Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Student Loans College Ave vs. Ascent: Student Loan Comparison Updated Jun 22, 2023   |   6-min read Written by Zina Kumok Written by Zina Kumok Expertise: Student loans, credit scores, personal loans, banking, education planning Zina Kumok is a personal finance writer dedicated to explaining complex financial topics so real people can understand them. As a former newspaper reporter, she has covered everything from murder trials to the Final Four. Learn more about Zina Kumok Private student loans are an important funding option for students who have maxed out their federal student loans and other forms of financial aid. But with so many private student loan options, it’s important to shop around to find the right lender. That’s why we’re comparing lenders head-to-head, so you can see how some of the most popular lenders stack up against one another. In this article, we’ll look at College Ave and Ascent to determine who has the best rates, terms, and eligibility criteria for each type of borrower. 4.8 View Rates 4.7 View Rates Rates (APR) 4.44% – 15.99% 4.48% – 15.63% Rates (APR) Rates (APR) 4.44% – 15.99% 4.48% – 15.63% Loan amounts $1,000 – 100% of certified costs $2,001 – $200,000 Loan amounts Loan amounts $1,000 – 100% of certified costs $2,001 – $200,000 Repayment terms 5, 8, 10, or 15 years 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years Repayment terms Repayment terms 5, 8, 10, or 15 years 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years See the best student loans. In this comparison: Does College Ave or Ascent have better reviews and ratings?Is a student loan from College Ave or Ascent more accessible?Scenarios in which College Ave or Ascent is better than the otherWhich company is our choice between College Ave and Ascent? Ascent offers three types of loans: cosigned credit-based student loans, non-cosigned credit-based student loans, and non-cosigned outcome-based student loans. Interest rates for cosigned loans are lower than both types of non-cosigned loans. College Ave offers undergraduate student loans and almost always requires a cosigner. Both Ascent and College Ave offer a wide range of repayment terms. They also both offer fixed and variable-rate loans. Does College Ave or Ascent have better customer reviews and ratings? When taking out a student loan, most people compare lenders by looking at their interest rates, repayment terms, and other features. But many fail to consider the customer service experience. Currently, College Ave and Ascent don’t have a large number of reviews online. Ascent has a 3.7 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot with just four reviews. College Ave has a 2.6 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot with 59 reviews. Is a student loan from College Ave or Ascent more accessible? When you apply for a student loan, there are several criteria you must meet to be approved. The two most important factors are income and credit score. Your income shows your ability to repay the loan, and your credit score shows whether or not you have a history of paying back loans on time and in full. Since most eligibility requirements are too difficult for a student to qualify for on their own, most need to add a cosigner to their loan. However, Ascent is one of a few companies that does not require students to have a cosigner. Eligibility CriteriaCollege AveAscentCredit scoreMid 600s540IncomeNot disclosedAt least $24,000CosignerRequired, if student doesn’t meet credit and income requirementsA cosigner is not requiredCitizenshipUS citizen or permanent resident or a cosigner who isAll types of citizenship status are eligibleAttendanceAny level as long as student is making satisfactory academic progressAt least part-time Scenarios in which College Ave or Ascent is better than the other Choosing a private student lender can be a complicated decision, with so many factors to consider beyond interest rates and repayment terms. Read below to see specific situations where one lender is better than the other: If you’re a DACA studentIf you need a long forbearance periodIf you don’t have a cosignerIf you want low interest rates If you’re a DACA student: Ascent DACA students find it much harder to qualify for both federal and private student loans, but Ascent offers private loans for DACA recipients. If the DACA recipient has a good credit score, they may qualify for a student loan on their own. If they don’t have a good credit score, they will need to add a cosigner to the loan. Ascent does not offer cosigner release to DACA students, which means DACA recipients will have to refinance the loan to remove the cosigner. This is similar to other lenders that approve DACA recipients for student loans. If you need a long forbearance period: Ascent When you’re having trouble making your student loan payments, you can apply for a loan forbearance program. You won’t have to make monthly payments during this time, but interest will still accrue on the loan. Most private lenders offer short forbearance programs. College Ave offers 12 months, but Ascent offers 24 total months which is much longer than almost any other private lender. If you plan on working in a volatile industry or want to start your own business, choosing Ascent as your student loan company may provide more of a buffer. If you don’t have a cosigner: Ascent Borrowers who don’t have a cosigner will only be eligible for a loan through Ascent. Students who already have a solid credit history may be eligible for Ascent’s credit-based non-cosigned loans. If you don’t have a credit score, you may only qualify for the outcome-based non-cosigned loan, which has a higher interest rate than the credit-based non-cosigned loan. To determine eligibility for the outcomes-based student loan, Ascent will look at a borrower’s major, the cost of attendance, graduation date, and other factors. Students must also be enrolled full-time and have a 2.9 GPA or higher to qualify without a cosigner. Only juniors and seniors will qualify for a non co-signed loan from Ascent. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, you’ll have to find other funding options. If you want low interest rates: College Ave College Ave offers much lower interest rates than Ascent, even if you do have a cosigner on your student loans. Fixed interest rates for College Ave start at 2.99% APR, and variable interest rates start at 0.94% APR. Fixed interest rates for Ascent start at 3.97% APR, and variable interest rates start at 1.47% APR. That interest rate difference can really add up over time. For example, let’s say you have a $50,000 student loan from College Ave with a 3% interest rate and a 10-year term. You’ll pay $7,936 in total interest over the life of the loan. But if you had a $50,000 loan from Ascent with a 4% interest rate and a 10-year term, you would end up paying $10,748 in total interest over the life of the loan. That’s a difference of $2,812. If your main goal is to save money, then choose a loan with College Ave. Which company is our choice between College Ave and Ascent? College Ave is our choice for most borrowers because its lowest available rates are lower than Ascent’s and it offers a variety of repayment plans. Also, most borrowers will find it easier to receive loans for future semesters because of College Ave’s Multi-Year Peace of Mind™ policy. However, if you are a DACA recipient or don’t have a cosigner, then Ascent will be your best option for a student loan.