Ascent Student Loans Review
- December 11, 2018
- Posted by: Shannon Serpette
- Category: Student Loans
At a Glance:
Students who don’t have an income, credit history, or a cosigner at their disposal may still be eligible for a student loan through Ascent Student Loans. Private student loans like these can make college a reality for students who have exhausted other ways to pay for school. Applicants will need to meet Ascent's criteria to be approved for a non-cosigned loan.
Ascent Student Loans was opened by Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. in San Diego, Calif., as a way to revolutionize education financing. In addition to offering a private student loan that borrowers can be approved for without a cosigner, the company also offers financial literacy education to help students and their families make well-informed decisions about borrowing.
Ascent works with partner banks, such as their main lending partner, Richland State Bank, which provide the loans. Read on to get a better understanding of Ascent student loans and how they work.
On this page:
- Eligibility Requirements & Application Process
- Ascent Tuition Student Loan
- Ascent Independent Student Loan
- Pros and Cons of Ascent Student Loans
- Can You Refinance Ascent Student Loans?
- Alternatives to Ascent Student Loans
Eligibility Requirements & Application Process
Ascent Student Loans looks at the complete picture regarding its applicants, considering more criteria than many other student loan providers do. They look at factors such as graduation date, creditworthiness, the school a borrower is attending, the program they’ve selected, their major, future income potential, and more. While this information is more detailed than some companies ask for, it lets them eliminate the need for a cosigner if the factors look promising enough.
To apply for a student loan with Ascent, your school must be on their approved list of schools. If it is, which will take you about one minute to check online, you can then fill out a full application.
When you’re filling out your application, you’re required to complete a financial literacy course to ensure you’re making educated borrowing decisions. This extra step will help students see how their current decisions about borrowing might impact them years later.
Once they complete the module, students must choose whether they want a fixed or variable-rate student loan and choose their term length and the repayment plan they want. Once approved, the student loan is disbursed right to their school.
Ascent Tuition Student Loan
Borrowers who have a creditworthy cosigner can qualify for Ascent Tuition. This loan helps you cover your tuition and eligible living expenses. It doesn’t have any application fees, and with the backing of your cosigner, you’ll have a chance at lower interest rates. If you have a cosigner who is a bit leery about being stuck in a long repayment period, they might be glad to know they can be released as a cosigner after you make two years’ worth of on-time payments.
You have a choice of a fixed-rate APR or variable APR. The fixed APR ranges from 5.66% to 14.73%. It won’t change with the market—your payment will be the same each month. The variable APR ranges from 4.06% to 13.06%. Unlike the fixed-rate loan, this rate will fluctuate based on the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index. This can be a problem for people who need an affordable student loan that will fit their tight budget.
Ascent Tuition also gives you the ability to customize your repayment options. You can choose a 5 or 15-year repayment plan for the variable rate loan. For fixed rate loans, borrowers have the option of 5 and 10-year repayment terms. In addition, you won’t be penalized for paying off either of the loans early.
While in school, you can begin making interest-only payments soon after the loans are disbursed or you can opt for in-school deferment to delay payments until six months after school ends. Another option is to make a minimum $25 monthly payment while still in school.
Borrowers can save money by opting for automatic debit to get a 0.25% rate reduction and by taking advantage of the one-time 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward (provided they meet the criteria).
The loan amounts for Ascent Tuition range from $2,000 to $200,000. To be eligible, you have to be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate or graduate school at an eligible institution and be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status here. If you aren’t a U.S. citizen, the cosigner must be.
Ascent Independent Student Loan
Ascent Independent loans are for students who are applying for financial help without a cosigner. But, to secure one of these loans, you must be a junior, senior, or graduate student who is attending school full-time at an eligible school. You must have a 2.5-grade point average, minimum. In addition, you have to be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status in the U.S.
The loan amounts are the same as the Ascent Tuition loan, with a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $200,000. But without a cosigner to back you up, the loan amount you receive might be less than what you requested.
Borrowers may choose a 10-year repayment term for fixed-rate loans and a 10 or 15-year loan term for variable-rate loans. Furthermore, these loans come with deferred repayment while in school, with payments starting six months after leaving school.
Ascent Independent loans have a fixed rate APR that ranges from 7.20% to 13.90%. Borrowers can choose a variable rate APR instead, which ranges from 5.72% to 13.01%. If you sign up for the automatic payment option, you can get a 0.25% interest rate reduction. You might also get some money back if you qualify for Ascent's 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward.
As with the other Ascent loan option, this one carries no origination, loan application, or disbursement fees.
Pros and Cons of Ascent Student Loans
When you’re looking for a way to finance your education, you’ll want to know if Ascent is one of the best student loans, but you first need to realize no loan is perfect. As with all student loans, there are upsides and downsides to Ascent loans. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Easy to apply for these loans.
- The application process is unique, as is how the company looks at the overall picture before deciding about an application.
- The monthly payments are reasonable.
- You might be able to get a student loan without a cosigner.
- Not all schools are eligible.
- You might be able to get a better interest rate with another private student loan lender.
- Approval and disbursement time might be longer if you’re applying without a creditworthy cosigner.
Can You Refinance With Ascent?
Ascent does not offer a refinance loan, so if you decide to find better rates later, you will need to refinance with a different student loan lender. You might have to do some searching to find a private student loan option that will beat the rates and customizable options you’ll have with Ascent, such as the repayment term length and whether you want fixed or variable rates.
>> Read More: Best Student Loan Refinance Companies
Alternatives to Ascent Student Loans
Before you agree to take out a loan with Ascent, you should look at other lenders to see if you can score a better interest rate. And, remember, it’s smarter to look for free money in the first place. Maximize your scholarship funds by applying to as many as you can. You should also fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see if you qualify for any grants or federal student loans, which may have better interest rates.
Once you’ve exhausted your search for free money, you should seek multiple quotes from lenders or student loan providers before you make any commitments.
Ascent can be a decent choice for student loans, especially if you don’t have a cosigner and therefore might have issues getting a loan elsewhere. Non-cosigner student loans can be hard to come by. Plus, Ascent does have a customizable repayment plan, which will make it easier to handle your finances after you leave school.
But before you get locked in with Ascent, make sure you’ve fully explored your options first.
Author: Shannon Serpette
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