Seth Frotman, Executive Director
Seth Frotman is the nation’s leading expert on the intersection between higher education finance, consumer protection, and public policy. Seth previously served as Assistant Director and Student Loan Ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led a government-wide effort to develop consumer-driven policy reforms and protect millions of Americans with student debt.
Seth joined the CFPB as part of the Treasury Implementation Team as Senior Advisor to Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs. He has also worked on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA). Prior to his work on federal policy, Seth served as counsel for the New Jersey State Senate, where he worked on state-level consumer protection legislation.
Seth’s work on behalf of student loan borrowers has appeared in national print publications and broadcast media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post. Seth received his JD from Indiana University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Full bio.
Tamara Cesaretti, Counsel
Tamara Cesaretti is a Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining SBPC, Tamara was a civil rights policy advocate for both educational opportunities and economic justice at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She graduated from the New York University School of Law in 2018 and the University of Southern California in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. Throughout law school, she held internships both working on policy in New York City government and in direct services as a public defender.
Tariq Habash, Head of Investigations
Tariq Habash is the Head of Investigations at the Student Borrower Protection Center, where he leads the investigative priorities to protect student loan borrowers. Prior to joining SBPC, Tariq was a Senior Policy Associate at The Century Foundation working on higher education affordability, accountability, and consumer protection. Tariq’s expertise and research on the predatory practices of the for-profit college industry, including the rampant use of forced arbitration, led to important student protections in federal regulations.
At The Century Foundation, Tariq developed and led the organization’s FOIA work, where he utilized public records laws to acquire, analyze, and build datasets from federal and state agency information centers, constructing the nation’s first comprehensive, institution-level dataset on borrower defense complaints. When government agencies failed to comply with the law, Tariq supported litigation efforts to produce important documents, like the Department of Education staff analysis of the failing ACICS, to the public. His research has been cited in The New York Times, Associated Press, The Washington Post, and numerous other national publications. Additionally, Tariq advises cohorts from the New Leaders Council, a progressive leadership development organization that equips members to run for office and effect change in their communities. Tariq graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Miami, and his master’s in Higher Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Ben Kaufman, Research and Policy Analyst
Ben Kaufman is a Research and Policy Analyst at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining SBPC, Ben worked in investment banking at JPMorgan and as a Director’s Financial Analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. At the Bureau, Ben focused much of his work on student loans, for-profit colleges, and income share agreements (ISAs). He also served on a cross-bureau working group on credit cards.
Ben earned his BA (’17) and MA (’18) in Public Policy at Stanford, writing undergraduate and graduate theses on issues in consumer finance. Ben’s masters thesis, written under the supervision of professor Anat Admati, evaluated changes to the CFPB’s regulation of payday lending during the tenure of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. His undergraduate honors thesis, advised by Professor Martin Schneider, analyzed the budgetary tradeoffs and life-cycle wealth generation effects associated with reverse mortgages. He has interned in the U.S. Senate, at Apple, and at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Bonnie Latreille, Director of Research and Advocacy
Bonnie Latreille is the Director of Research and Advocacy at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining SBPC, Bonnie served in the Office for Students and Young Consumers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she specialized in student loan servicing compliance and consumer complaint data. Bonnie led the Bureau’s work on servicing compliance under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and her work identifying consumer harm to borrowers pursuing PSLF led to Congress dedicating $700 million in 2018 to expand the program. Prior to her work in the Office for Students, Bonnie worked as an investigator at the CFPB, focusing on mortgage and debt collection compliance.
Bonnie previously worked for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation designing and implementing oversight for accountable care organizations, and in legal aid handling class action litigation stemming from the 2008 mortgage crisis. Bonnie received a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Rebecca Maurer, Counsel and Program Manager, Student Loan Law Initiative
Rebecca Maurer is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Stanford Law School, which she attended after seeing the effects of the foreclosure crisis on her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. She narrowed her interest in consumer finance to student loan law when she saw the difficulties she and her classmates encountered in managing their own debt.
In 2014, she published her first article on student loan and bankruptcy issues. In 2015, she helped design and implement a student loan calculator available in the iOS App Store. She has worked on consumer and student loan cases at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLC and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Rebecca was a federal clerk for Judge James Gwin in the Northern District of Ohio from 2015-2016.
Rebecca is the author of the Student Loan Law chapter of the 2018 and 2019 editions of Ohio Consumer Law, published by Thomson Reuters. She was formerly in solo practice as Maurer Law LLC where she consulted and wrote on a variety of student loan, consumer debt, and housing issues.
Mike Pierce, Director of Policy and Managing Counsel
Mike is the Policy Director and Managing Counsel at 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 seven years, Mike was the Bureau’s lead subject-matter expert on higher education and consumer protection. He advised all aspects of the Bureau’s work related to student loan origination, 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 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.
Walter Suskind, Deputy Director of Communications, Digital Strategy
Walter Suskind is the Deputy Communications Director in charge of social media and the SBPC’s digital presence. Prior to joining the SBPC, Walter worked at Edelman, a public relations firm, where he led client work for a wide array of companies and organizations, helping build and launch campaigns and support reputation management.
Before working at Edelman, Walter spent nearly five years working at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he served as a spokesperson in the Bureau’s Office of Communications. At the Bureau Walter helped to support press and external engagement efforts for the Office for Students and Young Consumers. Walter worked with divisions across the Bureau, supporting major rulemaking and enforcement announcements, handling media outreach and stakeholder engagement. Outside of work, Walter is a leading disability advocate, having formed the organization SibStrong which works to empower and support siblings of people with disabilities across the age spectrum. Walter received a bachelor’s in international relations and Spanish from Pennsylvania State University.
Moira Vahey, Director of Communications
Moira Vahey is the Director of Communications at the Student Borrower Protection Center. She has served in a range of strategic communications leadership roles across government and mission-driven organizations, including the White House, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Pentagon.
Moira was a political appointee in the Obama Administration and served as communications director and policy advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as press secretary for telecommunications and technology policy at the U.S. Department of Commerce. During her time at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she served in public affairs and policy positions including acting communications director, senior spokesperson, community affairs lead, and senior advisor for the Bureau’s fintech program. She managed engagement with industry, consumer advocates, and reporters from top media and financial outlets, authored agency publications, and managed the rollout of many high-profile announcements, such as the agency’s first enforcement actions against financial institutions and the rollout of critical market-wide mortgage protections in the wake of the nation’s housing meltdown. She has been quoted on breaking news matters in outlets including The New York Times, PBS, NBC News, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal.
Most recently, she served as communications director at the Pentagon’s Digital Defense Unit where she oversaw media relations, intergovernmental communications, and digital engagement. Moira also served in media relations and policy roles at national nonprofits including the Progressive Policy Institute and Free Press.
Kat Welbeck, Civil Rights Counsel
Kat Welbeck is a Civil Rights Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. She was previously an Outreach and Engagement Specialist in the CFPB’s Office of Public Engagement and Community Liaison. Prior to her work at the Bureau, Kat taught fourth grade in Houston, TX as a Teach for America Corps Member.
Kat currently serves as a DC Program Director of Rising Leaders, Inc., a nonprofit mentoring program that empowers middle school students through high-quality mentorship and leadership development training. Kat is also the Director of Engagement on the Rising Leaders, Inc. Board of Directors. She holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.