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February 27, 2015  RSS feed
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Interest-free college loans for Jewish students offered through Gulf Coast

Hanna Zazzaro Hanna Zazzaro Musical theater student Hannah Zazzaro of Palm Harbor is a senior at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, considered one of the top musical theater programs in the nation. She has already landed several impressive roles and upon graduation, she plans to live and audition in New York City full time.

None of that may have happened had she not secured interest-free college loans for Jewish students through two programs offered in partnership with Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services.

And now, Gulf Coast is accepting applications for other area Jewish students seeking loans through the two programs – the Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF) and the Trockey Loan Fund.

“It’s been a Godsend, pun intended!” Zazzaro said. “The JELF loans made it so I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to buy groceries or dance shoes or appropriate winter clothing (born and raised in Florida) or pay the leftover tuition that my financial aid package didn’t cover.”

For Zazzaro’s senior year, she also received an additional interest-free loan from the Trockey Educational Loan Fund at Gulf Coast.

The loans are offered to help Jewish students with the last gap financial need to attend school. These loans are for postsecondary education – college, graduate school and vocational programs.

Zazzaro was delighted when she learned she was accepted in the musical theater program at the University of Cincinnati, but worried about how she was going to afford the cost of more than $40,000 per year. She had competition scholarships and awards in addition to the financial aid she received through the school, but after the first year, she and her mom realized they were going to need additional help.

Their cantor at Temple Ahavat Shalom, Deborah Jacobson, mentioned that she had help from a “Jewish loan” when she was going to school. That is when Zazzaro learned about the JELF loans offered through Gulf Coast. Then in her senior year Gulf Coast also helped her secure a Trockey loan.

Being able to attend a school with the caliber of training and reputation of Cincinnati’s has given Hannah the tools necessary to succeed in this highly competitive industry. “Without JELF I may not have been able to finish this outstanding program” Zazzaro said.

This past summer, Hannah made her New York City debut at Broadway’s 54 Below and, in January, she was honored to take the stage with Jonathan Groff (Glee and Kristoff in Frozen), Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde the Musical) and Mara Davi (Smash) for a Lexington theater gala. In March, Hannah will star in the college’s production of Peter Pan.

Gulf Coast is taking applications for the interest-free JELF loans for post-secondary education, available to Jewish students in Pinellas and Pasco counties, for the 2015- 2016 school year. The loan application is available now through April 30 on JELF’s website at The loans are based on financial need and are considered “last dollar” funding after all other sources are exhausted. A student must maintain a 2.0 average.

The Trockey Loan Fund is also available to Jewish students from Pinellas County. The loan provides the final dollars that bridge the gap between a student’s total financial resources and the cost of attending school. Gulf Coast administers this loan fund and applications are available through Gulf Coast. This loan can be applied for at any time.

For more information about both loan programs, contact Gail Allen at (727) 479- 1806 or Also visit the website:

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