Ascent private student loans review May 2019 |

Ascent private student loans review

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Ascent Student Loans

Get the repayment flexibility you need to explore your career options in college.

Looking for a private student loan with flexible repayment programs? Ascent could be for you. Unlike many federal student loans, Ascent has multiple deferment and in-school repayment plans, allowing you some wiggle room when you’re figuring out your career.
Product NameAscent Student Loans
Minimum Loan Amount$2,000
Maximum Loan Amount$200,000
APR4.23% to 13.23%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
  • Annual income of $24,000+ (or applying with a cosigner)
  • Strong credit (or applying with a cosigner)
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Attend an eligible school at least half-time

First, am I eligible?

Ascent has different eligibility requirements depending on the type of loan you’re applying for:

Ascent Tuition

To qualify, you or your cosigner need to meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled at least half time at eligible school
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Annual income of at least $24,000
  • Employed for at least two years
  • Meet a monthly debt-to-income ratio

Ascent Independent

To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Junior, senior or graduate student
  • Enrolled full time at eligible school
  • 2.5 GPA or greater
  • Credit score between 680 and 850
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Age of majority in your state

    Ascent doesn’t have a master list of eligible schools, but you can find out if your school is eligible by visiting the Ascent website and clicking Check Eligibility. If you can’t find your school, reach out to Ascent by emailing to see if yours might qualify.

    How do Ascent student loans work?

    Ascent is a private student loan provider designed by Goal Structured Solutions (GS2) to help students cover tuition and living costs after they’ve reached their federal loan limits. It has two main options that both graduate and undergraduate students can use to pay for school: Ascent Tuition and Ascent Independent.

    Ascent Tuition

    • For borrowing with a cosigner
    • Lower interest rates than Ascent Independent
    • Best for freshmen and sophomores

    Ascent Independent

    It also offers Ascent Assured loans for domestic and international students. This program doesn’t require a cosigner or credit score because it is a shared-risk program between the lender and the school. Your school determines interest rates and fees.

    How much does an Ascent student loan cost?

    Ascent doesn’t charge any origination, application, disbursement or prepayment fees on its loans, so the main cost you need to worry about is interest. Here’s how it breaks down:

    Ascent Tuition

    • Fixed APRs: 5.08% to 14.15% with autopay
    • Variable APRs: 4.23% to 13.24% with autopay
    • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years

    Ascent Independent

    • Fixed APRs: 6.69% to 13.45% with autopay
    • Variable APRs: 5.88% to 13.16% with autopay
    • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years
    Variable rates for both the Ascent Tuition and Independent loans are based on the one-month LIBOR rate.

    What are my repayment options?

    When it comes to starting repayment, you can choose from one of these in-school options:

    • Deferred repayments. Hold off on repayments until six months after you leave school. Interest will continue to accumulate.
    • In-school interest-only repayments. Make payments on your interest while you’re still in school to stop it from adding up.
    • $25 minimum payments. Pay a fixed monthly payment of at least $25 while you’re still enrolled.

    What are my deferment and forbearance options?

    When it comes to how you pay off your loans long-term, Ascent only offers a standard repayment plan with fixed monthly repayments. However, if you need to reduce or put your loans on hold, you can apply for one of the following deferment or forbearance options:

    • Active-duty military deferment. Ascent temporarily lets service members off the hook for repayments while they’re on active military duty for up to a total of 36 months.
    • In-school deferment. Pause repayments for up to a total of 24 months if you decide to go back to school. Applying for this type of deferment extends your loan repayment term.
    • Residency or internship deferment. Not making that much money while building your career with a residency or internship? Apply to hold off on payments for up to 24 months until you enter the workforce as a full-fledged employee. Your loan term will also be extended by the amount of time deferred.
    • Temporary hardship deferment. If money’s too tight for you to afford your repayments, put it on pause for one to three months at a time — up to a total of 24 months over the life of your loan. Your repayment term remains the same if you choose this type of forbearance.

    Keep in mind that Ascent’s loans capitalize — or add the accumulated interest to your loan’s principal balance — after deferment, minimal in-school repayments or forbearance. Choosing any of these options can help you save on your immediate costs, but they can make your loan more expensive in the long run.

