What you need to know:
- Trellis Company, formerly Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, was one of five loan servicers chosen by the Department of Education to handle the servicing of federal student loans in the future.
- Of the five servicers chosen, three have never worked with Direct Loan borrowers before, including Trellis Company.
- Trellis Company is an FFEL loan guarantor and provides a variety of services to help student loan borrowers better manage their finances and to avoid student loan default.
Trellis Company, formerly Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, was one of five companies awarded a contract by the Department of Education to service federal student loans as part of its future “Next Gen FSA” student loan environment.
Three of the servicers, including Trellis Company, have had no previous experience with federal Direct Loan servicing. However, Trellis does have a nearly 40-year history working with FFEL student loan borrowers.
On August 4, 2020, the Federal Student Aid department recently announced that borrowers will not be switching servicers in 2020. But here’s what you need to know about Trellis Company if it becomes your new student loan servicer in 2021 or beyond.
What is Trellis Company?
Trellis Company, formerly Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services to students and student loan borrowers. It was a guarantor of FFEL loans (before the FFEL program was replaced by the Direct Loan Program) and has guaranteed over $74 billion in FFEL loans to over 4 million students and parents.
After the closure of the FFEL program in 2010, TG focused more of its energy on providing services that improve student outcomes and increase financial literacy. In 2017, it changed its name to Trellis Company to further reflect its desire to be known as more than just a student loan guarantor.
A few of the services that Trellis Company now offers include:
- Student financial education. Financial literacy and student loan counseling modules provided at no cost to postsecondary institutions in Texas.
- Student outreach. One-on-one financial coaching related to money management, financial aid, or academic and career support.
- Research. Conducts studies on student financial wellness, borrowing and repayment patterns that are provided to universities, colleges and policymakers.
- Institutional consulting. Provides assistance to colleges and universities in developing programs that improve student engagement and retention and help them avoid negative financial outcomes like loan defaults.
Finally, Trellis Company’s HigherEDGE precollections and default prevention program is designed to help students rehabilitate their loans before they’re turned over to collections.
Trellis says that its program has an 89.2% cure rate and has averted $2.1 billion in potential defaults. The fact that helping students avoid default is a core part of Trellis’ company values could be a key reason it was one of the companies chosen by the office of Financial Student Aid (FSA) to service the Direct Loan program in its Next Gen program.
Trellis Company customer feedback
Currently, Trellis has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and an average 1-star (out of 5) customer review rating based on 12 reviews. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also received 12 complaints over the past 12 months from TG student loan borrowers.
Trying to compare Trellis customer feedback with other student loan servicers is difficult because it’s not currently a Direct Loan servicer. As a FFEL guarantor, it will only assume responsibility for loans after borrowers have defaulted. As such, most of the borrowers who filed complaints about their TG student loans on the BBB or CFPB websites were related to frustrations with things like wage garnishment, credit reporting or statutes of limitations.
Also, some borrowers were upset that CARES Act benefits weren’t being reflected on their loan accounts. But, unfortunately, the CARES Act student loan relief does not apply to FFEL loan borrowers.
To its credit, Trellis has promptly responded to each BBB complaint, and the majority have been resolved. However, only time will tell how the Trellis team is able to handle the workload of servicing the Direct Loan program and its various repayment plans.
Trellis might have better tech but it lacks Direct Loan experience
If your student loans are eventually moved to Trellis student loan servicing, there are some potential positives. First, the company has a lot of experience with helping student loan borrowers avoid default. That could mean more informed help and advice for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.
Second, the company is based on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, an area known for attracting top software engineers. Travis Hornsby, founder of Student Loan Planner, said, “Theoretically, you might expect better tech from them than other servicers.” This could translate to a better website and app experience with Trellis than you’re getting with your current federal loan servicer.
But the company’s inexperience with Direct Loan programs, specifically Income-Driven Repayment plans, is a concern. Hornsby continued, “I’d expect they would be one of the new ‘Big 3’ handling IDR accounts. But they don’t have any experience in handling IDR or forgiveness, unlike MOHELA and Edfinancial, so they have a higher hurdle to clear.”
What to do if Trellis Company is your new servicer
When the Department of Education first announced its new servicer contracts, most people assumed that borrowers would be transitioned to their new servicers by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. That would be a difficult timeline to meet in any year let alone with the ongoing pandemic and the various ways it has affected the federal student loan landscape.
Thankfully, the Department of Education recently announced in a blog post that no borrowers will be changing servicers this year. FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA), Great Lakes, Navient, and Nelnet can continue to service loans until December 2021, and other current servicers could stay active until March 2022.
So, if Trellis becomes your new servicer, you could expect the transition to take place some time next year or near the beginning of 2022. The FSA says that you’ll be given plenty of notice when via emails, social media messages and other communication channels.
Check with the FSA periodically for information on when your account will be moved and how to manage your account moving forward. You can visit StudentAid.gov for updates or follow the department on social media @FAFSA. Student Loan Planner is also committed to keeping you abreast of announcements and changes as they occur.
Also Read: What To Do If Your Servicer Gets Fired
How to contact Trellis Company about your student loans
You can reach Trellis customer service in one of the following ways:
General information: 800-252-9743 or 512-219-5700
Repayment questions: 800-222-6297
Veterans assistance: 800-530-1449
Default prevention: 800-338-4752
Financial aid and loan forgiveness: 800-845-6267
Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. CT.
301 Sundance Pkwy.
Round Rock, TX 78681
Address for sending payments:
P.O. Box 659602
San Antonio, TX 78265-9602
Trellis student loan borrowers can submit documents by fax using one of the following numbers.
General borrowers: 512-336-6551
Borrowers working with the default prevention team: 512-336-6566
Online chat support:
Trellis doesn’t currently offer chat support on its website or mobile apps.
Trellis Company FAQs
Are there any guaranteed student loans?
Before the Direct Loan program was introduced in 2010, private lenders would provide FFEL loans that were guaranteed by agencies like Trellis Company. While these guarantees protect lenders against borrower default, they provide no protections to the borrowers themselves.
Is Trellis Company legit?
Yes, Trellis Company is a legitimate nonprofit corporation that has guaranteed FFEL loans and worked with student loan borrowers for close to 40 years. Also, the Department of Education has announced that Trellis student loan servicing will soon become a federal Direct Loan servicer.
How do I pay my Trellis student loans?
Borrowers can make payments to Trellis using its account management tool, MyTrellis, which is available on desktop and mobile devices. Paper checks can be mailed to Trellis Collections, P.O. Box 659602, San Antonio, TX 78265-9602.
Does Trellis have an app?
Yes, the MyTrellis app is available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store. Borrowers can use the app to view a summary of their student loans, make payments, print or e-sign documents, and more.
What you can do if you want to leave Trellis Company
If your loan is eventually moved to Trellis and you’re unhappy with your service, you can file a complaint with CFPB or the Department of Education. But if you want to switch servicers, you can only do so during a Federal Direct Loan consolidation or by refinancing with a private lender.
Both Direct Loan consolidations and private loan refinancing have various pros and cons. In some cases, it could be detrimental to leave Trellis, especially if you’re already well on your way towards earning loan forgiveness through a federal program.
Before you make a decision, consider talking to one of Student Loan Planner’s advisors. Our advisors have consulted on over $1 billion of student loans and over 90% of our clients save an average of more than $50,000 in lifetime projected savings. Book an appointment today to get your custom Trellis student loans repayment plan.