Ascent Bootcamp Loans Review

Ascent provides loans to pay for approved tech bootcamps and career training programs. The loans may also cover living expenses.
Cecilia Clark
Last updated on January 5, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Des Toups
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The Nerdy headline:

Ascent provides bootcamp loans for tuition and living expenses to students attending approved career training programs. It’s best for students who have a strong credit history or a qualified co-signer.

Jump to:Full Review
Ascent Bootcamp Loan
Ascent Bootcamp Loan

Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR


  • Provides loans for tuition and living expenses.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.


  • Loans with the deferred repayment option have a higher interest rate.

  • Most Ascent bootcamp loans have a 5% origination fee.

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Full Review

Ascent is an online lender that offers education loans. In 2019, it acquired Skills Fund, an online lender that offered loans to students attending coding bootcamps and skills and training programs. Skills Fund rebranded under Ascent in 2021.

Bootcamp loans can work similarly to student loans. They can help you cover the cost of your education and may cover living expenses. But bootcamp loans and student loans aren’t the same.

Loans for bootcamps are essentially personal loans designed for career training programs. They are not considered student loans, and they don’t have all of the benefits of federal student loans — though bootcamp loans may be more easily discharged in bankruptcy.

Traditional student loans — federal and private — aren't available for bootcamps and skills training programs.

Ascent provides bootcamp loans for borrowers with and without a co-signer. These loans are credit-based, so you or your co-signer will need to meet minimum credit requirements.

Most Ascent bootcamp loans come with a three-month grace period and offer three repayment options: interest-only, immediate repayment and deferred repayment. Ascent also has a special loan option for students at Thinkful, Springboard, BloomTech and Merit America bootcamps.

For students at Thinkful, Springboard and BloomTech: Borrowers will make no payments while in school and up to six months after they complete their program — or until they receive a qualifying job offer. Once the loan is in repayment, borrowers can defer the loan for up to six months if they meet eligible unemployment or underemployment criteria.

For students at Springboard: Interest does not accrue while in school, during the grace period or during any period of unemployment or underemployment deferment.

For students at Merit America: Ascent offers a loan with no origination fee and 0% interest. With this program, borrowers don't pay anything until three months after completing or leaving the Merit America program. Once the loan is in repayment, students can make monthly payments with no interest and can still defer payment — if they experience economic hardship — for up to 60 months.

Ascent may partner with other schools for special loan options in the future. Ascent reviews each program to determine school partnerships. It says this ensures it's lending to schools that deliver promising outcomes for students.

Ascent bootcamp loans at a glance

  • Generous grace period options compared with other bootcamp loans.

  • Multiple repayment options.

  • Borrowers must have strong credit or a creditworthy co-signer to qualify.

How Ascent could improve

  • Offer more loan options with no origination fee.

  • Standardize the interest-rate range for all schools.

Ascent bootcamp loan details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

    • Loan terms: 3 and 5 years for most loans.

    • Loan amounts: Depends on your loan term and state of residence.

    • Application or origination fee: 5% origination fee is added to the loan amount for most loans.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: 5% of the amount of the past due payment up to a maximum of $50 for most loans.

    Compare Ascent's range of interest rates and list of partner schools with other bootcamp and career training lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your and your co-signer’s credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Ascent will offer you, apply on its website.

  • Financial

    • Minimum credit score: Varies by loan product.

    • Minimum income: No income requirement.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: N/A.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after 5 years for most loans.

    • Can qualify if you’ve had an education loan default: No, for most loans.


    • Citizenship: Borrowers can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, U.S. temporary residents (international) or DACA students. U.S. temporary residents must have an eligible U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer.

    • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states as long as you attend a partner school.

    • Must be enrolled half time or more: No, part time and full time programs are eligible.

    • Types of schools served: Tech bootcamps that focus on coding, data analytics, UX design, cybersecurity and other specialties. Career and vocational training programs that focus on in-demand skills in business, welding, linework, HVAC and more.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Not available.

    • Percentage of borrowers with bachelor's degree: Not available.

  • In-school repayment options

    • Interest-only: Make only interest payments while in school.

    • Immediate: Start full payments with interest and principal as soon as the loan is disbursed.

    • Deferred: No payment while in school and during grace period. Full interest and principal payment afterward.

    Post-school repayment options

    • Grace period: Typically three months, but may be longer for special loan programs.

    • In-school deferment: Borrowers that enroll at a qualifying school may be eligible to make interest-only payments for up to 12 months.

    • Military deferment: Yes, for up to 36 months.

    • Forbearance: Yes, up to 12 months.

    • Co-signer release available: No.

    • Death or disability discharge available: Yes.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

    • Offers refinancing: No.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

    • Loan servicer: Aspire for loans applied for before June 9, 2019; Launch for loans applied for on or after June 10, 2019.

    • In-house customer service team: Yes.

    • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

    • Average time from application to approval: In most cases, approval is immediate for borrowers with a soft credit check. Final approval within 24 hours.

  • Ascent evaluates schools and training providers in the following areas:

    • Licensing requirements and regulatory compliance.

    • Student outcomes, like completion rates, expected employment rates and earnings after completing the program.

    • Program cost and refund policies.

    • Marketing practices.

    • Financial strength and stability, including ownership background.

    • Consumer complaints.

  • 0.25% interest-rate discount for autopay.

Before applying for a Ascent bootcamp loan

Consider a bootcamp’s job placement results, costs and length to determine if the coding bootcamp or skills training program is worth it for you. Ascent bootcamp loans are available for programs that are ineligible for federal financial aid, but there are other ways to reduce the amount you'll have to borrow. Exhaust these aid sources before applying for a loan:

  • Check with the bootcamp for scholarship opportunities. Ascent also offers scholarship opportunities.

  • Contact your state’s workforce development center and inquire about grants available for coding bootcamps and skills training programs.

  • If you have a job, consult your company’s human resources program for tuition assistance opportunities.

  • Military veterans should check their eligibility for the GI Bill or VET TEC program as these programs can cover the full cost of coding bootcamp.

After getting all the free aid you’re eligible for, consider a bootcamp loan to fill the gaps. Always use a bootcamp loan before turning to higher-cost financing options, like credit cards and high-interest personal loans.

Before you accept an Ascent bootcamp loan

If you're conditionally approved for an Ascent loan, review your offer and compare it with any income share agreement opportunity through your school to determine where you’ll get the better deal.

If you aren’t eligible for an Ascent bootcamp loan

If Ascent denies your loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

Student loans ratings methodology

A bootcamp loan is not a student loan, as student loans are not available for bootcamps. Bootcamp students may have access to options other than loans for their bootcamp education. NerdWallet believes the best education lending product is one that costs you the least. That’s why NerdWallet’s ratings reward lenders that offer favorable loan terms, limit 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 best deal you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

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