Helping Businesses Keep Both ii's On The BIG Picture For Over 16 Years!
15th Annual Education Finance & Loan Symposium

MAY 20-21, 2024

Washington, DC

Our Executive Speaking Faculty

Applications are now being reviewed from executives who wish to become members of our Executive Speaking Faculty. If you have extensive knowledge of education finance/student loans and would like to apply for a position on our speaking faculty, please complete our online JOIN OUR FACULTY application or contact:

Don Buford, Founder & CEO, iiBIG
Phone: 212-300-2521 | Email:


(Please check back regularly for updates regarding the 2024 Event)

Jason AltmireDr. Jason Altmire, President & CEO, Career Education Colleges & Universities (CECU)

Dr. Jason Altmire is President and Chief Executive Officer of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the national trade association representing private postsecondary career schools. Since joining CECU in 2020, Jason has led the association to double-digit percentage increases in membership, revenue, and media coverage. In addition, CECU has during this time exponentially increased its member service, communications, and multimedia capabilities, including the acquisition of Career Education Review magazine and initiation of the association’s popular podcast. He also spearheaded the association’s creation of two new subsidiaries, the Alliance for Career Education in the States (ACES), and the CECU Research Foundation. From 2007 to 2013, he served three terms in the United States House of Representatives. In Congress, Jason was a bipartisan centrist known for working with both sides of the aisle, which led to an extraordinary record of legislative success. During his time in office, the nonpartisan National Journal calculated Altmire’s voting record to be at the exact midpoint of the House – the Dead Center – giving him the most centrist voting record in Congress. He also served on the House-Senate conference committee that negotiated the final language of the Higher Education Act the most recent time it was reauthorized. Dr. Jason Altmire is also an adjunct professor of healthcare management at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He earned his Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Florida, his Master’s degree in Health Administration from George Washington University, and his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida State University.

Patrick BelicaPatrick B. Belica, Managing Director, SL Capital Strategies

Mr. Belica takes day-to-day responsibility for many of SLCS’ clients.  He is responsible for all of the Firm’s analytics.  Prior to helping found SLCS, Mr. Belica worked in the Investment Banking Group at Citigroup with a focus on the student loan sector, where he was responsible for analytical work relating to client issuance of debt, M&A and whole loan sales.  Mr. Belica was the chief interface with rating agencies and other professionals in connection with these assignments. In all of these assignments, Mr. Belica was responsible for transaction structuring, rating agency analytics, derivative strategies and ultimately coordination with trading desks on the initial pricing and ongoing remarketing of securities.  Mr. Belica’s debt issuance experience spans the municipal, corporate and ABS markets, having executed transactions in every available mode in each sector.  This experience serves him well at SLCS where he oversees all analytics of the firm and ensures that quantitative analysis for each client is up to the highest standard. Since the founding of SLCS, Mr. Belica has served clients in a number of ways including acting as advisor on new debt issues, advising on M&A assignments, bond restructurings, private loan program development and capital markets financing, portfolio sales, and asset and liability valuations for financial statement purposes   Mr. Belica is a graduate of Columbia University.

Marilena BotoulasMarilena Botoulas, Asst. Dean for Financial Aid, Columbia University, Graduate School of Business

Marilena Botoulas joined Columbia Business School in 2005 as the Director of Financial Aid and is now Associate Dean for Curriculum and Programs and Interim Assistant Dean for Financial Aid.  Her responsibilities include overseeing financial aid counseling and processing for students in the school’s full time, Executive MBA and MS programs and in her new position is working closely with the senior vice dean for curriculum and programs.  Prior to her current position, Marilena was the Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a Fund Accountant for the asset management company Lord, Abbett, & Co.  Over the last 20 years, she has also held several NYC Executive Committee positions for the not-for-profit, Minds Matter of NYC, Inc.  Marilena earned her B.S. in Finance from St. John’s University, her M.A. in School Counseling from New York University and her Executive MBA from Columbia Business School.

