The Institute of Student Loan Advisors to Expand One-on-One Counseling, Thanks to the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation
The Institute of Student Loan Advisors (TISLA) today announces plans to expand its free customized counseling to student loan borrowers, backed by a $10,000 grant from the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation.
This summer, millions of student loan borrowers are preparing for the possible restart of repayment on August 31 after a two-plus-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Some borrowers who are still experiencing financial disruption will be unable to pay or have difficulty refitting student loan payments back into their budget. To make matters worse, multiple student loan servicers (private contractors hired by the federal government to collect student loan repayment) have left the federal program, meaning that millions of student loan accounts will need to be transferred. Experts agree this could result in long wait times for borrowers desperate for help in requesting deferment, income-based repayment or dispute resolution. Meanwhile, millions of public service workers have been stymied in receiving the loan forgiveness they deserve due to a complex Public Service Loan Forgiveness application process, confusing program rules and misinformation to consumers.
“We are grateful to the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation for helping us scale our solutions for student loan consumers during this turbulent time,” said Betsy Mayotte, TISLA president. “We look forward to bringing our one-on-one email counseling, interactive educational webinars, and online resources to struggling borrowers as they navigate the restart of repayment.”
Launched in 2017, TISLA was founded as a 501(c)(3) to ensure all consumers have access to free student loan advice and dispute resolution assistance, without being charged a fee or forced to provide personal information that may be sold. The organization’s ultimate goal is improving borrowers’ financial knowledge to navigate their student loans and improve their financial situation over the long term. TISLA assists approximately 7,000 borrowers annually and positively impacts student loan outcomes, with at least 85% of its customers reporting they will take positive action on their loan as a result of counseling; 95% expressing satisfaction with its resources; and 95% of requests responded to within one business day.
“I don’t know how to thank you for the help you’ve given me,” said Matt Rigney, a TISLA customer. “My student loans were forgiven–all of them . . .The impossible wording of government forms made the entire experience something I thought would never end. You’ve made a really important difference in my financial life and I’m sure you’ve done that for hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Not a lot of people can say that their work has eased the burden that other people carry, but you can. You’ve also helped right a wrong, and that, in particular, is a profound thing to accomplish in a life. From the bottom of my heart, Betsy, thank you.”
The Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation concentrates on improving economic understanding among all citizens. Its grant will be used to help fund TISLA’s “Repayment Restart” program, which will include expanded social media outreach to get the word out about repayment resuming; additional resources to serve Spanish-speaking consumers; expansion of partnerships with other nonprofits that serve vulnerable populations with student loan debt; and the ongoing expansion of digital tools and resources.
Consumers can visit TISLA online at www.freestudentloanadvice.org for free tips and resources on managing college debt. Schools, employers and associations with constituencies concerned about their student debt can visit the “partnerships” page of TISLA’s website for more information about TISLA’s full suite of services, including its Public Service Loan Forgiveness Peace of Mind™ program.