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Student Loans

Ascent Student Loans: An In-Depth Review

Updated Jan 22, 2024   |   28-min read

Ascent’s credit-based undergraduate and graduate loans earn our best for eligibility designation in their respective categories

  • Cosigned and non-cosigned student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and career-training
  • DACA and international students may be eligible 
  • 1% cash back upon graduation
  • Choose to start making payments now or after leaving school
  • Check your prequalified rates with no impact on your credit score

In this review:

Ascent Funding, founded in 2015, is a private student loan lender with a mission to revolutionize how you fund your higher education. It aims to break down the financial barriers to education by providing access to affordable loans and valuable resources.

Ascent offers a range of student loan products for undergraduates, graduates, and career-focused students. Its products serve a wide variety of students—from those with established credit histories to those without cosigners or credit. 

It tailors its loan options to meet students’ unique needs and situations, including DACA students as well as international students with an eligible cosigner.

How does Ascent work?

Navigating Ascent’s loan process is straightforward, with loans granted based on creditworthiness or potential future income, depending on the type of loan applied for.

Borrowing amounts are determined by the cost of attendance minus any financial aid received. Ascent disburses funds to the school, covering tuition, fees, and other eligible educational expenses. 

Borrowers generally need one loan per academic year, which can cover both semesters.

Ascent’s credit-based undergraduate student loans

Why Ascent is the best for eligibility

Editorial rating: 4.7 out of 5

Ascent stands out for eligibility, providing comprehensive and adaptable solutions for undergraduate students. Its credit-based student loans, available with or without a cosigner, can accommodate various borrower profiles.

For students with a creditworthy cosigner, Ascent provides an option to secure a loan with potentially better terms, which can make the cost of borrowing more affordable. 

For independent students or those without a cosigner, Ascent’s non-cosigned, credit-based loan offers an opportunity to fund their education based on their credit history. An outcomes-based, non-cosigned student loan is an option for borrowers without a cosigner and without adequate credit history.

This versatility in eligibility requirements allows a broader range of students to consider Ascent for their borrowing needs, illustrating a commitment to making education accessible to as many students as possible.

Rates, terms, and fees

Compared to other student loan companies, Ascent’s undergraduate student loan rates, terms, and fees are competitive. Borrowers who apply with a cosigner will find they are eligible for lower interest rates than those applying without one, as shown in the table below.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)4.48%15.27% with a cosigner
9.46%15.52% without a cosigner
Variable rates (APR)5.98%15.63% with a cosigner
9.87%15.88% without a cosigner
Rate discounts0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$2,001 – $200,000 (aggregate total, including federal and private loans)

$6,001 minimum in Massachusetts
In-school repayment plansDeferred, $25 minimum repayment, or interest-only
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years
Grace period9 months after graduation or dropping below half-time
Repayment assistanceActive duty military deferment

Temporary hardship forbearance

Administrative forbearance

Natural disaster/declared emergency forbearance

Progressive repayment, which allows you to reduce your monthly payment and gradually increase it over time to pay off your loan within the term

Discharge option available for loans issued on or after June 5, 2023, after meeting several requirements
Cosigner releaseYes, after 12 consecutive, on-time full principal and interest payments and other eligibility criteria
FeesNone
Unique features1% cash back upon graduation

Free one-on-one student success coaching and financial resources

Scholarships available

Cash back on purchases applied to loan repayment

Earn $525 for referring a friend

Ascent offers several borrower benefits worth noting:

  • 1% cash back upon graduation. Ascent provides borrowers with a reward of 1% of their loan amount upon graduation after meeting certain criteria. The amount is sent electronically to your bank account.
  • Scholarships. Every year, Ascent awards more than $80,000 in scholarships to student applicants, including $1,000 summer giveaways from June to August, a $1,000 financial wellness scholarship, and a $1,000 money Mindfulness scholarship.
  • Repayment assistance options. Several assistance options are available, including deferment, forbearance, and a discharge policy. A progressive repayment option allows you to reduce your monthly payment to make it more affordable, and then gradually increase it over time so you still pay your loan off in your original term.
  • Student success coaching. Undergraduate borrowers have one-on-one access to a success coach for one year. The coach can help things like choosing a major, budgeting, and resume advice.
  • Cashback rewards. The Ascent Rewards program allows you to earn cash back on purchases with partnered retailers that can be applied to student loan payments.
  • Refer a friend program. Existing borrowers can earn money for referring a friend to Ascent Funding. You get $25 when a friend’s loan is approved and $500 when the loan is funded and disbursed. Your friend also earns $100 for participating in the program upon funding and disbursal.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Ascent caters to a wide range of undergraduate borrowers, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, DACA recipients, and even international students provided they have a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident. 