Mark BrownDr. Mark Brown, Major General (Ret.), Ed.D., Executive Director, Student Freedom Initiative
(former COO, Student Financial Aid, US Department of Education (2020-2021)

Mark Brown is the Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative (SFI). SFI, A 501 (C) provides holistic support through four primary components: (1) Income contingent funding alternative to fixed payment obligations, (2) Internships, (3) Targeted HBCU capacity building, and (4) Tutoring, mentoring, and other student services. On 23 November 2020, SFI announced nine participating HBCUs, who identified the qualified STEM majors for eligible juniors and seniors starting with the Fall 2021 academic year.  Mr. Brown is the Former Chief Operating Officer for the U.S Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). FSA, all Title IV funding (Grants, Work study, Student Loans) is a lending portfolio of $1.5T, 6K partner schools and 43 million customers (students, borrowers, and parents). In the Air Force, Major General Brown led a Continuum of Learning (Education, Training, and Experiences) for 600,000 global learners including two Graduate and Doctoral degree granting universities.  In addition, he has recent Senior Executive level experience in the successful enterprise-wide implementation and cultural change required to implement competency-based education, personalized learning, and a learning ecosystem for over 600,000 Air Force learners.  As a Senior Executive and CFO for $60B portfolio, Mr. Brown implemented enough savings and efficiencies to live within a budget that was reduced by 33% in a single year…received “Best in Air Force” rating. Rated “Best in Air Force” for quality of life and installation excellence, when serving as COO managing 6,013 acre pilot training base (equivalent to college campus).  Brown served in a 32-year Air Force career with over 20 years in senior executive positions encompassing all aspects of operations for diverse organizations ranging in size from 200 to over 200,000 individuals. Retired at the rank of Major General (Two Stars), Mark Brown is highly regarded for his ability to communicate at all levels both verbally and in written form. Security Clearance: TS/SCI. General Brown received his Doctorate in Higher Education (Ed.D.) from Baylor University.

Scott BuchananScott Buchanan, Executive Director, Student Loan Servicing Alliance

Scott Buchanan is the Executive Director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance (SLSA), a trade association that represents more than 40 student loan servicers and their business partners in both federal and private student lending. Previously, Scott was Senior Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs for CBE Companies, a global provider of outsourced call center and collection services.  Scott has also been Principal Consultant at Merak Associates LLC, where he has advised and counseled clients including financial services and investment firms, institutions of higher education, and BPO companies on legislative, regulatory, and business development strategy.  Before his consulting work, Scott served as Vice President of Business Development, Sales, and Marketing at Navient.  In that role he ran corporate marketing, oversaw brand strategy, directed business development and the sales organizations, while advising the company on corporate strategy.  Prior to Navient, he served as Vice President of Government Affairs and Services with Sallie Mae.  In that role he worked with Members of Congress, government agencies, and other policymakers to inform discussion on higher education, financial services, and tax policy.  He oversaw the state affairs interests of the company and had responsibility for lobbying and political compliance processes. Over the years he also worked at Sallie Mae in various management capacities, has past political campaign experience, and worked for Wachovia Corporation in Atlanta, GA.  Scott holds a Bachelors in Political Science from Davidson College and a Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University.  He currently resides in Alexandria, VA.

Robert CameronRobert Cameron, Education Loan Ombudsman, CFPB

Robert G. Cameron is a Colonel and Staff Judge Advocate for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He has served in the United States Army for 29 years. Mr. Cameron also joins the CFPB from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) where he was a high-ranking official responsible for litigation, compliance, and risk mitigation efforts. The Dodd-Frank Act created a private education loan ombudsman position within the Bureau. The Dodd-Frank Act gave the Treasury Secretary, in consultation with the CFPB Director, the authority to designate the ombudsman. The ombudsman is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and attempting to resolve complaints from private student loan borrowers. The ombudsman is also responsible for compiling and analyzing complaint data on private education loans and making appropriate recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Bureau Director, the Secretary of Education, and Congress. While at PHEAA, Mr. Cameron directed a staff of attorneys and other personnel and oversaw compliance activities at the agency. He was also responsible for ensuring PHEAA’s compliance with numerous federal and state laws, including the Dodd-Frank Act. Mr. Cameron has also served in Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department and in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel. He earned his law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law and undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College, both located in Pennsylvania.

