Ascent Student Loans Review

Written by Jonathan O'Donnell. Last updated July 2018.

What are the benefits of an Ascent student loan?

If you're in the market for a student loan, Ascent has three unique benefits that you should pay attention to:

  1. Cash back9 incentives for graduates; 
  2. No-cosigner student loan options for juniors, seniors and graduate students; and
  3. Deferment and forbearance plans, which can be hard to come by with private lenders.

Ascent offers a 1% cash back9 graduation reward if you meet certain qualifying criteria. This is a very unusual benefit among student loan lenders. Depending how much you borrow, your reward could be enough to cover your first monthly payment ... or to buy a new outfit to wear on job interviews.

In keeping with its philosophy of expanding possibilities, Ascent offers student borrowers more opportunities to qualify for a loan in their own name.

Yes, you read that right. Ascent offers non-cosigned loans for juniors, seniors, and graduate students. (We'll talk more about this in a minute.) And if you do need a cosigner, Ascent gives you the option of releasing them after making the first 24 consecutive and on-time, full principal and interest payments.10 

Ascent offers multiple forbearance and deferment plans. Ascent has several to choose from that cover the top reasons you might need to hold off on repayments. Usually, this type of benefit is only found in federal loans.

Additionally, student loans from Ascent feature some of the lowest starting APRs in the student loan space, with rates as low as 3.83%1 (as of July 1, 2018).

Plus, Ascent offers multiple options for repayment ranging from five to 15-years. There are also three in-school repayment options for Ascent Tuition including full-principal plus interest payments, interest-only payments, and flat payments of amounts as low as $25 per month.3

You can also opt for the deferred repayment option, which allows you to start payments six months after leaving school. 

Why Get a Student Loan from Ascent?

Ascent was engineered by Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (GS2) — an administrator and developer of student loan programs for more than a decade — and loans are currently funded by Richland State Bank.
They are committed to providing students with more opportunities to fund their education with loans in their own name.

Ascent Student Loans seeks to put the money in the hands of the people who need it the most: the students.

In addition to private loans, Ascent offers a $5,000 scholarship. And the best part: there is no essay is required. All you have to do is take a short survey (which takes about 10 minutes) to enter for a chance to win.

Ascent encourages transparency and financial wellness by incorporating financial literacy into the application process. This program covers the basics about your student loan from the application through repayment. It also gives tips and tools to help you plan for your financial future.

Learn More
Rates (APR) 3.83%-12.11%1
Loan Types Variable & Fixed
Terms 5-15 years
Degrees Undergrad & Graduate
Loans Student & Parent
Start Your Private Student Loan Application

What types of student loans does Ascent offer?

Ascent offers two student loans for undergraduate and graduate students: Ascent Tuition (cosigned) and Ascent Independent (non-cosigned).

Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $200,000, which is the aggregate maximum that can be borrowed. You can use the funds to cover up to 100% of your tuition and eligible living expenses.

If you have little to no credit history and need a creditworthy cosigner to help you qualify for a private loan, the Ascent Tuition student loan is best suited for you.

Ascent Independent is one of the few private student loans available that bases eligibility on your future earning potential, satisfactory academic progress, credit history, and other factors. Ascent Independent is for juniors, seniors, and graduate students who don’t have a cosigner and want to qualify for the loan in their own name.

Start Your Private Student Loan Application

What are the eligibility requirements for Ascent student loans?

Ascent considers several factors for eligibility, such as creditworthiness, school, and cost of attendance. Both loan types require you to be at least 18 years or older.

To qualify for the Ascent Tuition loan, you must:

  • Be enrolled half-time or accepted for half-time enrollment in a degree program at an eligible institution.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or has U.S. permanent resident status.

Additionally, the cosigner must meet specific creditworthy requirements, including a minimum gross income of $24,000.

To be eligible for the Ascent Independent loan, you must:

  • Be enrolled full-time or accepted for full-time enrollment
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have U.S. permanent resident status.
  • Be a student in good standing with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.50 from the institution for which the loan is being used to finance eligible education expenses.

  Cosigner Release
Loan Limits  
Yes Cosigner minimum
$2,000 Min
$200,000 Max

What are the rates and fees for an Ascent student loan?

You can select from variable or fixed interest rates. As of July 1, 2018, variable interest rates on the Ascent Tuition loan range from 3.83% - 10.58% and fixed interest rates are 5.56% - 12.11%.1

The Ascent Independent student loan does not require a cosigner so it has a higher interest rate than the Ascent Tuition loan. Variable interest rates range from 5.50% – 12.78% and fixed interest rates are 7.07% - 13.74%.1

Note: All rates stated in this article include the 0.25% auto-pay discount.

