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The Institute of Student Loan Advisors Corporation

 8 Lantern Lane
 Plymouth , MA 02360
[P] (978) 8359934
[F] --
www.freestudentloanadvice.org
[email protected]
Betsy Mayotte
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INCORPORATED: 2017
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 82-2724117

LAST UPDATED: 10/03/2018
Organization DBA TISLA
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

To make certain that all consumers have access to free, neutral and accurate resources and mentoring to ensure they can successfully manage their student loan debt.

Mission Statement

To make certain that all consumers have access to free, neutral and accurate resources and mentoring to ensure they can successfully manage their student loan debt.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2017 to Sept 30, 2018
Projected Income $10,000.00
Projected Expense $5,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Free Counseling Program
  • Free Dispute Resolution Assistance
  • Partnerships
  • Public School Assistance Program
  • Withdrawn student assistance program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

To make certain that all consumers have access to free, neutral and accurate resources and mentoring to ensure they can successfully manage their student loan debt.

Background Statement

TISLA was launched after the founder grew frustrated with the number of student loan borrowers being victimized by so called "debt relief" companies.  These companies charge borrowers sometimes thousands of dollars to, at best, access programs that they can access for free directly through their loan holders.  At worst they deceive the borrowers into thinking their loans are forgiven or reduced and disappear, often leaving the account past due or in default.  Borrowers are desperate for neutral advice and guidance on managing their loans.  Our experience and research shows that by providing the right information at the right time, we can reduce delinquency and default, and help borrowers make positive progress on their student debt.

Impact Statement

TISLA is still in it's first year.  In that time we have directly assisted over 1000 borrowers with their questions and helped manage or directly intervened on over 30 disputes.  We have had cases referred to us by reporters, various Congressional offices and the CFPB.  Over the next year our goals include obtaining revenue of $300K through a combination of grants and fee for service revenue, initiate a program to provide student loan educational resources to an underserved group (such as teachers in underserved areas or withdrawn community college students) and measure the impact of such services to that groups financial wellness and to create a robust network of partnerships with employers and associations so as to increase the scale of our missions impact to at least 500K borrowers.

Needs Statement

Director of Development to focus on expanding both foundation and fee for service related partnerships - $160K including salary, benefits and job related travel
 
Additional board members with expertise beyond he student loan world (such as fund-raising or someone with a strong network to assist with partnership opportunities).  Cost - none as the board is unpaid
 
Funding for dynamic tools to assist borrowers in  measuring the costs and savings of certain student loan repayment strategies.  This includes purchasing or contracting to build a calculator that can help borrowers determine savings by paying extra towards their student loans.  Cost - unknown.  Some of the basic calculators are fairly low cost but one in particular related to the various repayment plans could be expensive due to the complex nature of those programs.  Such tools would allow us to assist more borrowers, at less cost, by allowing them to self serve via the website without one on one intervention.  Estimate $20K
 
Volunteer marketing expert to expand the mission based fee for service product partnerships to reduce reliaance on grants and donations
 

CEO Statement

TISLA was launched after the founder, who has decades of experience in the student loan industry, found that borrowers were thirsty for expert advice on how best to manage their debt. While there are a few online resources that provide information on the various loan programs, none of these resources is fully comprehensive, easy to understand and navigate and, most importantly, none of them provide free one on one counseling or dispute resolution to borrowers in need. Because of this, already vulnerable borrowers are becoming victims of the so-called "debt relief" companies that charge hundreds if not thousands for what is often incorrect and harmful advice and access to programs that are normally free. TISLA is also the only organization that is run and staffed by people with an extensive background in student loan loan servicing and compliance. Not only do we know the rules, in some cases we helped draft these rules which helps us explain not only what the rule is, but why it is. Our background has also resulted in close relationships with like minded people at all the loan servicers and other industry participants, making it easier for us to help borrowers with disputes.
Our board of directors is made up of folks with the same passion for ensuring that borrowers have access to fair, free, expert advice. They are all known in the industry for challenging the status quo when it comes to helping student loan consumers. Their actions during their careers have led to significant, positive, policy and statutory changes that made a real and positive impact on all borrowers and the system as a whole.
 
TISLA is also unique in that we neither collect nor share any borrowers information.  We also don't advertise lending products or offer referrals.  We feel that this is important for borrowers to feel confident that they are receiving neural advice that is free from the influence of outside entities.  All our partnerships and donors will be easy to find on our website to further ensure transparency.
 