Cosigners, however, aren’t always necessary. Borrowers with more than two years of credit history and who meet certain financial requirements can secure a loan without a cosigner. 

Ascent doesn’t specify how many borrowers have a cosigner, but having a cosigner may increase the likelihood of approval and a lower interest rate.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or DACA status with a valid Social Security number

Non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply if they have eligible resident status and a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
State of residenceAll 50 states
Minimum age18 in every state except Alabama and Nebraska (19), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21)
Enrolled schoolSchool must be one of 2,200+ eligible schools
Enrollment statusAt least half-time in a degree program at an eligible institution
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed

For cosigned loan, student borrowers and cosigners must have a minimum credit score

For non-cosigned loan, student borrowers must have more than 2 years of credit history with a minimum credit score
Minimum incomeNo minimum for student borrowers with a cosigner

$24,000/year for cosigners and student borrowers without a cosigner 

How does repayment work?

Ascent’s repayment options are comparable to competitors in the industry. You can choose from three in-school repayment plans: 

  • Deferred repayment, where payments start after graduation
  • $25 minimum repayment, allowing you to gradually decrease your loan balance
  • Interest-only repayment, helping to manage accruing interest while in school.

Ascent offers five repayment terms for its credit-based undergraduate loans, ranging from five to 15 years. You commit to the repayment term when you apply for the loan, although there is no penalty for early repayment

The progressive payment option is also available in case you need to reduce monthly payments and gradually increase them to still pay your loan off within the loan’s term.

Bear in mind the length of your repayment term affects the overall cost of your loan. Longer terms typically result in lower monthly payments but higher overall costs due to accumulated interest. 

For example, consider a loan of $20,000 with a fixed interest rate of 6%. Here’s how the repayment might break down for different repayment terms:

Repayment termMonthly paymentTotal interest paidTotal repaid
5 years$386.66$3,199.60$23,199.60
7 years$287.50$4,420.00$24,420.00
10 years$222.04$6,644.80$26,644.80
12 years$194.12$7,931.52$27,931.52
15 years$168.30$10,294.00$30,294.00

This table illustrates that while a longer repayment term results in lower monthly payments, it also increases the overall cost of the loan due to paying more interest over the life of the loan. Opting for a shorter term could save you money in the long run.

Ascent’s no-cosigner undergraduate student loans

Why Ascent is the best for deferred repayment

Editorial rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Ascent stands out for its no-cosigner student loans. The lender offers two no-cosigner options:

  • The credit-based undergraduate loan without a cosigner. Students may qualify for the credit-based undergraduate loan independently if they meet the credit and income criteria but may face higher interest rates than the credit-based loan with a cosigner.
  • An outcomes-based no-cosigner undergraduate loan is an option for students who may not qualify for a credit-based loan and don’t have the benefit of a cosigner. Rather than income and credit score, eligibility is based on factors such as school, program, major, and GPA. 

Ascent’s no-cosigner student loans earn an impressive rating due to a range of features that set them apart, including:

  • A 1% cash back graduation reward. 
  • A nine-month grace period allowing for a smoother transition postgraduation before repayment begins.
  • Deferred payments that allow students to navigate school and the early stages of their careers before repayment begins.
  • Borrower-friendly repayment terms.

Rates, terms, and fees

When you compare Ascent’s no-cosigner outcomes-based student loans to its no-cosigner credit-based offerings, several differences stand out. 

The outcomes-based loan offers fewer repayment options and lower annual loan amounts. However, it comes with a higher autopay discount—1.00%, as opposed to just 0.25% for the credit-based loans. 

The outcomes-based loan only offers a deferment option for in-school repayment. Fixed and variable rates on the outcomes-based loan are also higher than Ascent’s credit-based loans. 

