Ascent Student Loans Reviews

This article gives you a brief overview of Ascent Student Loans. It provides thorough information on Ascent Cosigned and Non-Cosigned loans, as well as their interest rates, loan terms, and amount.

Updated by Sagar.C on 3rd July 2020

Ascent is a private lender offering student loans that can be approved without a co-signer and it also gives financial advice regarding education, to help students and their families. Ascent loans are made by Richland State Bank.

The loan structure is prepared in such a way that students should are not limited when it comes to pursuing higher education. Loans are provided on the basis of credit, school, cost of attendance, majors and other factors. Loans are serviced by Launch Servicing, LLC.

Content 

How to get a student loan with Ascent

Ascent firmly believes that applying and managing a student loan is not complicated and is committed to helping the borrowers every step of the way from your first application to your final payment. Here are the 4 easy steps:

  1. Complete your application

  2. Select your loan offer

  3. Upload your documents

  4. Get approved and certified, then proceed to get your money

The application is done online and the amount of time it takes for each application varies as your loan is sent to your school for certification/validation. Ascent student loans recommend reaching out to your school to find out how long their certification process takes as each school's certification process may vary.


Features of Ascent

The following are the features of Ascent which help the borrowers 

  • Flexible payment options - You can choose between an affordable fixed or variable rate, customize your repayment terms, and pay off your loan early without any penalty. Ascent’s Graduated Repayment option makes payments more affordable – choose to make lower payments at the beginning that gradually increase over time. Upon graduation, borrowers may be eligible for the Graduated Repayment option. The Graduated Repayment option requires monthly payment amounts that start with an amount that is less than a fully-amortized payment amount that step-up over time such that the loan would be fully paid within the original loan term.

  • Non-Co-signed Loan option – You have an option to be eligible for a loan without any credit history and if you do choose to take a loan with a co-signer you can apply for a co-signer release after 24 consecutive on-time payments. (Learn more)

  • Benefits that put you first – Ascent will take the initiative to cover up to 100% of your costs of attendance. Plus, you can get 1% Cash Back Reward upon graduation, and a 0.25% discount if you set up automatic payments.

  • Refer A Friend Program - Earn up to $525 for each friend you refer. (Learn more)

  • Over $60,000 in Scholarships - Ascent is giving away over $60,000 in scholarships this year, NO essay required. Click here to learn more and see official rules.

  • Soft credit check - Check your eligibility for a loan and get custom rates without impacting your credit history.

  • DACA Students - Those students who are not U.S citizens or permanent U.S residents or have a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status can apply for a student loan with a cosigner who is a U.S citizen or a permanent U.S resident. 

  • Bright Future Engine - Explore Ascent's Bright Future Engine tool to help bring transparency to making a decision for college by having an indept understanding of the options available and help them evaluate the return of their college investment.

  • Decreased Minimum loan amount - You can borrow a loan as low as $1,000. The maximum loan amount available for Ascent is limited to the total cost of attendance for a particular period and will not exceed one full academic year, less any other financial aid which is certified by your school.

  • Increased automatic payment discount - The discount offered to those who have enrolled for automatic payment has been increased from 0.25% to 2.00%

  • Revised Credit requirements - The credit requirements for an ascent student loan has been revised in order to serve a broader population of student. The minimum credit one might require in order to qualify is now 540, this score is subjected to change and can also depend on the credit score of your co-signer.

The maximum loan amount for Ascent loans are limited to the total cost of attendance for a period not to exceed one full academic year, less any financial aid, as certified by your school.

Apart from Ascent loan perks, it has some non-loan features to check out.

The Ascent Scholarships -Ascent provides scholarships over $50,000 for the students and in this, no essay is required. Ascent offer scholarship every month which help a student in great extend thus you can check about these offer on their online scholarship portal. 

The Bright Futures Engine-A lot of financial planning is required during the enrollment in a college revolves and to help students and their families, Ascent launched the new Bright Futures Engine in which they can estimate what the student is likely to earn in the first year after graduation–based on major and choice of school. With this, students can see their ROI estimates and make more informed financial decisions.