Finally, our organization is unique in that we don't focus on the "traditional" college student and recent graduate in our communication approach.  Student loan debt is no longer a young persons issue as half of all borrowers are over the age of 30, a quarter are over the age of 40 and the fastest growing age group with student debt are the over 65's. 

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

STATEWIDE
NATIONAL
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA

While we are currently focussing on Massachusetts for our grant initiatives, the organization serves borrowers from every state and have plans to grow so as to expand our initiatives to other areas of need.
 
We are currently focusing on grants that will allow us to offer our student loan educational resources to Massachusetts teachers, community college students and other underserved populations where student debt can be a barrier to college completion and public service employment retainment.

Organization Categories

  1. Public & Societal Benefit - Consumer Protection
  2. Education - Higher Education
  3. Education - Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Free Counseling Program

TISLA offers free one on one counseling via email to any consumer that needs it.  We do so through our registration free website and social media.  Borrowers who have questions about their loans receive a response within one business day by a TISLA associate or volunteer with many years of expertise in the student loan industry.  We will work with the borrower as long as needed to resolve their questions.  We find that about half of those that reach out have done their own research and, due to the often confusing nature of the student loan programs,  are looking for confirmation that they are choosing the best path.  The other half are simply overwhelmed and just need an expert to guide them on how to move forward.
Budget  $300,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  To date we have assisted over 3000 borrowers in just our first six months. Most of these borrowers came through social media or word of mouth.
Program Long-Term Success  As we do not collect borrowers personal information, this is unknown
Program Success Monitored By  Borrower testimonials
Examples of Program Success 

Here's an example of recent borrower that was requesting advice

"Hello,

I'm having trouble figuring out what my loan repayment options are because I keep getting conflicting information from Navient. I am hoping to get some more straight forward responses here.

I started college in fall of 2007 with my first loan disbursement occurring in 8/2007. Most of my loans are direct loans. I went to grad school so I also have graduate plus loans. In July 2015 I talked to Navient about my loan repayment options and the representative told me I qualified for Pay As You Earn, so I applied for PAYE.

Last year, my husband and I were questioning why my loan payments were so much higher than his when we were both in PAYE and we earn about the same amount. I called Navient, and they essentially told me that no, their calculations are right and they used the right number.

This year, again we were concerned with my much higher payments. When I called this year, I found out that I was not on PAYE, but rather Income Based Repayment. The Navient representative looked up my account, saw that my application was for PAYE, and looked up my loans and said I qualified for PAYE, so she opened a case and said I would hear back from them no later than 6/20. I called back today because I never received a response to my open case. The representative I spoke to this time said that I do not qualify for PAYE because I had a loan taken out prior to 10/2007, but that I qualify for REPAYE. When I questioned the open case he said that there was a note on my account that it had been reviewed and I don't qualify for the reasons he stated.

My questions are:

Do I qualify for PAYE? I have had two representatives tell me I do and 1 representative and case that say I don't.

Will my 3 years of built up payment history on IBR count towards the 25 year loan forgiveness period if I switch my repayment plan to REPAYE? I read online it will, but I had a representative tell me it won't.

I am currently planning on filing a complaint with the CFPB against Navient. I am unhappy that I was put on a different repayment plan than requested with little to no communication. The amount I will pay over the life of the loan under the IBR plan is substantially different than PAYE or even regular payments. I doubt I would have been able to make the full payments due at that time, but I never agreed to IBR and I should have been able to make an informed decision regarding which repayment plan was best for me in the long run. The conflicting information makes it hard to understand what my options are and I feel like they are concerned with what is more beneficial to them. Lastly, I was very unhappy to hear that they never planned to contact my with a resolution to the case on my behalf. I had an inquiry, was told they would look into it and contact me with their resolution, but apparently a note on my account and no communication on their end is sufficient enough in their minds, which again is a hindrance to me being able to make an informed decision on what is best for my situation. Has anyone filed a complaint? Is there a reason I should not? My husband was upset and mentioned possibly talking to a lawyer, but lawyers are expensive and I dont know think we would have enough of a case against a large corporation like Navient.

Any information and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!"