FeatureOutcomes-based detailsCredit-based no-cosigner details
Fixed rates (APR)12.37%14.24% 9.46%15.52%
Variable rates (APR)12.73%14.68% 9.87%15.88%
Rate discounts1.00% for autopay0.25% for autopay
Loan amounts$2,001 – $20,000 ($200,000 aggregate total, including federal and private loans)

$6,001 minimum in Massachusetts
$2,001 – $200,000 ($200,000 aggregate total, including federal and private loans)

$6,001 minimum in Massachusetts
In-school repayment plansDeferredInterest-only

$25 minimum

Deferred
Repayment terms10 or 15 years5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
Grace period9 months9 months
Repayment assistanceActive duty military deferment

Temporary hardship forbearance

Administrative forbearance

Natural disaster/declared emergency forbearance

Progressive repayment

Discharge (for loans after June 5, 2023)
Active duty military deferment

Temporary hardship forbearance

Administrative forbearance

Natural disaster/declared emergency forbearance

Progressive repayment

Discharge (for loans after June 5, 2023)
FeesNoneNone
Unique features1% cash back upon graduation

Free one-on-one student success coaching and financial resources

Scholarships available

Cash back on purchases applied to loan repayment

Earn $525 for referring a friend
1% cash back upon graduation

Free one-on-one student success coaching and financial resources

Scholarships available

Cash back on purchases applied to loan repayment

Earn $525 for referring a friend

What are the eligibility requirements?

Ascent’s no-cosigner student loans cater to a broad range of students, with the outcomes-based loan specifically designed for those without an established credit history and who don’t meet the income or credit requirements needed to qualify for a credit-based loan. 

For the outcomes-based option, Ascent accounts for alternative factors to determine eligibility, including school, program, graduation date, major, GPA, cost of attendance, and satisfactory academic performance (SAP). The credit-based no-cosigner option requires you to meet credit and income requirements.

RequirementOutcomes-based no-cosigner detailsCredit-based no-cosigner details
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or DACA status with a valid Social Security numberU.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or DACA status with a valid Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 statesAll 50 states
Minimum age18 in every state except Alabama and Nebraska (19), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21)18 in every state except Alabama and Nebraska (19), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21)
Enrolled schoolSchool must be one of 2,200+ eligible schoolsSchool must be one of 2,200+ eligible schools
Enrollment statusFull-time junior or senior with a 2.9+ GPA or half-time within 9 months of graduation

Must meet schools satisfactory academic performance requirements
At least half-time in a degree program at an eligible institution
Minimum credit scoreNo credit score requirementMust meet undisclosed credit score minimum with more than 2 years credit history
Minimum incomeNone. Evaluation is based on the school of attendance, program, major, and other criteria that do not consider current annual income$24,000/year

How does repayment work?

Repayment on Ascent’s outcome-based student loan carries distinct features compared to the credit-based no-cosigner option due to its unique eligibility criteria. 

Unlike the no-cosigner credit-based loan, for which repayment works just like a cosigned credit-based loan, the outcome-based loan presents fewer options for repayment:

  • Deferred in-school repayment: With the outcomes-based loan, the only in-school repayment option is deferred. Payments won’t commence until nine months after graduation or once your enrollment drops to less than half-time.
  • Two repayment terms—10 or 15 years: The term is selected at the point of loan approval. While a longer repayment term may offer the benefit of lower monthly payments, it could potentially increase the total cost of the loan due to interest accumulation over time.

For example, let’s assume a loan amount of $20,000 with a fixed interest rate of 14% to illustrate the difference in monthly payments and overall cost for 10- and 15-year repayment terms.

Repayment termMonthly paymentTotal repaid
10 years~$277~$33,240
15 years~$237~$42,660

These are rough estimates, and payments may vary depending on various factors, such as the timing of the first payment and accrued interest during the grace period. 

Ascent’s graduate student loans

Why Ascent is the best for eligibility 

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

With an impressive rating, Ascent’s graduate student loans shine brightest on eligibility, particularly for international students. Its broad eligibility criteria accommodate a wide variety of borrowers, helping students from all walks of life reach their academic goals. 

It’s this inclusivity that sets Ascent apart in the sector and earns it the title of “best for eligibility.”

Rates, terms, and fees

Ascent offers competitive rates for its graduate student loans, with a range of fixed and variable rates on par with many industry competitors. These rates, coupled with several repayment term options and the absence of fees, can make Ascent a cost-effective choice for graduate students. 

