Ascent Review: Private Student Loans

Ascent offers two student loan options: co-signed and non-co-signed.

Anna HelhoskiAugust 5, 2020

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Student loan ratings

Ascent
  • Private student loan

  • Dental school loan

  • Graduate student loan

  • Law school loan

  • MBA loan

  • Medical school loan

The bottom line: Ascent is an online lender that offers three options for student loan borrowers: a traditional co-signed loan, a non-co-signed credit-based option and a non-co-signed future income-based option. Its co-signed loan is best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast. Its non-co-signed credit-based option is best for borrowers with at least two years of credit history who can meet income requirements. Its non-co-signed future-income option is best for upperclassmen with no credit, income or co-signer.

Private student loan review

Ascent Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

3.53 - 14.50%

Variable APR

2.71 - 12.99%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-500s

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.
  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.
  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.
  • For non-co-signed future-income based option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.
  • Non-co-signed future income-based option is available only to college juniors and seniors.

Best for student who don't have a co-signer.

Full Review

Ascent is an online lender that offers three options for student loan borrowers: a traditional co-signed loan, a credit-based non-co-signed loan and another aimed at borrowers who lack a credit history, co-signer or income.

The co-signed loan is a good fit for borrowers who plan to use a co-signer and want to pay off loans fast. The co-signed option offers lower interest rates.

The non-co-signed future income-based loan — available only to juniors and seniors — is one of only a few available to borrowers with no credit, income or co-signer.

For its non-cosigned credit-based loan, student borrowers must have more than two years of credit history with a credit score of 680 or above and meet minimum income requirements.

Ascent borrowers can allocate overpayments to multiple accounts or a single account, and they also can make biweekly payments via autopay. These features help borrowers pay off debt faster.

Ascent at a glance

  • Generous forbearance options.

  • Offers co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based loan borrowers multiple in-school repayment options including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.

  • Borrowers who don’t have a co-signer or credit history can qualify.

How Ascent could improve

Ascent could improve by offering:

  • Advertised fixed interest rates below 10%.

Ascent private student loan details

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

  • Loan terms: Co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based options: Five, 10 or 15 years for variable-rate loans. Five or 10 years for fixed-rate loans. Non-co-signed future income-based option: 10 or 15 years for variable-rate loans. Ten years for fixed-rate loans.

  • Loan amounts: Co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based options: $1,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. Non-co-signed future income-based option: $1,000 to $20,000.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes, a fee equal to 5% of the amount of the past due payment applies after the payment is 10 days late. The minimum late fee is $5; the maximum is $25, except where prohibited by law.

Compare Ascent's range of interest rates with private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your co-signer's credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Ascent will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

Ascent’s non-co-signed future income-based option takes into account a borrower’s future earnings rather than emphasizing current income or credit as part of its underwriting process. For the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based options, borrowers must meet credit and income requirements.

  • Minimum credit score: 540 for co-signed loan student borrowers with a co-signer who has a credit score of 740 or higher, otherwise the student must have a minimum of 600. For the non-co-signed credit-based loan, the student must have a minimum credit score of 680 and at least two years of credit history. For the non-cosigned future income-based loan a credit score is not necessary.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based option. Income is not considered for the non-co-signed future income-based option.

  • 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: Did not disclose.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after five years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Borrowers can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, international or DACA students. International and DACA students must have an eligible U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. The same requirements apply to co-signers.

  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes. Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 2.5 GPA or higher.

  • Types of schools served: An eligible school, typically traditional two-year or four-year degree-granting institutions.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 100% for the co-signed option and 0% for the non-co-signed option.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

In-school repayment options for co-signed loan borrowers:

  • Deferred repayment: No payments while you’re in school and 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.

  • Flat-fee repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period. 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.

  • In-school interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re enrolled at least half-time in school and during the grace period. This option will likely save you the most money.

Post-school and non-co-signed loan repayment options

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

  • Graduated repayment: Yes, upon graduation, borrowers may be eligible for the graduated repayment option, which requires monthly payment amounts that start with an amount that is less than a fully-amortizing payment amount that step-up over time so the loan will be fully paid within the original loan term.

  • Military deferment: Yes, active-duty service members can defer payments for a cumulative 36 months.

  • Reduced payments for medical and dental residents: Bachelor’s degree holders can defer payments if accepted into a residency or internship program for up to 24 months.

  • Forbearance: 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.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, for the co-signed loan option.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, the loan is forgiven if the student dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled.

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

Repayment preferences

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

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Loan servicer: Launch Servicing LLC.

  • 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: Immediately for conditional approval. 8 days for final approval.

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

  • Online financial literacy course: If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll need to take a brief course before receiving funding.

  • Refer a Friend Program: Borrowers can earn up to $525 for each friend they refer to Ascent. There is no earning limit. The friend will earn $100 off their loan if certified and disbursed.

  • $60,000 Scholarship Giveaway: Ascent gives away over $60,000 in scholarships annually. Learn more through Ascent's Instagram @AscentStudentLoans.

Before applying for an Ascent student loan

Before taking out an Ascent student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren't eligible for an Ascent student loan

If Ascent denies your student 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.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

How does this loan compare?

Ascent Private Student Loan
Discover Private Student Loan
College Ave Private Student Loan
Check RateCheck RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

3.53 - 14.50%

Fixed APR

4.59 - 12.39%

Fixed APR

3.54 - 12.99%

Variable APR

2.71 - 12.99%

Variable APR

1.59 - 10.99%

Variable APR

1.24 - 11.98%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-500s

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Dental school loan review

Ascent Dental Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Dental Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.57 - 13.44%

Variable APR

3.67 - 12.42%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 12 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Fixed rate loan only offers 10-year repayment term.

Best for dental students who want flexible payment options.

Graduate student loan review

Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.57 - 13.44%

Variable APR

3.67 - 12.42%

Min. Credit Score

540

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.
  • Fixed rate loan only offers 10-year repayment term.

Best for graduate students who want flexible payment options.

Law school loan review

Ascent Law Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Law Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.57 - 13.44%

Variable APR

3.67 - 12.42%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.
  • Fixed rate loan only offers 10-year repayment term.

Best for law students who want flexible payment options.

MBA loan review

Ascent MBA Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent MBA Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.57 - 13.44%

Variable APR

3.67 - 12.42%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.
  • Fixed rate loan only offers 10-year repayment term.

Best for MBA students who want flexible payment options.

Medical school loan review

Ascent Medical Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Medical Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.57 - 13.44%

Variable APR

3.67 - 12.42%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 36 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Fixed rate loan only offers 10-year repayment term.

Best for medical students who want flexible payment options.

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 student loan 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.

Frequently asked questions