Ascent Review

Sarah BadaniBySarah BadaniAug. 22, 2019

In a Nutshell

Ascent student loans offers fixed and variable rate loans for students in undergraduate or postgraduate education. You can borrow up to $200,000, apply with or without a cosigner, and take advantage of flexible repayment conditions. If you’re applying alone with a short credit history, there are no minimum credit score or income requirements. You can also enjoy a 0.25% discount when you set up autopay, and a 1% cashback graduation award.

pros

  • 1% cashback graduation award
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • 0.25% discount when paying with autopay

cons

  • No clear information about application fees
  • Can only borrow enough for one year of study

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Ascent at a Glance

Loan types: Fixed rate, variable rate, undergrad, postgrad

Loan amount: $2,000-$200,000, or total attendance costs for up to 1 year

Repayment terms: 5-15 years. Up to 60 months grace period while enrolled in full or half-time education before beginning full repayments

APR from: 4.19%

Minimum credit score: 600 when applying with a cosigner; if applying alone with 2+ years of credit history, minimum score is 680. If applying alone without 2+ years of credit history, there is no minimum credit score.

Fees (including prepayment fees): None specified

Overview

Ascent student loans offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate loans to students, with flexible terms of up to 15 years and APRs that start from 4.19%. You can apply for an Ascent student loan with or without a cosigner, and request deferment or forbearance under certain circumstances. Ascent is owned by Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (GS2), which has won assorted awards and is based in San Diego.

Best For?

Ascent student loans are best for new students. The flexible loan terms, including deferment and forbearance options, make it a good choice for anyone who isn’t sure how long it will take before they enter paid employment, or are thinking of entering a medical track or joining the military. The option to apply with a cosigner, and no minimum income or credit score requirements for some sole borrowers, make it ideal for borrowers without many financial resources.

Loan Features

Ascent’s biggest feature is the flexibility it offers when applying for a student loan. You can apply with or without a cosigner, and students can get a loan even without a cosigner or a minimum number of years of credit history. If you begin with a cosigner, you could release them later on if you make 24 consecutive full payments and meet other eligibility criteria.

Ascent has a number of options for deferment, forbearance, and flexible payments while you’re working in education, serving in the military, or taking a medical residency or internship. The grace period before making full payments can be as long as 60 months.

You can also choose a loan term up to 15 years, fixed or variable rate payments, and gain an extra reduction of 0.25% on your rates if you pay with auto-pay.

  • Apply with or without a cosigner
  • No minimum credit score or income, under certain conditions
  • Multiple flexible options for forbearance and deferment
  • Flexible loan terms up to 15 years
  • Up to a 60-month grace period before beginning full repayments
  • No prepayment penalties
  • 0.25% discount when you pay with auto-pay
  • 1% Cash-Back Graduation Reward

The Application Process

Applying for an Ascent student loan is done online. You’ll need to check that your prospective school is on the Ascent list of eligible institutions, then create a secure account to continue with the application.

  • Share relevant information about your/your cosigner’s income, credit history, and credit score
  • After getting preliminary approval, upload documentation to the Ascent application platform
  • Wait 1-2 business days for Ascent to review your documents
  • Your loan application is sent to your school for validation

As part of the application process, all borrowers, including the cosigner, need to take a short online financial literacy course.

Eligibility Requirements

To get an Ascent student loan with a cosigner, you’ll need a credit score of at least FICO 600. Your cosigner needs a FICO score of at least 660, minimum gross annual income of $24,000, and favorable DTI ratio.

If you’re applying without a cosigner, you need:

  • No delinquencies of 60 or more days over the past 24 months.
  • If you have 2 or more years of credit history, then your credit score must be at least FICO 680
  • If you have 2+ years of credit history and no cosigner, you’ll need a minimum gross annual income of $24,000, and a favorable DTI ratio

It is possible to apply for an Ascent student loan without a cosigner and also without 2 or more years of credit history. If you’re in that position, you’ll just be evaluated based on your current school, program, major, and other criteria unrelated to income or credit score.

In every case, application requirements include:

  • Full or half time enrollment in an eligible institution
  • Age 18 or older
  • No defaults on any loan in the last 5 years
  • No reported bankruptcies in the last 5 years
  • No unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, liens, foreclosure, etc. by creditors
  • No settled or unsettled non-medical charge-offs or collection accounts over $100, or medical charge-offs or collection accounts of over $500 in total

Loan Rates

Ascent offers both variable and fixed-rate student loans. At the moment, variable rate loans have an interest rate of 4.19% APR. Fixed rate loans start from 4.89%, depending on your credit rating. When you pay through automatic debit payments, you’ll get a 0.25% discount on your interest rate.

Your credit score affects your interest rates, but you’ll need to apply to find out your exact loan terms.

Repayment Terms

The standard student loan term for Ascent loans is up to 10 years for a fixed-rate loan or up to 15 years for a variable rate loan.

Ascent has flexible repayment options, including:

  • Interest-only repayments while the borrower is enrolled in an eligible institution for at least half-time, for up to 60 months.
  • $25 minimum payments, also while enrolled in an eligible institution for at least half-time.
  • Deferred repayments while on active military duty (for up to 36 months), or on a medical residency or internship (for up to 48 months), or if you've exceeded your allowance for interest-only payments, but you're still enrolled in an eligible institution for at least half-time.
  • Forbearance, if the borrower is going through financial difficulties. Forbearance lasts for between 1 to 3 months, and you can apply for forbearance up to 4 times in a row, and for a maximum of 24 months of forbearance across the lifetime of the loan.

How Safe Is It?

Ascent uses a secure website to process your information and has a transparent privacy policy that details how it collects and shares your private information.

Customer Service

Ascent student loans has a useful and comprehensive set of FAQs which serve as your first port of call for troubleshooting. If you need individual help, you can get in touch with a customer support representative through email, over the phone, or using the online web form. Customer support is manned from 7am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

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How Ascent Compares


Ascent
College Ave
MEFA
APR
4.19%
3.70%
3.95%
Minimum credit score
No minimum under certain circumstances
680
Not specified
Loan amounts
$2,000-$200,000
$5,000-$250,000
$1,500 - total cost of attendance for 1 year
Accepts cosigners
Yes
Yes
Yes
Best for
New students
Graduates who need to consolidate their student debt
Undergrad, postgrads, and graduates who want to consolidate their student debt

Summary

Overall, Ascent offers student loans with very flexible repayment terms and application requirements. It’s a good choice for students who want to apply with or without a cosigner, and who only need the funds for part of their studies. It's easy to apply to Ascent, and you can do it entirely online. Finally, Ascent's 0.25% discount for autopay users and 1% graduation cashback discount make it even more appealing.

Sarah BadaniBySarah BadaniSep. 16, 2019
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.
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