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)5.48%15.52%
Variable rates (APR)6.99%15.88%
Rate discounts0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$2,001 – $400,000 (per academic year and maximum aggregate, which includes private and federal loans)

$6,001 minimum in Massachusetts
Terms7, 10, 12, 15, or 20 years
In-school repayment plansDeferred

In-school $25 minimum

In-school interest-only
Grace period9 months after graduation, leaving the program, or otherwise dropping to less than half-time enrollment status
Repayment assistanceActive duty military deferment

Temporary hardship forbearance

Administrative forbearance

Natural disaster/declared emergency forbearance

Progressive repayment

Discharge (for loans after June 5, 2023)
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 consecutive principal and interest payments on-time

Must meet the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner, including program requirements for a solo student borrower and participating in autopay
FeesNone
Unique features1% cash back upon graduation

Scholarships available

Cash back on purchases applied to loan repayment

Earn $525 for referring a friend

Ascent’s other graduate student loans

By providing degree-specific loans, Ascent allows borrowers to choose a loan that matches their course duration, expected income trajectory, and other unique aspects of their graduate program. 

This customization can result in more favorable repayment terms and lower overall costs for the borrower. For instance, medical students who may have a longer course of study followed by a residency period might seek longer deferment options before repaying their medical school debt

In offering these degree-specific loans, Ascent demonstrates a deeper understanding of its borrowers’ needs and a commitment to providing tailored financial solutions.

MBA Medical Dental Law Health profession /Ph.D. and Masters
Fixed APR 5.48%15.52%5.33%15.52%5.48%15.52%5.48% – 15.52%5.48%15.52%
Variable APR 6.99%15.88%6.53%15.88%6.85%15.88%6.99%15.88%6.99%15.88%
Autopay discount0.25%0.25%0.25%0.25%0.25%
Loan amount$2,001 – $400,000$2,001 – $400,000$2,001 – $400,000$2,001 – $400,000$2,001 – $400,000
In-school repaymentDeferred up to 36 months

$25 minimum
Interest-only
Deferred up to 48 months

$25 minimum
Interest-only
Deferred up to 48 months

$25 minimum
Interest-only
Deferred up to 36 months

$25 minimum
Interest-only
Deferred up to 36 month

$25 minimum
Interest-only
Repayment term7, 10, 12, 15 years7, 10, 12, 15, 20 years7, 10, 12, 15, 20 years7, 10, 12, 15 years7, 10, 12, 15 years
Grace period9 months after graduation or less than half-time enrollment36 months after graduation

9 months after less than half-time enrollment
12 months after graduation

9 months after less than half-time enrollment
9 months after graduation or less than half-time enrollment9 months after graduation or less than half-time enrollment
Repayment assistanceDeferment

Forbearance

Progressive repayment
Deferment

Forbearance

Residency / internship deferment

Progressive repayment
Deferment

Forbearance

Progressive repayment
Deferment

Forbearance

Progressive repayment
Deferment

Forbearance

Progressive repayment
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 regular full paymentsAfter 12 regular full paymentsAfter 12 regular full paymentsAfter 12 regular full paymentsAfter 12 regular full payments
FeesNoneNoneNoneNoneNone

What are the eligibility requirements?

Ascent offers graduate student loans to a broad range of students who meet its eligibility requirements. A key advantage is its non-cosigned loan option for independent students who have a strong credit history and income.

However, given the higher costs of graduate education and the reality that many students may not meet the credit history and income requirements, a cosigner might be wise for many borrowers to increase the chances of approval and potentially secure a lower interest rate. 

The eligibility criteria for Ascent’s graduate student loans are consistent across all degree-specific options. The table below highlights the eligibility requirements for Ascent’s graduate loans:

RequirementDetail
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, DACA status, or international students with U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident cosigner
State of residenceAll 50 states
Minimum age18 in every state except Alabama and Nebraska (19), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21)
Enrolled schoolOne of 2,200+ eligible schools
Enrollment statusAt least half-time
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed

2 years of credit history for non-cosigned loans
Minimum Income$24,000 annually for cosigners and borrowers without cosigners

How does repayment work?

Ascent’s graduate student loans offer several repayment options, potentially lowering the overall cost of the loan for the borrower. You choose your plan upon loan approval, but options like prepayment without penalty and progressive repayment allow some flexibility.

