Ascent Student Loans Review
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. 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, California as a way to revolutionize education financing.
In addition to offering a private student loan that borrowers without a cosigner may be approved for, 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 (cosigned)
- Ascent Independent Student Loan (non-cosigned)
- Pros and Cons
- Compare Ascent Student Loans to Other Options
Ascent looks at the complete picture of its applicants, considering more criteria than many other student loan providers do.
All applicants (including cosigners, if applicable) must not have defaulted on any student loan in the past, have not had a bankruptcy in the past five years, and must have a credit score of 600 (for students without a cosigner) or 660 (for cosigners).
The other factors they look at include things like graduation date, 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 other data look promising enough.
To apply for a student loan with Ascent, your school must also be on their approved list of schools which only takes a minute or two to check online.
Ascent’s application doesn’t take very long and can be done completely online. International students will be required to upload some extra documentation.
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 interest rate, choose their term length, and choose the repayment plan they want. Once approved, the student loan is disbursed right to their school.
Ascent Tuition Student Loan
What we like:
1% cash back upon graduation
|Fixed APR||5.21% – 14.28%|
|Variable APR||4.23% – 13.23%|
|Loan Terms||5, 10, or 15 years|
|Loan Amounts||$2,000 – $200,000|
Borrowers who have a creditworthy cosigner can qualify for an Ascent Tuition loan. This loan was ranked as one of the best student loans according to our Editorial Ratings.
An Ascent Tuition 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 APR or variable APR. The fixed APR ranges from 5.21% to 14.46%. It won’t change with the market—your payment will be the same each month.
The variable APR ranges from 4.25% to 13.25%. Unlike the fixed-rate loan, this rate will fluctuate based on the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index.
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.
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 or permanent resident, the cosigner must be.
Ascent Independent Student Loan
What we like:
Large maximum borrowing limit
|Fixed APR||6.80% – 13.55%|
|Variable APR||5.87% – 13.15%|
|Loan Terms||5, 10, or 15 years|
|Loan Amounts||$2,000 – $200,000|
Ascent Independent loans are for students who are applying for financial help without a cosigner. 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, at least. 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 6.80% to 13.55%. Borrowers can choose a variable rate APR instead, which ranges from 5.87% to 13.15%.
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 application process
- Ascent looks at more factors when deciding who is eligible
- 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.
>> 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. You can see other private student loan lenders here or other students loans without a cosigner here.
Also remember that 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.
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.
Ascent also has a customizable repayment plan, which will make it easier to handle your finances after you leave school.4.87 Ascent Student Loans
Author: Shannon Serpette
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