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Our Expert Staff

Betsy Mayotte

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.

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 including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe.  She was recently featured in Money magazine as one of the top 50 influential Changemakers in America’s finances.  Betsy was born and raised in Lowell, MA and currently lives in Plymouth, MA.

Pat Torkildson

Pat is TISLA’s Senior Consumer Advisor and Content Editor. She graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1979 and worked as a consumer financial services attorney until she retired at the end of October 2015. She worked for credit union related organizations for 22 years, a few years in private practice, and the last 10 years for Great Lakes Educational Loan Servicing, a student loan servicing company. Since moving to Massachusetts in 2016 she has joined the Massachusetts bar and done volunteer work for the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Audra Herrmann-Hayes

Audra Herrmann-Hayes, DBA, MSPsy is the TISLA Grant Writer. With a proven track record of over two decades, Audra has held pivotal roles including Nonprofit Executive Director, Government Grant Project Manager, and Certified Life Coach. Her strength lies in nonprofit administration and her ability to foster organizational stability through strategic financial diversification. In her capacity as a Grant Writer, she has an impressive portfolio of federal grants with a 80% grant procurement success rate.

Julia Cassiani

Julia is TISLA’s Social Media Manager and handles posting on our social media accounts such as X, Facebook, and our website. She earned her Bachelors of Science from UMass Amherst, and currently also works in the plant industry.

Addison H.

Addison is a TISLA Student Loan Advisor. He has degrees from the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and Georgetown University including a Master’s of Public Administration. He has worked with TISLA in various capacities since 2021 including web development and advising. Addison lives in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, reading, and serves his community as a volunteer firefighter.

Other Volunteers

There are a number of other experts that have contributed their time and expertise to this project. All, including Betsy and Pat, have done so for free, out of a strong belief that a resource such as TISLA is important to consumers overwhelmed by their student debt. We are overwhelmed by the generosity these people have shown with their time and dedication to making TISLA a long term success that can help consumers for many years to come. We hope we make you proud.

Our Expert Pets

Alice and Captain Jack

Alice and Captain Jack tolerate Betsy’s presence in their house. Alice was adopted from a rescue in the Midwest just before COVID hit.  She quickly adapted to her new home and job and has become our PR specialist.  She has appeared on most Zoom meetings and many media outlets including surprise appearances on CNN and several local affiliates. The Captain was adopted from a local rescue and was found with his littermates in an abandoned truck.  His role at TISLA is more HR adjacent as he has shown little interest in student loan policy – frankly it puts him to sleep.  Instead he provides comic and stress relief to the rest of the staff by batting noses if we are working too late or splashing around in the bathtub playing with his favorite robot fish.

Bailey and Sherman

Bailey (left) and Sherman (right) oversee the work of our Student Loan Advisor, Addison. Both were rescued from a high-kill shelter in Mississippi via the NHES Briggs Center. Both are AKC Canine Good Citizen certified and Sherman has AKC novice and intermediate trick titles. They are incredibly spoiled and have a special fondness for pup cups.


Steve is Julia’s cat. He has extra toes on all of his feet.

Audra’s Crew

Includes Chloe (big cat), Luna (little cat), Lylah (Goldendoodle), Aria, and Creed (Mastiff)