Getting private student loans can be hard, especially if you don’t have a cosigner. With Ascent student loans, you can get private student loans whether you have help or you’re on your own.
The lender offers competitive interest rates and extra features such as a cash reward when you graduate and a generous cosigner release program. It also works to educate borrowers before they get approved so that they’re not going in blind.
“It’s really important for us to make sure that we are educating students, that they’re not overborrowing, and that they fully understand what they’re signing up for,” said Lauren Thayer, director of marketing at Goal Structured Solutions, Ascent’s parent company.
Keep reading to determine whether Ascent’s private student loans are right for you.
Ascent private student loans review
The lender offers two student loan options: the Ascent Tuition loan is for students who need a cosigner, and the Ascent Independent loan is for students who qualify to get approved on their own or can’t get a cosigner.
Regardless of which loan you choose, you can borrow as little as $2,000 and as much as the total cost of attendance. The total amount you can borrow from Ascent is $200,000.
If you have an Ascent Tuition loan, you can choose a repayment term of five, 10, or 15 years. You can also choose one of three repayment options:
- Interest only during school, then full principal and interest payments once you’re no longer enrolled at least half time.
- A minimum monthly payment of $25 while you’re in school, then full principal and interest payments once you’re no longer enrolled at least half time.
- No payments while you’re enrolled at least half time for up to 60 months.
If you get an Independent loan, you can opt for a 10- or 15-year repayment term. The only repayment option is the deferred payment plan, which postpones payments while you’re enrolled in school at least half time for up to 60 months.
Interest rates and fees
Ascent private student loans don’t charge origination, application, or prepayment penalty fees. The lender offers both fixed and variable interest rates for its Tuition loan:
- Variable: 4.24% to 13.24%
- Fixed: 5.07% to 14.15%
If you set up automatic payments on your account, you can qualify for a 0.25% rate reduction.
Other Ascent private student loan features
Private student loans are often more than just their rates and fees. Here are some other features that Ascent offers to its borrowers.
Ascent offers a 1% cash-back graduation reward on its loans. If you graduate from the degree program for which you used your Ascent loan, you can get back 1% of the amount you originally borrowed in the form of a cash reward. Terms include:
- You must provide documentation to verify your graduation from the program.
- You can change majors or transfer schools, but you have to graduate with the same level of degree.
- Your graduation date must be more than 90 days and less than five years from the day you received the loan disbursement.
- You must not be delinquent on any of your Ascent loans for more than 30 days or in default status between graduation day and the date your reward is paid out.
- You haven’t refinanced your Ascent loans before the reward payout date.
- You’ve set up automatic payments.
Deferment and forbearance
Whether you’re still in school, serving on active duty in the military, or doing a residency or internship program, Ascent will defer your payments until you’re done.
If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for forbearance for up to three months at a time. You can get as many as four consecutive three-month forbearance periods, and 24 months total.
Keep in mind that deferments and forbearances extend your repayment term, and interest continues to accrue while you’re not making payments. So use them wisely.
If you have a Tuition loan and a cosigner, you can apply to release that cosigner from their obligations after you’ve made your first 24 consecutive payments on time.
Some other private student loan companies require up to 48 consecutive payments, and some don’t offer cosigner release at all.
This feature is only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and you’d need to meet the eligibility requirements of a solo borrower, which we’ll cover in the next section.
Depending on which loan you want, you and your cosigner (if applicable) need to meet different requirements. Here’s a summary.
Ascent Tuition loan
If you have access to a cosigner and don’t qualify for the Independent loan, you might be able to get the Ascent Tuition loan.
To qualify, you need to be enrolled at least half time in a degree program at an eligible school. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but if you aren’t, your cosigner has to be.
To qualify, both you and your cosigner must meet certain requirements. For starters, you must have no:
- Previous defaults on any federal or private student loan.
- Bankruptcies in the past five years.
- Unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures, or garnishments by creditors.
Your cosigner must meet those requirements, plus have:
- No delinquencies of 60 days or more during the past two years.
- No charge-offs or collections accounts of more than $100.
- At least a two-year credit history with non-student loan trades.
- A FICO score that meets Ascent’s minimum, though the lender doesn’t share the number publicly.
- A debt-to-income ratio that meets Ascent’s standards.
- Proof of income showing continuous employment for the past two years.
Ascent Independent loan
Ascent’s Independent loan is designed for full-time juniors and seniors in an undergraduate program at an eligible school and graduate students. Since you don’t have a cosigner, the lender looks at your application a little differently.
“We look at student earnings potential and what their major is and what school they’re attending,” said Thayer. “We also consider what year they are in school. So many lowerclassmen change their major so frequently it’s a higher risk.”
The lender might also look at other factors, including creditworthiness, citizenship status, and other aspects of your school situation.
Are Ascent private student loans right for you?
Ascent provides its borrowers with loan options and features that most private student loan companies don’t offer. For example, if you can’t find a cosigner or you like the idea of getting rewarded for graduating, Ascent might be a good choice.
But before you commit, compare Ascent’s offering with other top private student loan companies. Consider not only their rates and fees but also other terms and features.
As you take the time to research all your options, you’ll have a better chance of picking the loan that suits your needs the best.
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|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 4/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.24% – 13.24%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|6.08% – 7.22%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|