Repayment term options range from seven to 20 years, depending on the graduate degree type. Ascent also offers three in-school repayment options: deferred, $25 minimum, and interest-only. The standard grace period is nine months for most loans, but it’s extended after graduation for certain degree-specific loans.

Your chosen repayment terms can affect the overall cost of the loan. Generally, the sooner you start repayments and the faster you repay the loan, the less interest will accrue, reducing the total cost of the loan.  For example, let’s consider a loan amount of $10,000 with a 6% interest rate.

Loan typeIn-school repayment optionMonthly payment while in schoolGrace period after graduationTotal repayment
LawDeferred$09 months $13,587
MBA$25 minimum$259 months$12,941
MedicalInterest-only$5036 months$12,002

This simplified table assumes “in-school” periods of four years for each of the degrees, plus the respective grace periods. These numbers are approximate and will vary based on the specifics of each individual’s situation.

Ascent’s career-training student loan

Why Ascent is best for soft credit check

Editorial rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Ascent is a top pick for career-training student loans due to its rapid prequalification process that incorporates a soft credit check. Prospective borrowers can promptly gauge their eligibility and potential interest rates without dropping their credit scores. 

This is appealing for those just starting to establish credit, as it helps to avoid unnecessary inquiries that might decrease their credit score.

Ascent’s commitment to catering to the needs of career-training students sets it apart. Recognizing that students in these programs often don’t follow the traditional four-year degree path, Ascent has designed a consumer loan product that understands and addresses their unique circumstances. 

Rates, terms, and fees

Ascent’s career-training loans offer standard repayment terms and in-school repayment plans. However, it does not publicly disclose its fixed and variable APRs. 

With a 5% origination fee, an Ascent career-training student loan may cost more than lenders that charge no fees. Borrowers can ease the burden by taking advantage of a 0.25% discount for setting up autopay. 

One standout feature is Ascent’s cosigner release, which you can activate after 12 making on-time consecutive principal and interest payments, along with meeting other credit requirements.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)Not disclosed
Variable rates (APR)Not disclosed
Rate discounts0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$2,000 – the total tuition for the professional training or certificate program plus potential living expense financing for eligible programs
In-school repayment plansDeferred, interest-only, principal and interest
Repayment terms60, 84, or 120 months
Grace period3 months
Repayment assistanceNot disclosed for career loans
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 consecutive, on-time full principal and interest payments and meeting other eligibility criteria
Fees5% origination fee
Unique featuresQuick application with soft credit check

Designed for the needs of career-training students

What are the eligibility requirements?

To qualify for a career-training student loan from Ascent, borrowers need to meet specific criteria. The eligibility requirements encompass residency status, age, enrollment, credit history, and income.

Even DACA recipients can access Ascent’s career-training loans, opening up opportunities for a broader group of students.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or DACA status

International students may apply with a cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
State of residenceAll 50 states
Minimum age18 or the age majority in your state of residence
Enrolled schoolMust attend eligible professional training and certification programs at select schools
Enrollment statusAt least half time
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed

Cannot have defaulted on any private or government student loan
Minimum income$24,000 (borrower on own or cosigner)

How does repayment work?

Borrowers of Ascent’s career-training loans can choose between three in-school repayment plans: deferred, interest-only, or principal and interest. This variety allows students to select a repayment option that best suits their financial circumstances while in school.

Repayment planDescription
DeferredPayments are postponed while you’re in school
Interest-onlyYou pay only the interest charges on your loan while you’re in school
Principal and interestYou make regular payments on both the principal and interest of the loan while you’re in school

Loan terms for these student loans range from five to 10 years. This spread of repayment terms offers flexibility, enabling borrowers to adjust their monthly payments to match their income. 

As with other loans, the longer the loan term, the lower the monthly payment but the higher the overall cost of the loan due to accrued interest.

How can Ascent improve its private student loan?

Ascent’s loan offerings provide valuable resources for many students, but there’s always room for improvement to increase competitiveness and offer better service to borrowers.