    More private student loans to consider

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    Varies by lender (typically, total certified costs of education minus financial aid already received)
    Starting at 4.2% with autopay
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    4.51% to 9.26%
    Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
    3.2% to 7.25%
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    Good to excellent credit
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    Top 5 reasons to consider Ascent student loans

    • Multiple forbearance options. Ascent comes with forbearance options that cover the main reasons someone would need to hold off on repayments. Ascet forbearance periods are twice as long as some other lenders, which are often capped at 12 months total.
    • Wide range of loan amounts. You can borrow between $2,000 to $200,000 through an Ascent private student loan.
    • Multiple in-school repayment options. Ascent’s starting repayment options beat out what you’d get with an unsubsidized student loan thanks to its fixed $25 in-school repayment choice.
    • Cosigner release. You can apply to take your cosigner off your loan once you’ve made 24 on-time full repayments in a row and meet the minimum eligibility requirements.
    • Cashback reward for graduating. Ascent offers a 1% cashback reward after graduation based on your original principal loan balance to qualifying borrowers.

    Why you might want to look elsewhere

    • No income-based repayment plan. If you’re not expecting to make enough money to cover your loan repayments during the first few years of your career, you can’t pick from an income-based or graduated repayment plan.
    • Higher starting fixed rates without cosigner. If you aren’t interested in borrowing with a cosigner and don’t want to risk a variable rate, you might not be able to find the best deal with Ascent.
    • Relatively short loan terms available. Ascent doesn’t have a 20-year option. This means you may be stuck making high monthly repayments while you’re still looking for a solid job.

    What do borrowers say about Ascent?

    Though Ascent has been around since 2016, it doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot page. GS2 has a BBB page, however, which gets an A+ rating, although it’s not accredited and doesn’t have any customer reviews.

    To find out what customers have to say about Ascent, you’ll have to visit forums like Reddit, but even then you won’t find much.

    Despite Ascent’s relatively wide range of rates, it appeared to offer competitive APRs compared to competitors. One borrower was confused about the application process, which is a bit more involved than most.

    What to expect when signing up

    Once you’ve maxed out your federal student loans, you can apply online for an Ascent student loan. If you’re applying without a cosigner, gather the following documents together:

    • A copy of your unofficial transcript
    • Statements for other student loans in your name
    • Your school’s financial aid reward for that year

    Once you have those on hand, you’re ready to apply. Here’s what you need to do to apply:

    1. Go to Ascent’s website and click either Check Eligibility under the Ascent Tuition logo or Check your eligibility under Ascent Independent.
    2. Select your school’s state, your school name and fill out the rest of the required fields before clicking Am I eligible?
    3. Set up an account to start your application by clicking Create an Account.
    4. Follow the steps to complete the application, making sure to read all terms and conditions carefully before agreeing to them.
    5. After each step click Continue and Save. Review your application and hit Submit.
    6. Wait for your application to be processed, submitting any requested documents as soon as possible. This can take a few minutes if you’re applying with a cosigner or between two and three business days if you’re applying without — Ascent needs that time to review your documents.
    7. After you’ve been conditionally approved, complete Ascent’s financial literacy module along with your cosigner.
    8. Review and sign your loan documents before submitting them.

    Step-by-step application with screenshots

    What happens after I apply?

    Once you’ve filled out the required fields, hit Submit. Wait for your application to be processed and submit any requested documents as soon as possible. This can take a few minutes if you’re applying with a cosigner or between two and three business days if you’re applying without — Ascent needs that time to review your documents.

    After you’ve been conditionally approved, complete Ascent’s financial literacy module along with your cosigner. Review and sign your loan documents before submitting them.

    Ascent isn’t a lender, so you’ll actually be dealing with other subsidiaries of GS2 companies when you apply for a loan. It uses CampusDoor to process your student loan application and funding can come from one of two places: Richland State Bank or Turnstile Capital Management. Turnstile is also a subsidiary of GS2.

    Ascent also uses a loans servicer, University Accounting Services (UAS) to handle repayments. If you have any questions about repayment, including deferment or forbearance, reach out to UAS by calling (800) 999-6227 — not Ascent.

    With that said, it’s not as complicated as it sounds — you can apply for a loan and pay your bills using the Ascent website.

    More about the company: Ascent and GS2

    Ascent is new to the student loan market. Its subsidiary GS2 launched it in 2017 as a way of being directly involved in the tuition student loan market. However, GS2’s reach goes way beyond Ascent: It manages more than $26 billion in both private and federal student loans. GS2 also offers loans for the solar industry, and works as a debt buyer and collector.

    GS2 won several awards including The San Diego Business Journal’s Best Places to Work from 2015 to 2017 and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s 2016 Top Workplaces.

    Bottom line

    Ascent student loans are generally a better deal if you apply with a cosigner. It’s best for college students that have used up their federal loans and are looking for a private loan with some flexibility in repayment. Want to learn about more lenders? Visit our student loans guide to compare rates and find out how student loans work.

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