D. Grant CarwileD. Grant Carwile, Managing Director, SL Capital Strategies LLC

Grant Carwile currently serves as Managing Director in SL Capital Strategies, a national financial advisory and consulting firm providing services to various participants in the fields of higher education & consumer loan finance, municipal finance, and corporate finance. His client base includes public, non-profit and private finance companies; banks and other lending institutions; loan servicing organizations; loan guaranty agencies; specialty data companies; higher education institutions; loan collections organizations; and small corporations. Mr. Carwile has been active in lending, financial advisory, investment banking and capital markets for over 31 years, including nearly 20 years at RBC Capital Markets. During his banking and financial advisory career, Mr. Carwile has provided a variety of financial services including capital formation; capital markets advisory; securities issuance; asset and company valuation; merger and acquisition advisory; asset sale advisory; lending platform design and development; strategic planning; and management consulting. He has been a frequent speaker at industry associations and asset-backed finance conferences. He is a graduate (BSBA) with high honors of the University of Arkansas and holds a Juris Doctor degree with high honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the UALR Law Journal. Mr. Carwile currently serves on the board of directors for FirstString Research (a bio-pharmaceutical company) and previously served on the boards of directors for the Roper Saint Francis Foundation, the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation and EdVantage Corporation.

Sharon GoldSharon Gold, Head of Capital Markets, College Ave Student Loans

Sharon Gold is the Head of Capital Markets at College Ave Student Loans, a private student loan fintech lending company. Sharon focuses on College Ave’s student loan securitizations, debt facilities, warehouse lines, loans sales and forward flow agreements. Prior to College Ave, Sharon spent over 20 years in the student loan business in senior level positions at investment banks and rating agencies. Sharon was a senior banker in the Fixed Income Division of Morgan Stanley where she worked on student loan ABS and municipal bond transactions for for-profit, state agency, and not-for-profit student loan lenders. Sharon was also the Head of Student Loan ABS Originations at ABN AMRO managing student loan securitizations and student loan financings through ABN’s ABCP conduits. At the rating agencies, Sharon was the Head of the Student Loan Ratings Group at Moody’s Investor Service. She also spent time at S&P Global developing and writing methodologies for the Structured Financed Group for all securitized asset types, including student loans. Sharon has a B.S. in Accounting from Syracuse University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York.

Rich HainesRich Haines, CEO, OneLogos
Mr. Haines has thirty years of financial services and technology experience and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OneLogos, an EdTech and enterprise software company.  OneLogos offers technology solutions to all stakeholders in the financial aid market including lenders, financial institutions, schools, non-profits, foundations and community groups through the Red Kite ( platform.  Red Kite is a digital ecosystem connecting students, parents and job seekers with money to pay for college and job training.  Mr. Haines also serves as co-founder and managing director of Crucible, a not-for-profit company formed to transform future-leaning college and job training organizations. Prior to OneLogos he founded two successful start-up organizations, served as the head of operations for a private education lender and has held senior leadership positions with MBNA America and Bank of America in the U.S., Canada and Europe supporting mergers and acquisitions, credit, customer service, collections and technology. Mr. Haines graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Politics and Finance from The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

Travis HornsbyTravis Hornsby, Founder, Student Loan Planner

Travis Hornsby is a speaker and the founder of Student Loan Planner, which he launched after helping his physician wife navigate ridiculously complex student loan repayment decisions. To date, Student Loan Planner has consulted on over $1 billion in student debt. Travis is a Chartered Financial Analyst and brings his background as a former bond trader trading billions of dollars. Trying to solve the student loan crisis brought him out of his first retirement at the age of 25. He brings that same intensity to analyzing the best repayment paths for graduate degree professionals with six figures of student debt. Travis and his team have helped over 8,034+ clients save over $426 million dollars on their student loans, and he’s been featured in U.S. News, Business Insider, Forbes, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, ChooseFi, Bigger Pockets, Afford Anything, Money, and more.

Eric HurwitzEric Hurwitz, Co-Chair, Financial Services Litigataion, Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young LLP

Eric Hurwitz is Co-Chair of Stradley Ronon’s Financial Services Litigation practice. Eric focuses his litigation practice on defending financial institutions from claims arising out of nearly every type of consumer and commercial financial product. He has extensive experience defending both single plaintiff and class action lawsuits against student lenders and servicers, banks, mortgage lenders and servicers, credit card companies, auto finance companies, debt collection companies and other financial services institutions. These include claims under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as well as state unfair trade practices laws. Eric has defended both private and federal student loan servicers for many years in both court and private arbitration proceedings nationwide. He also works with clients to respond to regulatory inquiries and develop best practices for litigation avoidance.