  • In-school repayment options: Unlike some competitors, such as Sallie Mae, Ascent only offers three in-school repayment options on most of its loans and does not include an option for full payments while in school for college loans. This potential enhancement could provide greater flexibility and the opportunity to lower the overall loan cost.
  • Income-based loan repayment: While it’s commendable that Ascent offers an outcomes-based loan option, expanding this feature to include more flexible repayment options could better serve borrowers with variable or uncertain income. Competitors including Edly have set the bar by offering income-based repayment plans, providing a possible model for Ascent to follow.
  • Interest rate disclosure for career loans: Transparency is a key factor for many borrowers. Competitors such as College Ave disclose their interest rates for career loans, setting an industry standard for openness. By doing the same, Ascent could give prospective borrowers a clearer picture of what to expect.

How have Ascent private student loans evolved over the years?

Over the years, Ascent has introduced new features and benefits, adapting its offerings to better meet the needs of its borrowers. Notable milestones include:

  • 2019—Progressive repayment option: In an innovative move, Ascent introduced the progressive repayment option. This option allows borrowers to start with lower monthly payments that increase over time, ensuring the loan is paid off within the original loan term.
  • 2021—Expanded access and discount opportunities: Recognizing the need for inclusivity, Ascent expanded its loan eligibility to include DACA students. It also began offering outcome-based loan borrowers the opportunity to prequalify and earn a 1.00% autopay discount, contributing to a more user-friendly experience.
  • 2023—Discharge process established: In a significant development, Ascent established a discharge process for new college loans originated on or after June 5, 2023. This process allows a borrower or cosigner to obtain a discharge without needing to demonstrate “undue hardship.” Discharge can occur after making 60 regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments or being in default for five years, and meeting other requirements.

Ascent’s ongoing evolution is a testament to its commitment to meeting the changing needs of its student borrowers.

How do Ascent private student loans compare to other lenders?

For a comprehensive view of how Ascent’s private student loans stack up against the competition, here is a comparison of Ascent, SoFi, Earnest, and Sallie Mae:

AscentSoFiEarnestSallie Mae
Our rating (out of 5)4.74.64.74.7
Best forBest for eligibilityBest for career serviceBest rate match guarantee

Best for skipping a payment

Best for no fees
Best for cosigners
Rates (APR)2.71%12.99%4.24%13.55%4.43%15.90%4.50%14.83%
Loan amount (per academic year)$1,000 – $200,000$5,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance$1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance$1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years5, 7, 10, or 15 years5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years10 – 15 years
Grace period9 months6 months9 months6 months
View RatesView RatesView RatesView Rates

Comparison of undergraduate student loans.

Is Ascent a reputable lender?

SourceCustomer ratingNumber of reviews
TrustpilotN/A0
Google4.9 out of 5195
Better Business Bureau1 out of 51

Collected on June 28, 2023.

Ascent doesn’t have any reviews on the consumer review platform Trustpilot. However, on Google, it has a stellar average rating of 4.9 out of 5 based on 195 reviews. Many customers praise the company for its scholarships, easy application process, and helpful customer service. 

On the flip side, Ascent’s rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site stands at one out of five based on just one review. The reviewer expressed concerns about a lack of transparency in loan terms. It’s worth noting that the BBB also records two closed complaints in the past three years. The details of these complaints aren’t published, so it’s hard to assess their significance.

While these reviews give a snapshot of customer experiences with Ascent, it’s important to approach them with a balanced view. High praise on Google suggests customer satisfaction, but the negative review and closed complaints on the BBB highlight the importance of carefully reading and understanding loan terms before committing.

Does Ascent have a customer service team?

Ascent has a 100% U.S.-based customer service team that is ready to assist you every step of the way with your loan process and beyond. Whether you have a question or need support, you can reach Ascent’s team through multiple channels:

  • Phone: Call at 877-216-0876 (toll-free) Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time
  • Email: Reach out to [email protected].
  • Online Account: Check your status anytime by logging in to your account at college.ascentfunding.com.

In addition, Ascent collaborates with Launch Servicing, which services all Ascent loans. This partnership aims to simplify the loan servicing process and make repayment as effortless as possible. Here’s how you can get in touch with Launch Servicing:

  • Phone: Dial 877-209-5297 toll-free from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central time.
  • Email: Write to [email protected].
  • Online Portal: Log in to the repayment portal.
  • Mobile App: Manage your account from anywhere using the AscentConnect mobile app. Available for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, you can log in using the same credentials as your Ascent account.

How to apply for an Ascent private student loan

Applying for an Ascent student loan is straightforward and user-friendly, with a clear, convenient step-by-step process. Ascent’s application process makes it seamless to secure educational funding. 