Online Loan Application

Now many of the private lenders are using online platforms as it becomes more convenient for both the parties lender and for the borrower. The online application is very straightforward as you can complete the application in a single sitting but their certain requirements which should be ready before starting to fill the application like-

1- ID proof (photo ID)

2-Social security number

3-School information

4-Estimated financial aid

5-Employment information

6-Proof of income

7-Contact details for one reference

A hard credit check is also necessary for application approval. However, if a student wants to see if he/she pre-qualify for any of the loan options, Ascent offers an eligibility check with a soft credit check that won’t impact their score.


Maximum & Minimum Borrowing Amount

 The maximum amount that you can borrow under the Ascent is primarily dependent upon the cost of attendance at the student’s choice of school. Generally, the maximum amount that students can be approved for is the total cost of attendance for one full academic year less any financial aid as certified by their college and the maximum aggregate loan amount that you can borrow per academic year is $200,000 for credit tested loans and $20,000 for non-credit tested loans but always remember to borrow that much you needed as extra borrowing can lead to you in a tough situation.

The smallest amount a student can borrow is 1000$. It is advisable to check for other financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and federal loans then only jump for private loans.


Ascent Co-signed Credit Based Loan

If you have a co-signer then this is the best loan offered to students. Why do students need a co-signer? The answer is simply because their credit history is not up to the mark or they don’t have a good credit history at all.

Ascent co-signers have a responsibility to make payments on behalf of the borrower if given the situation where the borrower could default. If you have made 24 consecutive and scheduled repayments on the full principal and interest amounts then you have the option to release your co-signer given you meet the other eligibility requirements to continue the loan with a co-signer.

The loan provided will cover tuition and eligible living expenses, the application is free of cost, there are no fees taken by Ascent for co-signed loans. Learn more about Ascent loan options.

Factors Figures
Fixed APR 3.84%- 14.50%
Variable APR 2.73% -13.01%
Repayment terms 5,10,15 year terms
Loan amounts $1,000 to $200,000.

Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs 

Rates are effective as of 07/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.  Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates 

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions.

Discounts available

There are two discounts available:

  • 1% Cash Back Reward which is a graduation reward based upon the satisfaction of certain terms and conditions

  • 2.00% interest rate reduction - you can avail this reduction if you enroll for automatic payments

Ascent Non-Cosigned Future-Income Based Loan

If you lack a sufficient credit history to qualify for a loan on your own you can still apply for an Ascent Student Loan without a co-signer this option is available for grad, junior and senior students.

Borrowers who have a limited history with no adverse credit items or they pass the minimum credit requirements but do not have an income or repayment requirements are still eligible for this loan.

Students who obtain a loan in their own name must : (as per the Ascent official website)

  • Be a college junior, senior or graduate student enrolled full-time (or with an expected graduation date within 9-months of the date the loan application is submitted) in a degree program at an eligible institution

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have U.S. permanent resident status

  • Have satisfactory academic performance of 2.5 GPA or greater and meeting their school’s SAP requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age or at the age of majority in the respective state of residence

It should be noted that your eligibility can also depend on the school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance, and other factors. Learn More About Ascent Loan Options.

Factors Figures
Fixed APR 3.84% - 14.50%
Variable APR 2.73% -13.01%
Repayment terms 5 and 10-year terms
Loan amounts $1,000 to $200,000

Discounts available

A 2.00% interest rate deduction is available for the payments that are made via automatic debit.

Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs 

Rates are effective as of 07/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.  Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates 

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions.


Worried about your college tuition? Find the best student loan for you


Deferment and Forbearance with Ascent

Request for deferment can be done either in writing or by completing and signing a deferment form along with providing the appropriate documentation requested on the form. Deferments after the school period are provided solely by the lender’s discretion.

It should be noted that the interest will continue to accrue during the periods of deferment and the unpaid interest will get capitalized.

