Ascent Review: Private Student Loans

Ascent offers undergraduate and graduate student loans for those with and without a co-signer.
Cecilia Clark
By
Last updated on January 5, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Des Toups
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Student loan ratings

Ascent Credit-based Student Loan
Ascent Credit-based Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

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.

Ascent Credit-based Student Loan review

Ascent Credit-based Student Loan
Ascent Credit-based Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
4.13-15.46%
Variable APR
6.17-16.11%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

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

  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible.

  • Co-signer release not available to international students.

Best for students with a creditworthy co-signer.

Full Review

Ascent is an online lender that offers options to student loan borrowers with and without a co-signer.

The co-signed loan is a good fit for borrowers who want to pay off loans fast and have a creditworthy co-signer. Your interest rate could also be lower by using a co-signer, so consider that option first.

If you don't have access to a qualified co-signer, Ascent offers two non-co-signed options: credit-based and future income-based. In this case, consider the credit-based non-co-signed loan before the future income-based loan for the best interest rate.

The future income-based loan — available only to juniors and seniors with a 2.9 GPA — is one of only a few available to borrowers with no credit, income or co-signer.

For its non-co-signed credit-based loan, student borrowers must have more than two years of credit history and meet a minimum monthly debt-to-income ratio and 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.

  • DACA students can qualify with or without a co-signer.

How Ascent could improve

Ascent could improve by offering:

  • Advertised interest rates below 9% for non-co-signed loans.

Ascent private student loan details

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

    • Interest rates: 4.48% - 15.63% (with co-signer); 9.46% - 15.88% (without co-signer).

    • Loan terms: Five, 7, 10, 12, 15 or 20-year repayment terms available

    • Loan amounts: $2,001 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower for undergraduate loans, or up to $400,000 for graduate loans. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance.

    • Application or origination fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: Yes, a fee equal to the lesser of $10 or 5% of the amount of the past due payment applies after the payment is 10 days late.

    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

    • Minimum credit score: There is no minimum FICO requirement for co-signed student loan borrowers with a co-signer who has a credit score of 660 or higher, otherwise the student must meet a minimum score. For the non-co-signed credit-based loan, the student must meet minimum income and DTI requirements and at least two years of credit history.

    • Minimum income: $24,000 for the current and previous year.

    • 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 students must have an eligible U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. The same requirements apply to co-signers.

    • DACA borrowers: Eligible.

    • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Also available in Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

    • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes. Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 2.9 GPA or higher.

    • Loans can be used for past due tuition: Yes.

    • 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: 77%.

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

    • Deferred repayment: No payments while you’re in school and until your grace period ends nine 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.

    • Other partial payment: Ascent may allow borrowers to set another partial payment amount while in-school.

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

    • Grace period: 9 months.

    • Income based repayment option: No.

    • In-school deferment: Yes, students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for up to 48 months of deferment.

    • Internship deferment: Yes.

    • Residency deferment: Yes.

    • Administrative deferment: Yes.

    • Fellowship deferment: Yes.

    • 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. Available to students who took out an Ascent loan prior to May 2019.

    • 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 48 months.

    • Forbearance: Up to 12 consecutive months and 24 months in aggregate. Forbearance will 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, after 12 months.

    • 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.

    • 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 complete applications for which all credit and income information is available.

    • Cash-back reward: Borrowers are eligible for a 1% cash-back graduation reward applied to your loan principle, 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.

    • Scholarship Giveaways: Ascent gives away over $80,000 in scholarships annually for students in college or bootcamps. Learn more through Ascent's Instagram.

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.

Compare best student loans without a co-signer
Lender
Fixed APR
Min. credit score
Variable APR
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
5.0
Read review
5.50- 7.05%
None
N/A
Ascent Non-Cosigned Student Loan
Check rateon Ascent's website
on Ascent's website
12.75- 14.74%
Low-Mid 600s
13.28- 15.23%
MPOWER Private Student Loan
4.0
13.74- 15.01%
None
N/A
6.99- 12.99%
None
N/A
N/A
Varies
9.40- 23.00%
View more

Ascent Non-Cosigned Student Loan review

Ascent Non-Cosigned Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
12.75-14.74%
Variable APR
13.28-15.23%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than most lenders.

Cons

  • International students are not eligible.

  • Freshmen, sophomores and those enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for future-income based loan.

Best for independent students with strong credit or upperclassmen with good grades.

Ascent Dental Student Loan review

Ascent Dental Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
5.13-14.56%
Variable APR
7.04-15.21%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • 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.

  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.

Best for dental students who want flexible payment options.

Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan review

Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
5.05-14.56%
Variable APR
6.70-15.21%
on Ascent's website

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.

Best for graduate students who want flexible payment options.

Ascent Law Student Loan review

Ascent Law Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
5.13-14.56%
Variable APR
7.20-15.21%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • 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.

  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.

Best for law students who want flexible payment options.

Ascent MBA Student Loan review

Ascent MBA Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
5.13-14.56%
Variable APR
7.20-15.21%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • 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.

  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.

Best for MBA students who want flexible payment options.

Ascent Medical Student Loan review

Ascent Medical Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Low-Mid 600s
Fixed APR
5.05-14.56%
Variable APR
6.70-15.21%
on Ascent's website

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • 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.

  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Best for medical students who want flexible payment options.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Find the Right Student Loan

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Frequently asked questions

  • Ascent is a five-star lender based on NerdWallet's student loan rating system. Our ratings prioritize low interest rates and flexible repayment options that allow borrowers to repay loans faster and avoid default.

  • Ascent offers a non-cosigned future income-based loan. This loan is available to students with no co-signer and no credit history.

  • International and undocumented students can apply for an Ascent student loan with a credit-worthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

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