We were able to advise the borrower that they were not eligible for the Pay As You Earn program due to the disbursement date of their loans and that their past time using the IBR plan would indeed count towards the forgiveness requirement of another plan. We also gave them further guidance on which plan would be the best long term strategy for managing their loans. This example also shows the confusion that many borrowers have with their student loan options and some frustration in dealing with their loan holders and why it's important to have a third party available


Free Dispute Resolution Assistance

TISLA offers free "ombudsman" service to all student loan borrowers via email.  If a borrower feels there ws an error on their student loan account, we will attempt to either educate, guide or assist them with this dispute.   We do this in a neutral way.  If our review shows that the loan was handled correctly based on existing regulations and statute, we will educate the borrower as to those rules and try to guide them moving forward.  If our review shows that a mistake appears to have been made, we will first attempt to guide the borrower as to how to resolve the mistake themselves by helping them draft letters and emails and connecting them with our contacts at the various loan holders and/or the Department of Education.  In extreme or complex cases, we will request an information release from the borrower and contact the loan holders on their behalf.  Our goal is to resolve any errors on the account but if there are no errors, to ensure the borrower feels their complaint was heard and the resolution or result fully explained to them.
Budget  $150,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  We have received cases from various Congressional offices, reporters, the CFPB and from the borrowers themselves.  Approximately 10% of our inquires fall under the dispute category.  While not all of the borrowers have been happy with the resolutions we've provided, they have all understood said outcome.  These resolutions allow these borrowers to move forward productively with their student loan debt.
Program Long-Term Success  With the dismantling of the CFPB's student loan unit, it's even more imperative that borrowers have access to neutral ombudsman services.  In the long term, we will use these cases as evidence of needed policy changes within the student loan policy and servicing environment.
Program Success Monitored By  Borrower feedback is our best monitoring tool.
Examples of Program Success 
We were recently approached by a borrower who was suddenly having their wages garnished for a student loan.  The problem was this consumer had never attended college nor taken a student loan.  I advised them a number to call within the Department of Education to discuss the issue and it was found that the loan was borrowed with the consumer was only two years old, in a state he never lived in, was under a completely different name and date of birth and was a female.  Despite this the representative told the borrower they would have to find the person, sue them or get them criminally prosecuted and submit the result to have the wage garnishment stopped and the loan removed from his SSN.  This was clearly not an option if for no other reason that the statute of limitations for such a suit had passed.
 
I had another strategy in mind so suggested they call back and ask which collection agency was holding the loan (so as to file an appeal that would have required them to prove the loan was valid).  The consumer was told that because the loan was not theirs, the ED could not release the collection agency information.  A true catch 22 as they continued to garnish his wages. 
 
At that point I contacted a colleague at the ED, who connected us with someone within the collection unit.  After faxing his identifying legal documents to her, the wage garnishment was stopped and refund issued within a week of my phone call. 
 
 
 
 

Partnerships

Effective student loan counseling is about getting borrowers the right information at the right time.  The problem is that the "right time" is different for every borrower.  It could be when they start repayment, or when a financial crisis hits or simply when they are ready to receive it.  Employers, colleges and professional associations are in the best position to ensure that borrowers have such information in front of them when they need it.  They are a trusted source to these consumers, and have constant communication lines to reach them.
 
One of TISLA's revenue streams is to sell content, live webinars and dedicated phone service to such entities that wish to provide student loan educational resources to their constituencies.  Our packages are affordable and have the benefit of educating borrowers on programs and rule changes they may not be aware of, while constantly reminding them that our free counseling is always available. 
Budget  $80,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  TBD as this program is only a few months old
Program Long-Term Success  TBD
Program Success Monitored By  Emails and web clicks resulting from programs
Examples of Program Success  TBD

Public School Assistance Program

Provide educational resources and live webinars to all public school employees in a particular district.  Helping these employees manage their debt can help retain qualified teachers and reduce absenteeism (see reports posted on research page)
Budget  $30,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  TBD
Program Long-Term Success  TBD
Program Success Monitored By  TBD
Examples of Program Success  TBD

Withdrawn student assistance program

Provide student loan related educational resources to withdrawn students at local Community Colleges.  Withdrawn students are at a much higher risk of defaulting on their student loans.  By ensuring they have the tools they need and access to one on one counseling, we can help prevent default and avoid having these loans become a barrier to completion.
Budget  $30,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  TBD
Program Long-Term Success  TBD
Program Success Monitored By  TBD
Examples of Program Success  TBD

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

TISLA's biggest challenge at this point is funding.  While we have introduced our mission driven fee for service products and there has been significant interest in these offerings, such partnerships take time to develop.  We have had an excellent response from consumers and to date have helped over 3000 individuals since our launch this past winter.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Betsy Mayotte
CEO Term Start Sept 2017
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Betsy is the President and Founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors (TISLA). She has been working in the student loan industry doing compliance and advocacy work for over 20 years and has helped thousands of borrowers with their student loans. Most recently, she has spent the last 18 years working for American Student Assistance®, a Boston-based nonprofit organization with 60 years’ experience helping people make better decisions about financing their education and repaying student loans.

