Everything You Need to Know About Aspire Student Loans

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If you think you have Aspire student loans but aren’t quite sure, you’re not alone.

This article will explain the confusing story of how Aspire Resources is connected to Iowa Student Loan — and how to make your student loan payments.

What’s the deal with Aspire student loans?

It all started with Iowa Student Loan, a nonprofit organization that’s been around since 1979. In 2001, it launched a for-profit subsidiary called Aspire Resources.

Then, in 2012, Aspire Resources received a Department of Education contract to handle 200,000 federal student loans.

Aspire Resource student loans consistently received good reviews — and Aspire Resources still has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau.

But only a few years into its contract, Iowa Student Loan announced that Aspire Resources would no longer service federal loans.

“We recently decided to exit the Direct Loan servicing business due to the heavy cost burden of maintaining this federal contract,” said Steve McCullough, Iowa Student Loan president and CEO, in a August 2015 press release.

“Revenue from the contract is primarily driven by the number of accounts being serviced, and the number of accounts allotted to Aspire, including future projections, simply was not enough to generate the revenue needed to offset the costs,” McCullough said.

Following the announcement, Aspire Resources transferred its federal Direct Loans to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

As part of the transfer, Aspire Resources scrubbed its data about prior borrowers. So if you had Direct Loans through Aspire, you should contact MOHELA with any questions.

So what does Aspire Resources do now?

That doesn’t mean Aspires Resources shut down, though.

Today, the company “performs functions outside of Iowa Student Loan’s tax-exempt designation by providing services to employers, lenders, secondary markets, and postsecondary institutions,” according to its website.

In other words, it’s more of a business-to-business arm of the company — one you probably won’t need to deal with.

Introducing the Aspire Servicing Center

The platform you do need to know about is the Aspire Servicing Center. If you have loans from Iowa Student Loan or its partners, you’ll use the Aspire Servicing Center to manage them.

Founded in 2014, this website provides customer service to people who’ve taken out private loans with Iowa Student Loan or its partner lenders Alliant Credit Union, Ascentra Credit Union, or American State Bank.

Aspire student loan repayment options

To pay your loans through the Aspire Servicing Center, here are your options:

  • Standard repayment: You’ll make monthly payments for 10 years and pay the least interest with this plan.
  • Graduated repayment: Your payments will be lower to begin with and then increase every two years. You’ll pay off your loans in 10 years or less but pay more in interest over the lifetime of the loans.
  • Extended repayment: This plan is available only if you have more than $30,000 in Federal Family Education Loan Program Loans. You’ll have up to 25 years to pay off your loans, and you can make level or graduated payments.
  • Select 2: Available only for private loans, this plan allows you to make payments that are limited to mostly interest for the first two years. But you’ll end up paying more in interest in the long run.

For federal loans, you also can apply for an Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR) plan. An IBR plan sets your payments at 10 to 15 percent of your discretionary income. An ISR plan caps your payments at between 4 and 25 percent of your gross monthly income.

If you’re struggling to figure out the right repayment plan, you can call Aspire at (800) 243-7552 for help.

Making student loan payments to Aspire

The easiest way to pay your loans through the Aspire Servicing Center is by creating an online account.

aspire student loans

Image credit: StudentLoan.org

aspire loans

Image credit: StudentLoan.org

You’ll need to provide your name and Social Security number and then create a username, password, and security questions.

Deferment and forbearance options

If you’re struggling to make your payments, you can consider putting your student loans into deferment or forbearance.

With deferment, you can pause your payments for up to three years. Here are some of the reasons you might qualify:

  • You’re enrolled in school at least half-time.
  • You’re unemployed or suffering economic hardship.
  • You’re serving in the military or Peace Corps.
  • You have a Parent PLUS Loan and a dependent in school.
  • You’re in rehabilitation training or a fellowship program.

If you don’t qualify for deferment, you can look into forbearance, which pauses your payments for up to 12 months. Here are some situations that might make you eligible:

  • Your monthly payment is at least 20 percent of your total monthly income.
  • You lost your job or are experiencing a temporary financial difficulty.
  • You live in an area experiencing an emergency.
  • You’re serving in the National Guard or AmeriCorps.
  • You’re completing a medical or dental residency.

Unsubsidized Loans will accrue interest while in deferment, and all loans will accrue interest in forbearance. That means your loan balance might be substantially higher when you start paying again.

Aspire and military personnel

Aspire Servicing Center participates in programs that help soldiers with their student loans.

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, for example, the maximum interest rate you can be charged is 6.00%.

And under the Armed Forces Interest Reduction Program, you could have interest on your private student loans reduced to 0% for up to 24 months. To qualify, you must be on active duty, have a non-defaulted private student loan, and be deployed before June 30, 2019.

Aspire contact information

aspire resources student loans

Image credit: StudentLoan.org

If you need to call the Aspire Servicing Center, check out the following chart to see which number fits your needs.

If you’d prefer to reach Aspire via email, you can do so using its contact form.

For general correspondence or to submit forms, use the following address:

Aspire Servicing Center

P.O. Box 659705

West Des Moines, IA 50265-0970

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Get real rates from up to 4 Lenders at once

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.