Dr. A Wayne JohnsonDr. A Wayne Johnson, Former Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Student Loans, US Department of Education (DOE) [2017 to 2019]

Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson is a public servant, accomplished businessman, veteran, student loan expert, and life-long Georgia native. From 2017 to 2019, Wayne was a senior official in President Trump’s Administration, serving as the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Overseeing the largest provider of student financial aid in the country, Wayne successfully led thousands of employees whose mission was to make college education accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. Prior to entering public service, Wayne amassed over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, senior executive, and CEO of multiple businesses, both domestic and international, in the consumer finance and customer service support industries. Wayne’s professional career has given him first-hand knowledge of how to make higher education more cost-effective, so students and their families receive an education that improves their long-term employment prospects without taking on crushing levels of debt. He knows how to run organizations efficiently and effectively and wants to continue to bring this solutions-oriented approach to the federal government. Wayne is a U.S. Army veteran, an Eagle Scout, and a product of Georgia’s education system. Johnson holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, his Masters of Business Administration from Emory University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Mercer. He and his family have long called Macon, Georgia home.

Amy JonesAmy Jones, Director for Education and Human Services Policy, U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Mrs. Jones oversees all aspects of education and workforce development policy for Chairwoman Virginia Foxx of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Prior to assuming this role, Mrs. Jones specialized in higher education and student loan policy and other legal issues arising in education policy for the committee.  Previously, she was an attorney at Dean Blakey, where she handled issues important to the higher education community and the student loan industry.  Mrs. Jones also clerked at the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.  Mrs. Jones received both her B.A. in political science and justice and her J.D. from American University.

Charles KelleyCharles Kelley, Executive Director, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

Charles Kelley joined the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) in April 1991 as Deputy Director and was appointed Executive Director in 1993. Mr. Kelley served on the Board of the Education Finance Council from 1996 – 2002 where he served a two-year term as Chairman. A graduate of Harvard with a MA in Public Administration with a concentration in public finance, he received his Bachelors in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kelley is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst.

Rob LavetRob Lavet, General Cousel, SoFi

Rob Lavet is responsible for managing all legal affairs, compliance, physical security and government relations for SoFi Technologies, Inc. and its affiliate entities (“SoFi”).  SoFi is a bank holding company based in San Francisco.  Since joining, SoFi as one of the first 30 employees in 2012, SoFi has grown to more than 4000 employees and has originated billions of dollars in consumer loans, including student loan refinance, in-school private educational loans, mortgage loans, unsecured personal loans and credit cards.   He has been instrumental in SoFi’s going public transaction in 2021, as well as SoFi’s acquisition of a community bank, and approval to operate a national bank subsidiary.  At SoFi, he has helped build the compliance team and AML team from the ground up and was instrumental in establishing a business development function that accounts for approximately 20 percent of loan originations.   He is a member of SoFi’s Management Committee, Compliance Committee, Credit Committee, and Enterprise Risk Committee.  Prior to joining SoFi, he served as a Principal in the Education and Litigation practice groups of the Washington, DC law firm of Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville (PPSV). Prior to PPSV, Rob served as SVP and General Counsel of Sallie Mae.  At Sallie Mae Rob was responsible for all legal affairs of Sallie Mae and its subsidiaries as well as Corporate Compliance and Loan Servicing Policy. Rob graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in economics and obtained his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.

Tim LehmannTimothy Lehmann, VP Student Financial Services, Southern New Hampshire University

An experienced higher education financing professional, with over 36 years of experience in higher education financing.  A common thread has been helping organizations to scale their operations along with finding innovative solutions to assist universities.  He has built a reputation as a thought leader in the area of technology, customer experience and innovation all the while maintaining a commitment to compliance to help colleges and universities organizational goals. Beginning his career working in the not-for-profit sector he has worked for both for profit and not for profit institutions focused primarily on Distance Education.  Mr. Lehmann has been the Vice President for Student Financial Services at Southern New Hampshire University for the past five years and has helped guide the institution through significant growth as well as assisting with improving the student experience by being relentlessly focused on creating integrating the right technology to deliver a student experience that is optimized, scalable, compliant and streamlined to achieve the universities goals.  The Vice President is a key member of the Student Experience leadership team who drives and evangelizes innovation to continuously advance the financing options available to students and to differentiate the University in the market. The Vice President establishes strategies and programs to help students become better off financially than when they started at SNHU; and ensures SNHU’s overall regulatory compliance and the financial integrity of its operations. The Vice President is a critical partner in the university’s strategic initiatives and new product development, representing SFS as a subject matter expert and regulatory advisor. The Vice President supports the Chief Experience Officer as a second in command in SFS. Mr. Lehmann has a Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia College in Minnesota and a MBA from Capella University.  He has been a presenter at numerous conferences and seminars on the topic of new and innovative financing options in higher education.

