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Ascent Funding private student loans review

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

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Best for students who want a wide range of deferment and forbearance options.
  • Pick something else if you don't have a cosigner or good grades.

1.50% to 9.58%

APR

$200,000

Max. Loan Amount

None with cosigner

Min. Credit Score

Details

Product NameAscent Funding
Minimum Loan Amount$2,001
Max. Loan Amount$200,000
APR1.50% to 9.58%
Interest Rate TypeFixed and variable
Fixed rate2.97% to 11.44%
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
RequirementsStudent must be US citizen, permanent resident, DACA recipient or US temporary resident, enrolled at least half-time in degree program at eligible institution. Cosigner must be US citizen or permanent resident, have 620+ credit score.
Go to Ascent's website

Review by


Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

Expert review

Ascent Funding offers student loans that are ideal for borrowers looking for a wide range of deferment and forbearance programs. You have the option to pause repayments during an internship, residency or if you hit a financial rough patch. It also offers a wide range of loan amounts — from $2,001 to $200,000. And you might qualify for a 1% cashback reward after graduation.

It’s also one of the only private student loan providers willing to work with students with low credit scores or no credit history at all. And it also offers an option for upperclassmen to qualify based on their future potential income.

But students who apply without a cosigner for its future income-based loan need to have at least a 2.9 GPA to be eligible for funding. It’s also not ideal if you’re looking for a loan term longer than 15 years — where Ascent maxes out.

Not sold on Ascent? Compare other student loan providers.

First, am I eligible?

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

Ascent Cosigned Credit-Based Loan

To qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  • Student must be enrolled at least half time at an eligible school in a degree-seeking program
  • Student must be US citizen, permanent resident, DACA recipient or temporary resident
  • Cosigner must be US citizen or permanent resident
  • Cosigner must have an annual income of at least $24,000
  • Cosigner must have a 660 personal credit score — or higher, depending on student’s credit score

Ascent Non-Cosigned Credit-Based Loan

To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled at least half time at an eligible school in a degree-seeking program
  • Annual income of at least $24,000
  • Minimum credit score of 680
  • At least two years of credit history
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Age of majority in your state

Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan

To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Junior or senior undergraduate student
  • No credit score or credit history
  • 640 credit score or higher with less than two years of credit history
  • 680 credit score or higher with two or more years of credit history
  • Enrolled full time at eligible school in a degree-seeking program
  • 2.9 GPA or greater and meet your school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements
  • US citizen, permanent resident or DACA recipient
  • Age of majority in your state

Ascent has a map on its website that shows eligible schools. You can also email Help@AscentFunding.com to see if yours qualifies.

How does Ascent Funding work?

Ascent is a private student loan provider designed to help students cover tuition and living costs. It has three options that students can use to pay for school.

  • Ascent Cosigned Credit-Based Loan: Best for students with a creditworthy cosigner
  • Ascent Non-Cosigned Credit-Based Loan: Best for students who don’t have a cosigner and have a credit score of at least 680
  • Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan: Best for junior and senior students without a creditworthy cosigner

Ascent also offers graduate student loans and student loans for coding bootcamps.

How much does an Ascent student loan cost?

Ascent has no 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 Cosigned Loans

  • Fixed APRs: 2.97% to 11.44%, with a 0.25% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Variable APRs: 1.50% to 9.58%, with a 0.25% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Ascent Non-Cosigned Credit-Based loans

  • Fixed APRs: 4.08% to 11.33% APR, with a 0.25% to 1% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Variable APRs: 5.65% to 12.95% APR, with a 0.25% to 1% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Ascent Non-Cosigned Outcome-Based loans

  • Fixed APRs: 10.27% to 12.46% APR, with a 0.25% to 1% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Variable APRs: 8.91% to 11.32% APR, 0.25% to 1% discount when you enroll in automatic payments
  • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years

Variable rates for both the Ascent Cosigned and Non-Cosigned 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 allow you to hold off on repayments until six months after you leave school. Interest will continue to accumulate.
  • In-school interest-only repayments allow you to make payments on your interest while you’re still in school to stop it from adding up.
  • $25 minimum payments allow you to 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:

  • Declared emergency forbearance offers up to 3 months of paused payments during COVID-19 — which don’t count toward your 24-month forbearance limit.
  • Active-duty military deferment allows service to pause repayments while they’re on active military duty for up to a total of 36 months.
  • In-school deferment allows you to 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.
  • Graduate, clerkship, residency, internship or fellowship deferment allows you to hold off on payments for up to 48 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 pauses payments 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

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
675
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
700
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
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Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.
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Pros

  • DACA recipients can qualify with or without a cosigner
  • Options for students with no credit history or cosigner
  • Discounts like 1% graduation reward and high autopay discount of up to 1%
  • Nine-month grace period
  • Multiple deferment and forbearance options

Cons

  • No terms longer than 15 years
  • Can take a couple days to receive funds
  • Not available in every state

Ascent reviews and complaints

Though Ascent has been around since 2016, it doesn’t have reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website or Trustpilot as of July 2021. 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. One borrower reports being happy Ascent offered them a lower APR than its competitors. But otherwise, there’s not much out there.

How the application works

You can apply for an Ascent student loan by filling out a quick form on its website. Ascent asks you to provide basic information about your degree program, income and residency. Then the application prompts you to provide information about your cosigner — if you’re applying with one. Before you submit the application, you can customize your loan amount to fit your priorities, such as a lowest monthly payment or a lower overall cost.

After reviewing your customized loan option summary, you can check your rate without impacting your credit. If you’re happy with your offer, submit your application. This involves a hard credit check, which will appear on your credit report.

What happens after I apply?

You’ll then need to 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.

After you’ve been conditionally approved, you’ll need to complete Ascent’s financial literacy module along with your cosigner, if applicable. You can then 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. Funding can come from one of two places: Richland State Bank or Bank of Lake Mills.

Who is Ascent’s servicer?

Ascent also uses a loans servicer, Launch Servicing to handle repayments. If you have any questions about repayment, including deferment or forbearance, reach out to Launch by calling 877-354-2629 — 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 Goal Structured Solutions

Ascent is new to the student loan market. Its subsidiary Goal Structured Solutions (GS2) launched it in 2016 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.

Ascent and GS2 have won several awards. Forbes Advisor named Ascent the best student loan provider in 2020 and 2021 — and other publications like Business Insider and U.S. News & World Report have also named it as a top lender in 2021. Ascent was also named one of the best places to work in 2020.

Read our guide to student loans to compare your options before choosing a provider.

Frequently asked questions

Does Ascent offer any discounts?

Ascent offers a 0.25% to 2% discount on interest rates for eligible borrowers if you sign up for autopay. However, you’ll lose this benefit if your account shows insufficient funds for two payments. It also offers a 1% cashback reward after you graduate to qualifying borrowers.

And each time you refer a friend to Ascent and they take out a loan, you’ll receive $525 and your friend receives $100 — there’s no limit to how many friends you can refer.

Are international students eligible?

Yes, if you have a cosigner that meets all eligibility requirements, including citizenship and creditworthiness.

Where can I find the status of my loan?

You can log in to your account, call Ascent customer service at 877-216-0876 or email help@ascentprogram.com.

How does my interest add up?

Ascent uses daily simple interest, meaning that your interest is calculated on a daily basis based on your current loan balance. You can calculate your daily interest rate by dividing the annual interest rate by the number of days in a year.

Does Ascent offer any other perks aside from its 1% cashback program?

Yes, Ascent also offers a refer-a-friend program, scholarships and online financial resources to help students and their parents make smart decisions when paying for college.

Student loan ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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