The steps to apply for a student loan with Ascent include:

1. Prequalification 

The first step allows you to check your rates without hurting your credit score. This involves providing information such as your name, address, date of birth, the school you’re attending, and employment details. 

If you’re applying with a cosigner, they will also need to input their information.

Ascent application screenshot

If you agree to the prequalified rates shown, you’ll complete your full application.

2. Select repayment

Upon the approval of your completed loan application, Ascent presents you with various repayment options. At this stage, you can select the loan terms that best align with your financial situation and repayment capacity.

3. Complete Ascent portal tasks

After choosing your loan terms, you’ll be directed to your Ascent portal, where you’ll find specific tasks to complete. These tasks may include a financial wellness quiz and providing additional information to finalize your loan.

4. Disbursement to your school

Once all tasks in the portal are completed, Ascent sends your loan for school certification. After certification, it disburses the funds to your school.

What if I’m denied a private student loan from Ascent?

You could be denied a student loan from Ascent for various reasons, such as insufficient credit history, a low credit score, or not meeting the income requirements. Depending on your situation, here’s what you can do:

  • If your denial is due to insufficient credit history or a low credit score, consider reapplying with a cosigner. Having a cosigner with a strong credit score can improve your chances of approval. We have also identified other lenders, such as Sallie Mae, that work well for cosigners.
  • If you’re a junior or senior, Ascent offers the outcomes-based loan. This loan doesn’t require a cosigner and factors in more than just your credit score. 
  • If the loan amount you require is higher than Ascent is willing to lend, consider SoFi or Earnest, which typically offer higher loan amounts.
  • Apply for scholarships. This can help reduce the total amount you need to borrow and open up more lending options.

Remember, many lenders are available in the market. It’s always worthwhile to shop around and find the best private student loan to suit your needs. 

How we rated Ascent student loans

We compared Ascent to 18 student loan lenders offering undergraduate, graduate, and career-training student loans. Its editorial rating for each student loan reflects how it compared to similar products.

We considered factors such as rates, repayment terms, fees, unique benefits, and more. In the end, these were our picks for Ascent:

  • Undergraduate student loan: Best for eligibility
  • Graduate student loan: Best for eligibility
  • No-cosigner student loan: Best graduation reward, best for variable rates, best grace period, best for deferred payments, best repayment terms
  • Career student loan: Best for a soft credit check

Ascent FAQ

Does Ascent offer private or federal student loans?

Ascent offers private student loans. Unlike federal student loans, which are issued by the government, these loans are offered by Ascent and come with unique terms and eligibility criteria.

Does applying with Ascent hurt my credit?

When you initially apply with Ascent to check your rates, it carries out a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit score. However, if you decide to move forward with the loan, Ascent will perform a hard credit inquiry, which could lower your score.

Does Ascent require a cosigner?

Ascent doesn’t require a cosigner but often recommends it for students with limited credit history or income. A cosigner can increase your chances of loan approval and might help secure a lower interest rate.

Does Ascent allow cosigners to be released?

Yes, Ascent allows you to apply for the release of cosigners from the loan after making 12 on-time principal and interest payments, meeting credit requirements, and enrolling in autopay.

What can Ascent student loans be used for?

You can use Ascent student loans to cover a range of educational expenses. This includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and other school-related costs.

How long does it take to receive funds from Ascent?

The timeline for disbursement can vary based on how long it takes your school to certify your loan. Ascent recommends contacting your school’s financial aid office to find out how long the certification process takes, as each school’s certification process may vary. 

Can Ascent student loans be forgiven?

Ascent does not offer any specific loan forgiveness programs. Unlike federal student loans, which may qualify for various loan forgiveness options, Ascent expects its borrowers to repay the full loan amount.

Borrowers and cosigners of Ascent loans originated on or after June 5, 2023, are eligible for discharge process that doesn’t require showing “undue hardship.” To do this, you must make 60 full payments or be in default for five years and meet various other conditions, including listing the loan in a bankruptcy petition and obtaining a court order granting discharge. 

Recap of our Ascent student loans review

Student loanBest forOur rating
Undergraduate loan (credit-based) Best for eligibility4.7View Rates
No cosigner (outcomes and credit based)Best for deferred repayment4.7View Rates
Graduate loanBest for eligibility4.8View Rates
Career loanBest for soft credit check4.3View Rates