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Ascent

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1 User Review
LAST UPDATED: November 24th, 2020

Ascent is centered on its guiding principle that student loans should expand opportunities, not limit them. With this core belief, Ascent developed a student loan program that offers students more opportunities to qualify for a loan with or without a cosigner. In addition to providing more student loan options, Ascent is committed to promoting financial wellness by incorporating free financial education resources, incentives, and partnerships. This commitment is also evident through its proprietary Bright Futures Engine that provides transparency in deciding a college through evaluating the return on a student’s college investment. 

Ascent is recognized as a leading private student loan program for cosigned and non-cosigned loans through the following awards:

  • Forbes Advisor Best Private Student Loans 2020
  • Dollar Geek Best Private Student Loan Lender 2020
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The Good

  • Simple Application Process
  • Flexible Payment Options
  • Cosigner Release
  • Non-U.S. Citizens May Apply
  • Incentives for Borrowers
  • Student Resources from Partner Companies
  • Offers Graduate Loans

Simple Application Process

The application process to apply for a student loan through Ascent requires only four simple steps. Borrowers first can check pre-qualified rates without negatively impacting their credit score. Then after customizing the loan and uploading documents, borrowers will receive the money if the loan is approved and certified. There are no application or origination fees.

Flexible Payment Options

Ascent offers flexible repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years. However fixed rate loans only have the options of 5, 7, 10, or 12 years. Borrowers can also choose to make $25 minimum payments, make in-school interest-only repayments, or defer payments up to nine months after leaving school. Ascent does not charge fees for prepaying a loan off early. Ascent provides repayment examples on its site to assist borrowers in weighing their options through evaluating hypothetical monthly and total costs.

Cosigner Release

Ascent offers a cosigner release. Borrowers can apply to release the cosigner after making the first 24 consecutive, regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meet eligibility criteria for the loan without a cosigner. The cosigner release option is only available to U.S. citizens or students that have U.S. permanent status; it is not available to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. 

Non-U.S. Citizens May Apply

Accessing private student loans may be difficult for students that are not U.S. citizens as some private student loan companies only lend to U.S. citizens. Ascent allows students with U.S. permanent resident, temporary resident, and DACA status to apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. resident or permanent U.S. resident. Applicants should note that the cosigner release option is only available for U.S. residents or permanent U.S. residents.

Incentives for Borrowers

What sets Ascent apart from other private student loan providers is that it offers many incentives for its borrowers. These incentives include:

  • Automatic payment discount — Ascent loan borrowers qualify for either a 0.25% (for credit based loans) or 2.00% (for undergraduate future income based loans) interest rate reduction if payments are made by automatic payment. 
  • 1% cash back graduation reward — Ascent offers a 1% cash back graduation reward. This reward is subject to terms and conditions that can be found on its website.  
  • Refer a friend — Borrowers can earn up to $525 for each friend referred. The referring entrant earns money if a friend applies and is approved. If the loan is accepted and funded, the referring entrant earns $500 and the referred friend receives $100.
  • Scholarship giveaways on Instagram — Ascent awards a $1,000 scholarship on Instagram each month. The application is only three simple steps and no essay is required.

Student Resources from Partner Companies

In addition to incentives for its borrowers, Ascent partners with innovative companies that help students achieve financial wellness and a healthy well-being while attending college. These partnerships include:

  • Ascent rewards program — Ascent rewards program is a cash back program that helps students earn money from shopping at their favorite participating stores and restaurants. The money earned is then automatically directed toward bills, savings, or charitable donations—using the earnings for what matters most.
  • Avibra — Avibra is a free mobile app that provides content to improve well-being as well as no cost life insurance for students. 
  • ChangEd — ChangEd securely links to a student’s debit or credit cards, then rounds the purchase to the next dollar and sends the extra change to the loan servicer.
  • Chipper — Chipper is a loan management app that, similar to ChangEd, rounds purchases to the next dollar and applies the extra change to the highest loan amount each week.
  • Embark — Embark is an online application and admissions software to schools, universities, colleges, and fellowship programs around the world. It also launched CollegeCents to help students access federal financial aid.
  • Jobspeaker — Jobspeaker is an online collaboration platform connecting students, job seekers, college career services, and employers to bridge the gap between education and employment. 

Offers Graduate Loans

Ascent not only offers private student loans for undergraduate studies, it also provides loans for graduate school including MBA, Medical, Dental, Law, General, and PHD programs. Graduate loans can help students cover up to 100% of their tuition and eligible living expenses. Graduate loans include:

  • Variable or fixed loan options
  • No application, origination, or disbursement fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Flexible repayment plans
  • Extended 36 month in-school period
  • Payment postponement up to 9 months after graduation

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The Bad

  • Late Fee Undisclosed
  • Non-Cosigned Loans Restricted to Juniors and Seniors

Late Fee Undisclosed

It is unclear if Ascent charges a fee for late payments as it is undisclosed on its site. Prospective borrowers will need to reach out to customer service and ask for information on late fees before applying.

Non-Cosigned Loans Restricted to Juniors and Seniors

The non-cosigned loans are restricted to juniors and seniors that meet Ascent’s eligibility criteria. Freshmen and sophomores will need a cosigner to receive a student loan through Ascent. 

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The Bottom Line

Ascent is unique in comparison to other student loan companies in that it offers both cosigned and non-cosigned loan options, flexible payment options, and allows loans that cover the full cost of tuition. The company also prioritizes financial well-being and offers many borrower incentives, educational resources, and beneficial partnerships with other companies. Additionally, Ascent doesn’t charge application, origination, or prepayment fees and offers low fixed and variable APR rates.

While seniors and juniors that meet the eligibility criteria can qualify for non-cosigned loans, freshmen and sophomores will need to find a co-signer before applying. Borrowers can apply for a cosigner release after 24 consecutive payments. Late fee information was not disclosed on Ascent’s site. We recommend asking customer service for late fee information before applying.

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Ted Johnson Pleasant Grove, UT

I had an Ascent loan for my education and it worked perfectly for what I needed at the time. I was able to pay if off at a great interest rate and I was also able to change my payment when I needed to and they were great to acommodate a change.

1 year ago

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