John McNamaraJohn McNamara, Principal Assistant Director, Markets, CFPB

John McNamara is the Principal Assistant Director of Markets and the Assistant Director for Consumer Credit, Payments, and Deposits Markets in the Research, Markets and Regulations division of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He leads a team of subject matter experts and analysts covering the credit card, payments, deposits, student, auto, small dollar, marketplace, and installment lending markets, as well as credit reporting, debt collection, debt relief, fintech and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in consumer financial services. Prior to joining the CFPB, John was Chief Marketing Officer for LiveVox, a leading provider of cloud contact center solutions and director/co-founder of Fidelis Recovery Solutions, Inc., a debt collector. He has over 30 years of experience in the accounts receivable management (ARM) and call/contact center industries, in addition to all phases of collections, recovery and call center operations with deep focus on technology, process improvement, compliance management systems and nine years of experience as a federal consumer financial protection regulator. McNamara also served as COO for Asset Management Outsourcing, Inc., SVP of Banking and Retail Operations for First Data Corporation’s ARM unit, Nationwide Credit/ACB, and VP of Operations for United Recovery Systems, LP. In 2007, John was appointed Vice President and Board Member of the Georgia Collectors Association. John was named to Collection Advisor magazine’s list of the Top 50 Most Influential Collection Professionals for 2006 and 2019. John is a summa cum laude graduate of Kennesaw State University with a B.A. degree in Finance. In 2014, John received his MBA from Kennesaw State University, where he was named a University Scholar.

Kevin McNamaraKevin McNamara, Senior Account Executive, Campus Partnerships, Earnest Inc.

Kevin McNamara is a Senior Account Executive at Earnest Student Loans where he manages the Midwest region. Kevin has over 20 years of experience in higher education finance with special expertise in Graduate/Professional and International Student solutions and has worked with startups and legacy lenders alike. An advocate for financial literacy, Kevin has taught debt management workshops to students in the US, Ireland, and England. He is a graduate of John Carroll University’s Boler School of Management and earned his MBA from the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.

Robert Moran, Principal, Bose Public Affairs GroupRobert Moran

Robert Moran is a principal and member of the federal relations team in the Washington, D.C. office. Prior to joining Bose Public Affairs Group, Moran worked as the education policy director for the U.S. Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In that role, he developed and oversaw the implementation of Chairman Lamar Alexander’s education policy agenda, coordinated policy goals with committee members on the Chairman’s behalf and served as lead negotiator on legislation and policy objectives. Moran has spent more than two decades working on a variety of federal K-12, higher education and career and technical education policy issues. He brings a deep knowledge of education policy and vast experience with the legislative and executive branch processes to the BPAG federal relations team.

Previously, Moran served as the director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he developed, implemented, and managed federal outreach efforts for an association of over 400 four-year public institutions of higher education. He also worked as a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary under President George W. Bush at the U.S. Department of Education and served in high level roles in two lobbying firms. In addition, Moran worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years, crafting legislation for two Congressional offices. Moran is a graduate of Dickinson College with degrees in political science and mathematics.

Mary MorelandMary Moreland, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Abbott