Under Ascent student loans the following are the deferment and forbearance options:

  • Active Duty Military Deferment

  • In-School Deferment

  • Residency / Internship Deferment

  • Temporary Hardship Forbearance

  • Administrative Forbearance 

Active Duty Military deferment

To be eligible for this program the borrower must submit an application and the eligible documentation to the repayment servicer indicating that the borrower is currently serving on active duty during a war or a military operation or national emergency or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency.

It should be noted that this deferment is available for up to a cumulative limit of 36-months and this deferment will extend the repayment term.

In-school deferment

If the borrower has attained an In-School status either by separating from a school and subsequently entering a repayment status prior to re-establishing at least half-time enrollment at an eligible institution or by using the maximum allowable months of In-School Status, may be eligible for an In-School Deferment.

Eligibility is based upon verification of at least half-time enrollment at an eligible institution.

Residency/Internship Deferment

The borrower can be eligible if he/she has been accepted into a Residency / Internship program which must be a supervised program and hold at least a bachelor’s degree before acceptance into the program.

The program the borrower has been enrolled into must lead to a degree or certificate from an institution of higher education, a hospital, or a health facility that offers postgraduate training or Be required before the student may be certified for professional practice or service, which must be verified by the relevant state licensing agency.

Under this program, it should be noted that the borrowers are limited to a combined total of forty-eight (48) months of eligibility for In-School & Residency / Internship Deferment described above.

Temporary hardship forbearance

If the borrower is experiencing financial difficulty then he/she may be granted forbearance. The duration of the period for forbearance ranges from a minimum of one month to a maximum of 3 months.

A borrower may apply for up to four (4) consecutive periods of Temporary Hardship Forbearance. A maximum of twenty-four (24) total months of Temporary Hardship Forbearance may be granted during the life of the loan.

Unpaid interest is capitalized and forbearance does extend the repayment term.

Administrative forbearance

This program is used for temporary suspension of collection activity while researching borrower disputes, awaiting bankruptcy and death documents, or for other circumstances, as approved by the lender.

Interest will continue to accrue on the loans during the period of forbearance and the unpaid interest is capitalized when the forbearance period ends.


Repayment options with Ascent

Based on your eligibility you will be provided with repayment options, here are all the repayment options available to you:

  • Interest-only

  • $25 minimum payment

  • Deferred repayment

If you apply with a co-signer or without a co-signer and the student borrower has more than 2 years credit history minimum FICO 680  and have a minimum gross annual income of $24,000 then you have the following options available to you:

1. Interest-only - Here the borrower (when enrolled for at least half time at an eligible institution) will make at least the interest payments that accrue on the loan each month. Upon graduation, he/she will have to make the full principal and interest payments for the remaining term of the loan.

2. $25 minimum payment – Here, the borrower (when enrolled at least half time at an eligible institution) will have to make a monthly payment of at least $25. Upon graduation, the borrower will have to make full principal and interest payments for the remaining term of the loan.

3. Deferred repayment – This program allows the borrower to postpone the principal and interest payments on the loan while the student is at least half-time enrolled at an eligible institution for a period of up to sixty (60) months. Interest accrues during this In-School period and is capitalized upon entering repayment.

If you apply without a co-signer and do not meet the current income or credit requirements then you go ahead with the following repayment plan:

With this repayment option, the borrower (or the student) can postpone the principal and interest payment while still being at least half-time enrolled at an eligible institution for up to 60 months.

Interest will accrue during the in-school period and will get capitalized upon repayment. The repayment is initiated 6 months after the borrower (or the student) graduates. 

4. Graduated repayment option - After graduating or no longer being enrolled at least as a half time student, a borrower who has an Ascent loan that was submitted on or after May 17, 2019, can be eligible for the Graduated Repayment Option. With this option, a borrower will be required to make payments that start an amount which is less than a fully amortized payment amount which will increase over time wherein the loan would be fully paid within the original loan term.

In order to calculate the payment amounts to be made with this repayment option you can contact Launch Servicing, LLC after the loan has been disbursed.


Loan Management Tools

As part of the application process, a borrower has to complete an interactive financial literacy module.

