When Stephanie Stone and Bill Schwartz came to us for help, they owed $47,000 in student loans that Stephanie had taken out 30 years ago to become a nurse-midwife. Because of compounding interest, Stephanie had barely made a dent in the total despite many years of payments, And her loans weren’t eligible for the pandemic deferments that many borrowers received.

Stephanie and Bill raised their children in the Washington DC area, but they moved to Eureka on the North Coast 20 years ago in search of a quieter, less expensive lifestyle. Bill retired after their move because of health challenges, but Stephanie is going strong. She’s in her 60s and has brought over 1,000 babies into the world, and she hopes to deliver many more. Until she and Bill were approved for our interest-free Debt Consolidation loan, Stephanie didn’t see how they were ever going to pay off her student loans.

“I didn’t want to die with this debt or leave the burden to our children. Now I can think about retiring someday, to spend more time with our five grandchildren and visit my older sisters on the East Coast. I imagined I’d be working for the rest of my life.”

While Hebrew Free Loan couldn’t pay off all of Stephanie’s student debt, there’s a happy twist to the story. Their daughter, who’s a guarantor on their Hebrew Free Debt Consolidation loan, told Stephanie that she wanted to pay off the remaining balance on the federal student loans. She acknowledged how much her mother has done to support the family over the years, and she wanted to make her parents’ life easier.

Stephanie and Bill are now free of student loan debt for the first time in 30 years, and our loan helped them pay off some lingering credit card debt as well. They’re breathing easier these days, looking forward to a future filled with connection and enjoyment of the ones they love.

“It seemed too good to be true, when we first heard about Hebrew Free Loan. The fact that it’s our people — the Jewish community — that helped us out makes it all the more meaningful.”

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