Betsy has served as a primary negotiator for several federal Title IV negotiated rulemaking sessions on topics such as the use of student loans at foreign schools, loan rehabilitation and borrower defense to repayment. In addition, Mayotte frequently conducts regulatory trainings for the higher education financing industry both in the United States and as far away as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She is regularly quoted in the media on student loan issues and was a frequent contributor to U.S. News and World Report’s The Student Loan Ranger blog Betsy was born and raised in Lowell, MA and currently lives in Plymouth, MA.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association MA

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

TISLA will develop relevant policies such as whistleblower and anti-discrimination as we grow.  We currently have board approved policies on compensation and conflict of interest.

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 5
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 1
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Betsy Mayotte
Board Chair Company Affiliation The Institute of Student Loan Advisors
Board Chair Term Sept 2017 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Paul Combe Retired Voting
Ms. Betsy Mayotte The Institute of Student Loan Advisors Voting
Mrs Eileen O'Leary Retired Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
David Awad community volunteer NonVoting
Christine McGuire Boston University NonVoting
Pat Torkilson community volunteer NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 0%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 30%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As we have a small board at this time there are no standing committees.  We are searching for additional board members with experience in fundraising or with other strong expertise in areas other than student loans.

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2017 to Sept 30, 2018
Projected Income $10,000.00
Projected Expense $5,000.00
Form 990s --
Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Total Revenue -- -- --
Total Expenses -- -- --

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions -- -- --
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Program Expense -- -- --
Administration Expense -- -- --
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses -- -- --
Program Expense/Total Expenses -- -- --
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue -- -- --

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Total Assets -- -- --
Current Assets -- -- --
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
Current Liabilities -- -- --
Total Net Assets -- -- --

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year -- -- --
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets -- -- --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

To date we have only completed one fiscal year.  The organization was created on 9/4/2017 and that fiscal year ended 9/30/2017.  As TISLA did not begin operating until November of 2017 there were no expenses or income to report or audit for the 2017 fiscal year.

Foundation Comments

This organization is newer and received its nonprofit status from the IRS in June 2018 and only began operating in late 2017, as such, a full year of financial data is not yet available. Additional information will be posted when it becomes available. 

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

To assist consumers with successfully managing their student debt.  To impact policy to make it easier for borrowers to understand and access their student loan options and benefits. To reduce the influence of fraudulent debt relief companies on vulnerable borrowers.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We provide a free resource for student loan information that is neutral, in plain english, easy to navigate and doesn't require registration or information collection to access.  We make student loan educational resources available to employers, associations and schools that are trusted agents for their constituencies at a very low cost to both support our mission and, more importantly, provide information to borrowers where they will most likely be "tuned in."  We participate in policy discussions with members of Congress, the Department of Education and industry groups to improve current rules and practices.  

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

There is over 100 years of in depth, expert and influential student loan policy expertise between the staff, volunteers and the board.  Over the years we have formed good relationships with all industry players - both governmental and non-governmental - which allows us to provide feedback, understand what's going on behind the scenes, and gives us the ability to solve borrower problems quickly.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

A reduction in the prevalence of "debt relief" organizations will be an indication that borrowers are more informed and are utilizing trusted resources.  Otherwise, due to our goal of being a trusted resource and therefore not collecting consumer data, it will be difficult to show any impact on borrower delinquency or defaults.  We can, however, measure usage of the site, the number of borrowers who reach out for help, and our success rate at managing disputes.  One way to measure impact we will pursue is to obtain grants to provide resources to particularly vulnerable groups such as community college students who do not complete their programs, teachers in low income areas and other groups.  For these projects we will be able to determine if there has been a reduction in default or delinquency, or, in the case of teachers or other high need areas, whether providing such resources improves employee retainment.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

As we have just received our 501(c)(3) status in June of 2018, we just in the beginning stages of the projects mentioned above.  As of May, 2018, we have helped over 3000 individual borrowers with questions and disputes.