Mary Moreland is Executive Vice President, Human Resources at Abbott. Prior to assuming this role in August 2019, she served as Divisional Vice President, Compensation and Benefits. She joined Abbott in 2011 as Divisional Vice President, Global Retirement Programs and Human Resources Mergers and Acquisitions. Mary advocates on behalf of Abbott employees around the world – from those on the manufacturing lines to scientists working on the company’s breakthrough inventions. She started as a consultant working in healthcare, hospitals and manufacturing. Then, when she knew she wanted to join the corporate world, Abbott was her first call. “Culturally, I knew I could work here,” Mary said. “If you are going to do benefits inside a company, you want a company that sees benefits as an investment.” Mary has a background in actuarial science and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Math and Economics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mary MorrisMary Morris, CEO, Virginia529
Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529, brings more than three decades of financial and taxation services experience to her role as an industry authority and possesses expertise in some of the timeliest issues of the day, including higher education access, education savings, student loan debt, disability savings, financial literacy and more. As a knowledgeable and trusted voice, Mary is regularly featured by the most respected national and local media outlets for her honest, direct, and unbiased insights about topics that matter most to consumers today. Her experience – as the CEO of the nation’s largest 529 plan, as a private lawyer in a national law firm, and as a public servant (having served as the Treasurer of Virginia and Virginia Senior Assistant Attorney General for Tax and Finance) – uniquely qualifies Mary as an exceptional resource for financial, taxation, social and legal matters.

Sara ParrishSara Parrish, President, CampusDoor

Sara Parrish currently serves as President of CampusDoor in York, Pennsylvania. As President, Sara is responsible for the growth and performance of the financial technology company, which has processed more than $35 billion in private student loan requests. Sara’s area of focus include business development and strategy, new program implementation on CampusDoor’s software, forging and fostering client relationships, advancing the platform and user experience, and financial oversight.

Prior to joining CampusDoor in 2016, Sara worked in various operational and portfolio management roles at Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistances Agency (PHEAA). Her responsibilities included operations management within the American Education Services and FedLoan Servicing structures and relationship management for commercial portfolios. Before starting in the student loan industry approximately 15 years ago, Sara worked in engineering business development and government services contracting. Sara earned her B.A. from Ursinus College and M.S. degree from Duquesne University.

Mike PierceMike Pierce, Executive Director, Student Borrower Protection Center

Mike Pierce is Executive Director and co-founder of the Student Borrower Protection Center. He is an attorney, advocate, and former senior regulator who joined SBPC after more than a decade fighting for student loan borrowers’ rights on Capitol Hill and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For the past three years, Mike served as the founding Policy Director and Managing Counsel at SBPC. Before he left government service to start the SBPC, for seven years, Mike was the CFPB’s lead subject-matter expert on higher education and consumer protection. He advised all aspects of the Bureau’s work related to student lending, servicing, debt collection, and oversight of for-profit colleges. From 2015 to 2017, Mike also served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau, leading the day-to-day operations of the Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers. Prior to joining the staff at CFPB, Mike served as a policy advisor to Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03), where he assisted in the passage of legislation creating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and worked on the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Mike’s work on behalf of student loan borrowers has appeared in national print publications and broadcast media, including The New York TimesBBCNational Public RadioPolitico, and The Washington Post. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from George Washington University, and a JD from the Marshall-Wythe Law School at the College of William and Mary. As a law student, Mike worked in the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education.

Charles PruettCharles Pruett, Assistant Dean, Student Financial Aid, Georgetown Law Center

Charles Pruett is the Assistant Dean for Financial Aid at the Georgetown University Law Center and has been with the Financial Aid Office since 1997.  The ever-evolving state of the economy ensures that the needs of Georgetown Law’s student body are constantly changing.  He regularly works with students to increase their knowledge of financial planning and illuminate the nuances and pitfalls important to the lives of younger professionals.  For over fifteen years, Georgetown Law’s flagship financial program, “Life after Georgetown Law” has prepared thousands of graduating students to enter the “real world” as informed earners and consumers.  Mr. Pruett earned both his B.A. and J.D. from The George Washington University.

Balaji (Raj) RajanBalaji (Raj) Rajan, CEO, IonTuition

Raj Rajan is the Founder of CoverPoint Partners, focused on providing support from capital to operations expertise in education-fintech. Experience includes 18 years as the CEO of Ceannate Corp and the founder of several companies in Federal education loan servicing and collections, collegiate mental health, and other SaaS platforms including government improper payment error reduction. Focus on high education ROI. And careers for our students.

Ian RasmussenIan Rasmussen, Managing Director, Co-Head ABS, Fitch Ratings

Senior Director in ABS focusing on: ABCP, consumer unsecured loans, credit cards, and student loans. Long standing relationships in asset management, with strong background in commercial paper, money markets and cash management. Also broad exposure to investment products including: closed-end funds, money market funds and local government investment pools and across many asset classes. Earned a B.S. in finance from Southern Utah University and an MBA in finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business.

