Alex came to the United States from Romania when she was three years old. Her parents applied for political asylum, but the process was long and difficult, involving denials, appeals, and other bureaucratic complications. Then Alex’s father died, and she and her mother had to start the process all over again. It’s been 24 years, and their case is still not resolved.

Because of her immigration status, Alex hasn’t been eligible for the full range of financial aid options, so completing her education has been challenging. She depended on Hebrew Free Loan to get through college at UC Berkeley, and she’s now halfway through law school at the University of San Francisco. She has a full-time job and a partial scholarship, but still wouldn’t be able to manage without help from Hebrew Free Loan.

Throughout her schooling, Alex worked to support herself and her mother, who had serious health problems. When her mother could no longer work, an additional loan helped cover their living expenses. Alex’s mother, too, passed away last year, and Alex is now on her own. She hopes to receive permanent resident status eventually. In the meantime, she continues to work hard and make plans for her future. “If it weren’t for Hebrew Free Loan, I’d have the ability and drive to finish law school, but I wouldn’t have the practical means to do so. I don’t see how I would be anywhere close to achieving my dream of being able to make a difference in the world.”