Ascent Bootcamp Loans Review

Ascent provides loans to pay for approved coding bootcamps. The loans may also cover living expenses.
Cecilia ClarkJun 17, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Our Take

The bottom line: Ascent provides coding bootcamp loans to students attending approved programs. It’s best for students who have a strong credit history or a qualified co-signer.

Ascent Bootcamp Loan

Ascent Bootcamp Loan

Fixed APR

6.50 - 13.75%

Min. Credit Score

620

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Provides loans for living expenses.

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

Cons

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

  • All loans have a 5% origination fee.

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 who attend coding bootcamps. Skills Fund rebranded under Ascent in 2021.

Ascent's bootcamp loan is different from its student loans.

Coding bootcamp loans can help you cover the cost of your bootcamp education and may cover living expenses in the way that student loans do for traditional college. But coding bootcamp loans and student loans aren’t the same.

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

Traditional student loans — federal and private — aren't available for coding bootcamps.

Ascent provides co-signed bootcamp loans and bootcamp loans that do not require 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, Kenzie Academy and Springboard bootcamps. With these programs, students get a six-month job-finding forbearance with the option to extend for up to six more months if necessary. For Springboard, interest doesn't start to accrue until after the grace period. Ascent may partner with other schools for special loan options in the future.

Ascent determines which schools it will lend to based on its quality assurance process. 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 loans with no origination feee.

  • 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.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 minimum. Maximum depends on partner school.

  • Application or origination fee: 5% origination fee added to loan amount.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: 5% of the amount of the past due payment up to a maximum of 0.

Compare Ascent's range of interest rates and list of partner schools with other coding bootcamp 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: 620, but may be higher based on your school.

  • 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: Did not disclose.

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

  • Can qualify if you’ve had an education loan default: No.

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 as long as you attend a partner school.

  • Must be enrolled half time or more: Part time and full time are eligible.

  • Types of schools served: Coding bootcamps that focus on development, data analytics, cybersecurity and other information technology specialties.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Less than 30%.

  • 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.

  • In-school deferment: Borrowers may be eligible for interest-only payments when returning to school.

  • 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: Immediately for soft credit check and within 24 hours for final approval.

  • Completion percentage: 80% or higher.

  • Job placement rates: 80% or higher at six months post-graduation.

  • Average starting salary: Three times the cost of tuition or 50% increase in pre- to post-program salary.

  • Financial strength: Balance sheet and cash flow statement analysis.

  • Regulatory licensure: Confirmed annually.

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 is worth it for you. Coding bootcamps 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.

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

  • 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 a 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 a 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 coding bootcamp loan is not a student loan, as student loans are not available for bootcamps. Coding 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.