Dubravka RitterDubravka Ritter, Senior Advisor and Research Fellow, Consumer Finance Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Dubravka Ritter is an Advisor and Research Fellow at the Consumer Finance Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. She joined the Bank in 2011 and studies how consumer credit markets influence economic opportunity, mobility, and equality. Her research focuses on education finance, discrimination in lending, consumer financial protections, and the effects of identity theft on financial outcomes. Currently, Dubravka is examining the determinants and effects of high student loan burdens, the properties of income-contingent higher education funding, and the repercussions of debt-financed higher education. Prior to joining the Philadelphia Fed, she was an economist at the consulting firm Charles River Associates. While there, she performed statistical and econometric analysis as part of regulatory compliance and risk management support for financial institutions with mortgage, payment card, auto loan, and other portfolios. She also conducted economic analysis in support of litigation alleging antitrust violations and patent infringement, as well as merger and acquisition activity. Ritter has an M.A. in economics from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College.

Carlo SalernoCarlo Salerno, Education Economist

Carlo Salerno is an education economist and long-time industry observer. Over the past 22 years he has done  higher education research for the federal government, co-founded an education analytics company, advised European and African education ministries and conducted a range of analytical studies for national advocacy groups and the student lending industry. He writes frequently on issues related to federal student aid and student lending, and is a frequent speaker at education finance and enrollment management conferences. Carlo holds a BBA from Eastern Michigan University and a PhD from the Pennsylvania State University.

Aisha SmithAisha Smith, Financial Services Counsel, Davis Wright Tremain LLP

Aisha Smith provides sound transactional and regulatory compliance advice to a broad clientele in the financial services sector, including banks and other lenders, trusts, loan servicers, payment processors, and fintechs. She has extensive experience guiding clients through complex matters before state banking regulators, federal agencies, and congressional committees and focusing on de-escalation. She does so by delivering legal analysis in an approachable way, fine-tuning advocacy plans by working to understand her clients’ current and future business needs. In particular, Aisha leverages her knowledge of a wide range of federal and state laws regarding privacy, higher education, debt collection, credit reporting, military benefits, consumer safeguards such as UDAAP protections, commercial transactions, and mergers and acquisitions. She offers keen insight on fast-changing emerging law, including in the crypto, buy now/pay later, and alternative lending spaces, keeping her finger on the pulse of CFPB interest in regulating competitive markets, web3, junk fees, overdraft rules, and privacy and data protection. Before joining DWT, Aisha’s practice focused on managing risks related to clients’ operational practices, product development, compliance management systems, and consumer communication. As an in-house counsel leading a loan servicer’s regulatory legal team, Aisha managed recruitment and supervision of 14 attorneys and analysts; she also co-chaired the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program. Outside of financial services, she has served as guardian ad litem in a divorce custody proceeding referred from the Children’s Law Center.

Michael StratfordMichael Stratford, Higher Education Journalist, Politico

Michael Stratford is an education reporter for POLITICO Pro. He most recently covered federal higher education policy and student loans at Inside Higher Ed, with previous bylines at The Associated Press, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Stratford grew up in Belmont, Mass. and graduated from Cornell University, where he was managing editor of The Cornell Daily Sun.


Tanya TanaroTanya Tanaro, VP, Education & Consumer Lending,
Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU)

Tanya Tanaro is the Vice President of Education and Consumer Lending at Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU). Tanya oversees origination and servicing operations, while also directing product innovation and development, technology platforms, and member engagement for the Education and Consumer Lending portfolios, which generate over $100 million in volume annually. Prior to joining HUECU, Tanya held positions in client management and business development for a non-profit federal student loan guarantor that offered innovative financial literacy and pro-active education debt management services. Tanya managed higher education partnerships in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, working directly with colleges and universities to implement digital learning tools and default management strategies, and negotiated strategic partnerships with state, community, and regional leaders and associations.




Continuing Education Credits (e.g. CLE, CPE, CME, etc.) may be available for iiBIG conference attendees. Upon request conference attendees will be provided with a “Certificate of Attendance” and a copy of the conference agenda, showing topics, length of sessions, and name(s) and professional affiliation(s) of presenter(s) for each session. Attendees wishing to apply for continuing education credits for attending this conference may submit this documentation to the relevant organization in his/her state when applying for such credits.

CE Credits
International Institute for Business Information & Growth LLC is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: