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Ascent Student Loans Review: Private Loans

Aug. 7, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
ascent-private-student-loan-reviews-independent-tuition-loans
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Ascent offers two types of student loans for undergraduates and graduate students: Ascent Tuition, a traditional co-signer loan, and Ascent Independent, which allows undergraduate juniors and seniors as well as graduate students to borrow without a co-signer.

Ascent’s Independent option is one of the few private student loans available to students with no credit, income or co-signer.

Ascent Tuition student loan review

Ascent Independent student loan review

Ascent Tuition student loan review

With Ascent Tuition, 100% of borrowers have a co-signer. Rates will be lowest for borrowers with co-signers who have high credit scores and incomes well above the minimum $24,000.

Ascent_FullColor_Stacked_Logo
Type of loanPrivate student loan
NerdWallet rating5 stars out of 5
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Loan termsFive, 10 or 15 years for variable-rate loans. Five or 10 for fixed-rate loans.
Loan amounts$2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance.
Check Rates at Ascent Student Loans

 

An Ascent Tuition loan may be right for you if you:

  • Need to fill a gap in the financial aid package you received after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA
  • Have a creditworthy co-signer

» MORE: NerdWallet’s 2018-19 FAFSA Guide

Before taking a private student loan from Ascent or any lender, submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, work-study and federal student loans. Borrow the maximum in federal student loans before considering private ones. Federal loans have more borrower protections and don’t require a co-signer.

Can you qualify?

You may qualify for an Ascent Tuition loan if you:

  • Attend an eligible school: Borrowers must be accepted or enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school, typically traditional two-year or four-year degree-granting institutions.
  • Meet citizenship requirements: Borrowers can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or international students. All must have a qualified co-signer
  • Have a co-signer: Your co-signer should have credit scores in at least the high 600s and a minimum income of $24,000. In addition, your co-signer must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Ascent did not disclose specific credit requirements or typical borrower profiles. However, Ascent considers the borrower’s creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors, in addition to co-signer requirements.

Borrowers who apply with a co-signer for the Ascent Tuition loan are likely to see lower rates than if they borrow an Ascent Independent loan, which does not allow co-signers.

» COMPARE: Private student loans

How to apply for an Ascent Tuition student loan

Before you take out a private student loan, compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who face difficulty making payments.

  1. Find out if you’re eligible. Go to the Ascent Tuition page and click “Check Eligibility” to get started. Fill in details about the school you’re attending to find out if you’re eligible.
  2. Complete an application. Create an account by filling in your personal details and information about the school you’re planning to attend, cost of attendance, estimated financial aid, housing status, employment information, a reference and the amount you want to borrow. You’ll need:
  • Social Security number, if you have one
  • Driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID
  • School information
  • Estimated financial aid
  • Employment information
  • Proof of Income information
  • Contact information for one reference
  1. Agree to let Ascent do a hard credit check. You won’t know what interest rate you can get from Ascent until you apply. As with most loan applications, borrowers have to agree to let Ascent check your and your co-signer’s credit history, which may slightly hurt both of your credit scores.
  2. Take Ascent’s online financial literacy course. If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll need to take a brief course before receiving funding.
  3. Sign the required documents. You’ll need to sign a loan promissory note, which you can do online.
  4. Wait for the funds from your school. The approved loan amount will be sent directly to your school, applied first to tuition and fees, then room and board. After all balances are paid, the school will refund any leftover loan money to you. Leftover funds should be used for education-related expenses, such as books.
Check Rates at Ascent Student Loans

Ascent student loan details

  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Loan servicer: University Accounting Service
  • Lender: Loans are provided through Richland State Bank, member FDIC, or Turnstile Capital Management, a subsidiary of Goal Structured Solutions, Inc.
  • Application or origination fee: None
  • Late fees: After 10 days past due, borrowers will owe 5% of the amount of the past due payment, no less than $5 and no greater than $25 and not more than the maximum amount permitted by law
  • Prepayment penalty: None
  • Co-signer release: Available on request after 24 consecutive on-time payments. Not available for international students who apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

General repayment options

Ascent Tuition borrowers have three repayment options. Payment can begin while they’re still in school, or they may defer payments until after they graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.

  • In-school interest-only repayment: This option will save you the most money. You’ll be required to pay interest only while enrolled at least half-time.
  • Deferred repayment: You won’t be required to make any payments until your grace period ends six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time. Since there are no prepayment penalties, you may opt to make payments sooner. Interest will continue to accrue while you’re in school whether you pay or not. The interest that accrues will capitalize, or be added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.
  • $25 minimum repayment: This option will save you more than deferred repayment, but slightly less than interest-only repayment. You can pay a set monthly payment while enrolled in school at least half-time.

Repayment options for struggling borrowers

Throughout the life of your loan, you may run into situations where you need to take a pause. Ascent offers a few deferment and forbearance options for struggling borrowers:

Deferment

Borrowers can postpone payments and extend the term of repayment in three situations:

  • In-school deferment: Students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for up to 24 months of deferment
  • Active duty military deferment: Active-duty service members can defer payments for a cumulative 36 months
  • Residency/internship deferment: Bachelor’s degree-holders can defer payments if accepted into a residency or internship program for up to 24 months

Forbearance

Borrowers postpone loan payments up to four consecutive periods lasting anywhere from one to three months. Borrowers have a 24-month limit on forbearance. Forbearance will not extend the loan’s repayment term and interest will continue to accrue on the loan.

Ascent extras

Cash back reward. Borrowers are eligible for a 1% cash back graduation reward upon satisfaction of certain terms and conditions.