There are no early repayment, application, origination, or disbursement fees.

The Ascent Tuition loan offers multiple repayment terms including a five-year, 10-year, and 15-year repayment plan.

It also comes with three repayment options including:

  1. An interest-only option while in school
  2. A $25 minimum monthly payment while in school, and
  3. A deferment option that allows you to postpone principal and interest payments for a period up to 60 months while enrolled in school at least half-time. 

The Ascent Independent loan comes with a 10-year or 15-year repayment term. But unlike the Ascent Tuition loan, the Independent is only offered with a deferred repayment option during the in-school period.

If you choose a fixed-interest rate for either loan, the 15-year repayment plan is not an option.

Ascent also offers multiple forbearance and deferment plans including active duty military deferment, in-school deferment, residency/internship deferment, temporary hardship forbearance, and administrative forbearance.

Does Ascent offer discounts for student loans?

Yes, Ascent offers a 0.25% reduction in your interest rate if payments are made by automatic debit.

Learn More
Variable Rate (APR) 3.83% - 10.58%1
Fixed Rates (APR) 5.56% - 12.11%1
Application Fee $0
Origination Fee $0
Disbursement Fee $0
Pre-Payment Fee $0
Auto Payment Discount  (0.25%)
Start Your Private Student Loan Application

What is the application process for a student loan from Ascent?

You can check your eligibility status online in less than a minute. If your school is on their approved list, you will be invited to apply. Click here to check your eligibility.

To apply, you will need:

  • Your social security number
  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • School information
  • Estimated financial aid
  • Employment information
  • Proof of income
  • Contact info for one reference.

A hard credit check is also required.

During the application process, you will complete a financial literacy module. This is designed to help you and your cosigner make informed borrowing choices. Once the module is complete, you can decide on a fixed or variable-rate loan and customize the term length and repayment plan.

Should you apply for a student loan from Ascent?

Ascent offers some pretty impressive perks, such as competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options. But it's their no-cosigner loan, essay-free $5,000 scholarship, and 1% cash back9 after graduation reward that proves just how much Ascent is shaking up the student loan market. Terms and conditions do apply.

Start Your Private Student Loan Application

Ascent Terms & Conditions

Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. All loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Other terms and conditions apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management, LLC. (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

1 Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval. Rates are effective as of 07/01/2018 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account.

Ascent Tuition (Cosigned): Variable rate loans are based on a margin between 2.00% and 9.50% plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 2.084%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an Annual Percentage (APR) range between 3.83% and 10.58%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 5.56% and 12.11% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Click here for Ascent Tuition cosigned loan current rates and repayment examples.

Ascent Independent (Non-Cosigned): Variable rate loans are based on a margin between 4.00% and 10.75% plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 2.084%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 5.50% and 12.78%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 7.07% and 13.74%. Click here for Ascent Independent non-cosigned loan current rates and repayment examples.

2 Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.

3 Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. Ascent Tuition offers three (3) flexible repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and a minimum repayment. Ascent Independent offers a fully deferred repayment option and does not charge prepayment penalties.

4Flexible repayment plans may be offered with up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Minimum loan amount of $2,000. Ascent Tuition borrowers who choose a fixed rate option may ONLY select a loan term of five (5) or ten (10) years (60 or 120 months, respectively). For certain loans with low balances the minimum monthly payment amount may cause the loan amortization schedule to be less than the selected term.

5Interest rate reduction of 0.25% for enrollment in automatic debit applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner signs up for automatic payments and the regularly scheduled, current amount due (including full, flat, or interest only payments, as applicable) is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of In-School, Deferment, Grace or Forbearance. If you have two (2) returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the 0.25% interest rate reduction. You will then need to requalify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments in order to receive the 0.25% interest rate reduction.

6All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.

7Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on a number of factors which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution. Ascent Tuition is available for students enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school while Ascent Independent is available to Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students enrolled full-time at an eligible school with a satisfactory academic performance of 2.5 GPA or greater.

8The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.

91% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, click here for details.

10Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

Advertiser Disclosures:

Nitro College is not a lender and makes no representations or warranties about your eligibility for a particular loan or financial aid. The rates and terms listed for each lender are estimates and will change depending on your credit profile and other information you provide to lenders. Lenders are solely responsible for any and all credit decisions, loan approval and rates, terms and other costs of the loan offered and may vary based upon the lender you select. Nitro College receives compensation from lenders that appear on this site.