Educational Interest-Free Loan Lights the Way for a Bright Future | Shalom Austin

Educational Interest-Free Loan Lights the Way for a Bright Future

The Jewish Outlook

Feb 24, 2022

Sammy Pappert who secured the first fully disbursed interest-free education loan from Hebrew Free Loan of Austin. Photo Credit: Sammy Pappert

 By Wendy R. Corn

The issue of higher education affordability is an ongoing conversation across the nation. Even with savings and scholarships, many still find themselves needing financial loans to attain a higher education degree. 

Higher education comes with steep costs that may deter people from achieving their goals. In response to this growing need for educational loans, Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA) established a program designed to help students achieve their educational goals. 

Austin native and recent law school graduate Sammy Pappert was the first recipient of the first fully disbursed interest-free education loan which he used to cover Law School expenses. He heard about HFLA while he and his mother were looking for low-interest loans. “We had heard about HFLA through the community,” said Pappert. 

The idea of Jews lending Jews money without interest is a distinctly Jewish tradition, based on biblical principles. HFLA affords a mitzvah opportunity to enable Jewish community members the dignity of re-paying a loan interest-free. Having grown up in the Austin Jewish community, participated in BBYO, and a former member of Troop 28 that met at JCC, Pappert says he was a great candidate for the loan program. 

Since graduating from law school, Pappert has begun working at Hegwood Law Group outside Houston where he works on trusts, estate planning, elder law, Medicaid and probate. “I find this work in preparing for future generations heartwarming,” said Pappert. “I feel like I’m 25% a therapist and 75% a lawyer. No one is ever ready for death or wants to talk about it. I like helping people navigate what to do, how to save nontaxable education funds for children and grandchildren so someone’s legacy can be influential.”

Grateful for the opportunity provided to Pappert by HFLA, he says that he’s shared his experience with others hoping they too can benefit. “I tell them it’s like working for a little bit– It’s as if you don’t have to worry about the future of that payment knowing you’ll pay it back.”

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