to help cover their regular student loan payments for up to a maximum repayment of $50,000 over 5 years.
Jonas Weil, ’58, MBA ’59, who passed away in 2018, founded and grew Office Plus, a chain of temporary office space and services including telephone, printing and conference room space for business travelers while they were on the road. After selling the business in 1996, Professor David Ben Daniel encouraged him to create the Jonas Weil Entrepreneurship fund. Weil wanted to provide some relief for cash-strapped budding entrepreneurs in the form of funds for loan forgiveness. The fund serves Johnson alumni who start their own businesses or embark on other entrepreneurial ventures. There is an application selection process which must be completed annually, with parameters for eligible startups, types of loans which are eligible for repayment, and the amount which may be repaid per year not to exceed a maximum of five years.
The fund has assisted more than 70 Johnson graduates since 1997.
The program provides participants with funding to help cover their qualifying student loans for the calendar year following graduation. In subsequent years graduates must reapply for funding to assist them with their student loan payments. The annual amount of assistance may vary based on overall student loan indebtedness and ability to repay those loans, but in no event will exceed $50,000 over five years, nor will the amount in any given year exceed the student’s loan payments for that year.
How to Apply
In-residence MBA students and alumni may apply to participate in the loan forgiveness program during their last semester at Johnson and thereafter. In addition to the application, students must also submit an itemized statement of all relevant educational debts of the applicant (and spouse if married), and the monthly repayments on these debts.
The program is administered by the Dean or his/her designates. An advisory committee made up of Johnson faculty with expertise in entrepreneurship and direct involvement in applied entrepreneurship programs at Johnson should assist him or her. The committee determines the eligibility of individual applicants for program support and is empowered to recommend modifications to the program as necessary. The committee is also responsible for monitoring the administration of the program and evaluating updated information on participants.