Contact Ascent

Call Ascent at 877-216-0876 or email help@ascentprogram.com

Call University Accounting Service at 800-999-6227

Ascent Tuition loan FAQs

  • Can I apply with a co-signer? Yes. All Tuition loan borrowers are required to have a co-signer.
  • Is there a co-signer release option? Yes, after 24 months of consecutive payments
  • Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? Not typically, according to Ascent.
  • Can I qualify if I didn’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.

[Back to top]

Ascent Independent private student loan review

The Ascent Independent loan is the newest private loan offering from the lender, aimed at borrowers who do not have a credit history, income or a co-signer.

An Ascent Independent loan may be right for you if you:

  • Are a junior or senior undergraduate or a graduate student
  • Do not have or want a co-signer
  • Need to fill a gap in the financial aid package you received after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA

» MORE: NerdWallet’s 2018-19 FAFSA Guide

Ascent_FullColor_Stacked_Logo
Type of loanPrivate student loan
NerdWallet rating4.0 stars out of 5
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Best forBorrowers with no co-signer
Loan terms10 or 15 years for variable-rate loans. 10 for fixed-rate loans.
Loan amounts$2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance.
Check Rates at Ascent Student Loans

Before taking a private student loan from Ascent or any lender, submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, work study and federal student loans. Borrow the maximum in federal student loans before considering private ones. Federal loans have more borrower protections and also don’t require a co-signer.

A private student loan without a co-signer typically will carry higher interest rates. Once you make payments and build your credit, consider refinancing your loan at a lower rate.

Can you qualify?

You may qualify for an Ascent Independent loan if you:

  • Attend an eligible school: Borrowers must be accepted or enrolled full-time in an eligible school, typically traditional two-year or four-year degree-granting institutions.
  • Meet citizenship requirements: Borrowers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Meet GPA requirements. Borrowers must meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 2.5 GPA or greater.
  • Meet financial history requirements. Borrowers must not have defaulted on any private or government student loan; may have no delinquencies of 60 or more days during the previous two years; may have no reported bankruptcy within the past 5 years; no charge-offs or collections accounts over $100; no unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures or garnishments by creditors; and may have to meet minimum credit requirements, as determined by Ascent.

Ascent did not disclose typical borrower profiles. However, Ascent considers creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, future earnings, cost of attendance and other factors.

Unlike most other loan programs, Ascent considers future earnings rather than emphasizing current income or credit as part of its underwriting process.

Borrowers who apply for an Ascent Independent loan are likely to have higher rates than if they applied with a creditworthy co-signer for the Ascent Tuition loan.

» COMPARE: Private student loans

How to apply for an Ascent Independent student loan

Before you take out a private student loan, compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

  1. Find out if you’re eligible. Go to the Ascent Independent page and click “Check Eligibility” to get started. Fill in details about the school you’re attending to find out if you’re eligible.
  2. Complete an application. Create an account by filling in your personal details and information about the school you’re planning to attend, cost of attendance, estimated financial aid, housing status, employment information, a reference and the amount you want to borrow. You’ll need:
  • Social Security number, if you have one
  • Driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID
  • School information
  • Contact information for one reference
  1. Agree to let Ascent do a hard credit check. You won’t know what interest rate you can get from Ascent until you apply. As with most loan applications, borrowers have to agree to let Ascent check your credit history, which may slightly hurt your credit score.
  2. Take Ascent’s online financial literacy course. If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll need to take a brief online financial literacy course before receiving funding.
  3. Sign the required documents. You’ll need to sign a loan promissory note, which you can do online.
  4. Wait for the funds from your school. The approved loan amount will be sent directly to your school, applied first to tuition and fees, then room and board. After all balances are paid, the school will refund any leftover loan money to you. Leftover funds should be used for education-related expenses, such as books.
    Check Rates at Ascent Student Loans

Ascent Independent loan details

  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Loan servicer: University Accounting Service
  • Lender: Loans are provided through Richland State Bank, member FDIC, or Turnstile Capital Management, a subsidiary of Goal Structured Solutions, Inc.
  • Application or origination fee: None
  • Prepayment penalty: None
  • Late fees: After 10 days past due, borrowers will owe 5% of the amount of the past due payment, no less than $5 and no greater than $25 and not more than the maximum amount permitted by law

General repayment options

Ascent Independent borrowers can only defer payments until after they graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. You’ll save the most money paying off the loans the soonest.

You won’t be required to make any payments until your grace period ends six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time. Since there are no prepayment penalties, you may opt to make payments sooner. Interest will continue to accrue while you’re in school whether you pay or not. The interest that accrues will capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.

Repayment options for struggling borrowers

Over the life of your loan, you may run into situations where you need to take a pause. Ascent offers a few deferment and forbearance options for struggling borrowers:

Deferment

Borrowers can postpone payments and extend the term of repayment in three situations:

In-school deferment: students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for up to 24 months of deferment

Active duty military deferment: active duty service members can defer payments for a cumulative 36 months

Residency/internship deferment: borrowers holding a bachelor’s degree can defer payments if accepted into a residency or internship program, for up to 24 months

Forbearance

Borrowers postpone loan payments up to four consecutive periods lasting anywhere from one to three months. Borrowers have a 24-month limit on forbearance. Forbearance will not extend the loan’s repayment term and interest will continue to accrue on the loan.

Ascent extras

Cash back reward. Borrowers are eligible for a 1% cash back graduation reward upon satisfaction of certain terms and conditions.

Contact Ascent

Call Ascent at 877-216-0876 or email help@ascentprogram.com

Call University Accounting Service at 800-999-6227

Ascent Independent loan FAQs

  • Can I apply with a co-signer? No. The independent loan is for students who don’t have a co-signer.
  • Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? Not typically, according to Ascent.
  • Can I qualify if I didn’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.

[Back to top]

STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s private student loans ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution