Eliminating the extreme economic and emotional burden of student debt repayment. 




The Education Finance Institute (EFI) seeks to reduce the negative long-term economic impact of student loan debt on students, families and our economy. By creating and piloting income-related repayment options, we strive to make repaying the cost of higher education less burdensome and risky as compared to conventional student loans. 


In pursuit of our mission we maintain the following principles:


  • Students First: Focus on the long-term well-being of students

  • Aligned Interests: Maintain mutual interests of higher education institutions and students

  • Sustainable Solutions: Build options that will be sustained by attracting private capital

  • Inclusiveness: Develop optimal solutions by including a broad group of stakeholders



The Education Finance Institute (EFI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that was formed in 2018 by Tony James, Executive Vice Chairman of The Blackstone Group, and Jim Runcie, former Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid (FSA), the student lending arm of the federal government. Mr. James serves as the Board Chairperson of EFI and Mr. Runcie serves as the Executive Director of EFI.

Mr. James and Mr. Runcie believe strongly in the benefit of obtaining a college education and have seen close up the impact of higher education on transforming lives. They have also witnessed the negative and positive impact of student loans in terms of providing much-needed access to higher education and the inability of borrowers to avoid negative repayment outcomes that result in lifelong problems.  Mr. James and Mr. Runcie are focused on reducing the negative long-term economic impact of student loans on students, families and the national economy.


EFI Advisory Board

The EFI Advisory Board is comprised of a diverse group of national leaders in enrollment management. The members share EFI’s interest in developing a nationally scalable financing option that can benefit many students seeking to enroll in schools  across the country.  The Advisory Board’s primary role is to provide EFI with guidance on the development of the EFI income share prototype and the implementation of the EFI pilot program.   Membership on the Advisory Board does not infer participation in the EFI pilot by the schools whom the members represent.  EFI is extremely grateful to the following individuals that have agreed to serve:


John Barnhill, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Florida State University

Dr. Doug Christiansen, Vice President for University Enrollment Affairs, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Vanderbilt University

Zina Evans, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Associate Provost, University of Florida

Barbara Gill,  Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management, University of Maryland

Kedra Ishop, PhD,  Vice Provost for Enrollment Management,  University of Michigan

Jim Nondorf,  Vice President, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Chicago

Matt Proto, Vice President, Dean of Admissions, Colby College

Matt Sessa, Executive Director of Student Registration and Financial Services, University of Pennsylvania

Francisco Valines, Director of Financial Aid, Florida International University

Management and Staff

EFI brings to its mission a substantial working knowledge of the student lending marketplace (public and private); significant experience in financial services, from structuring to fundraising to marketing; a deep understanding of key higher education operational processes and a track record of effectively collaborating with stakeholders in government, education institutions, and advocacy organizations.


James "Jim" Runcie - Executive Director | formerly Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education. Prior experience includes 20 years of transaction, operations and management experience with major domestic and international financial institutions.


William "Bill" Leith - Managing Director | formerly Chief Business Operations Officer of Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education. Directly oversaw the student financial aid programs and management of the student loan portfolio. Prior to FSA, Bill worked for approximately 20 years in financial aid management at several universities.


Monica Ballinas - Program Associate | recent graduate with Bachelor's in Actuarial Science and Master's in Statistics providing programmatic, analytical and administrative capacity.




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New York:

601 Lexington Avenue Fl 17,

New York, NY 10022

District of Columbia:

601 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 900

Washington,  DC 20004

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