This Financial Literacy module supports borrowers’ financial wellness and covers the basic information that borrowers should know when they are applying for student loans. The module will cover topics like the application process, how you will manage your loan, and the best repayment options for you. The program also offers valuable insights as it basically gives a tool to help in planning a solid financial future.

 After completing this financial literacy program will help you (and your cosigner, if applicable) make more informed and estimated borrowing choices with regards to customizing the loan term, choosing between fixed and variable rate loans, and also choosing the best repayment plan for you and will avoid a stressful situation in future.


Graduate Loan program with Ascent

If you are looking at student loans as a viable option to fund your graduate program, here are some loans you can consider. The  loans are segregated based on the Graduate degree you opt for - 

Business (MBA) Rates

Variable APR with ACH: 4.30% - 9.69%

Fixed APR with ACH: 5.54% - 10.78% 

Clinical (MD, DO, DVM, VMD, DPM) Rates

Variable APR with ACH: 4.11% - 9.94%

Fixed APR with ACH: 5.23% - 10.78% 

Dental (DMD, DDS)

Variable APR with ACH: 4.23% - 9.94%

Fixed APR with ACH: 5.42% - 10.78% 

Law (JD, LLM) Rates

Variable APR with ACH: 4.30% - 9.69%

Fixed APR with ACH: 5.54% - 10.78%

 

It should be noted that - 

  • Most extreme In-School time of three years (versus 60-months for student)

  • In-School time of four years for Medical and Dental course of study alternatives

  • Grace period of 12-months for Dental understudies and three years for Medical understudies

  • 9-months for all other course of study alternatives

  • There will be no 5-year term, however will include a 20-year variable rate term for Medical and Dental understudies

  • No Future Income-Based Loan qualification for Graduate understudies any longer


Review of Ascent Student Loans

Ascent distinguishes itself by providing both the traditional co-signer loan and also the loan option for borrowers without a co-signer which is aimed at borrowers who lack a credit history, co-signer or income.

The non-co-signed loan is available only to juniors, seniors and graduate students which is one of only a few available to borrowers with no credit, income or co-signer.

Here are the key features of Ascent

  • Liberal forbearance options ( as discussed earlier)

  • Offers multiple repayment options which the borrower can choose from as per his/her requirement

  • Borrowers who don’t have a credit history can also qualify for loans

Scope for improvement

  • They should work towards a way to offer a fixed interest rate below 10%

  • They should provide personalized  rate estimates 

Available substitutes 

Whenever you're considering getting a student loan you should always consider checking the other options. It will help you to check with different compatible interest rates. You should always consider options for free money such as scholarship options.

Fill and submit your Federal Student Aid Form to check the eligibility for grants. If you exhaust all the possible options then you should opt for a private lender.


Looking for more? Find Top 10 Private student loan lenders


The battle of thought on whether college is worth or not can go forever but for those who have overcome that battle and have decided to go ahead for college education, the next battle  Is to decide on how much to borrow and where to borrow.

It sounds daunting and some would go so far as to describe it as being scary but Ascent has made it clear that it is their mission to help tackle this made up the difficulty of borrowing and managing student loans. Although Ascent is one of the top credit union it has room to improve, be aware of the various options available to you so keep exploring.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.Who is Ascent funding, LLC?

    Ascent Funding, LLC is the loan processor that collects application information for underwriting and processing.

  • 2.Who is Richland State Bank?

    Loans are made by Richland State Bank, which is a member of FDIC.

  • 3.Who is Launch?

    Launch is a student loan servicing company. All loans got after May 17, 2019 have their servicer as Launch Servicing. 

  • 4.How do I contact Launch?

    You can contact Launch at 877-354-2629 Toll free or log into the repayment portal at www.launchservicing.com 

  • 5.Why can't I find my school on Ascent website?

    Ascent has a limited list of schools to which they can provide loans. If you do not find your school on the Ascent website you should contact your financial aid office for other financing options. 

  • 6.Can a student who is Non-US citizen apply?

    A student who has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status or is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.