Ascent Student Loan, a prominent private lender, has emerged as a reliable source of financial support, empowering students to access higher education without undue financial stress. In this article, we will explore the key features and benefits of the Ascent Student Loan, shedding light on how it enables students to achieve their educational dreams.
Understanding Ascent Student Loan
Ascent Student Loan, a division of ReliaMax, is a private lender specializing in providing student loans to help bridge the gap between educational aspirations and financial realities. Ascent Student Loan aims to support students from all walks of life, offering various loan options that cater to undergraduate and graduate students.
Key Features and Benefits
- Credit-Based Loans and Non-Cosigned Loans: Ascent Student Loan provides credit-based loans, making them accessible to students with an established credit history. Moreover, Ascent also offers non-cosigned loans, which can be beneficial for students who may not have a creditworthy cosigner.
- No Application Fees: Ascent does not charge any application fees for their student loans. This allows students to explore their borrowing options without incurring any upfront costs.
- Cosigner Release Option: For borrowers who initially apply with a cosigner, Ascent offers a cosigner release option, allowing the cosigner to be removed from the loan after meeting specific credit and repayment criteria.
- Academic-Based Loans: Ascent offers unique academic-based loan options that take into account a student’s academic performance, course of study, and potential future earnings. This approach provides tailored solutions for students pursuing high-demand and potentially higher-earning fields of study.
- Financial Education Resources: Ascent is committed to empowering students with financial knowledge. They provide resources and tools to help borrowers understand student loans, budgeting, and overall financial management.
- In-School Interest-Only Payments: Ascent offers the option of making interest-only payments while borrowers are in school, helping to reduce overall loan costs and minimize debt upon graduation.
Considerations and Responsible Borrowing
While Ascent Student Loan offers several benefits, responsible borrowing is essential to ensure a sound financial future. Here are some considerations and tips for responsible borrowing:
- Borrow Only What You Need: Carefully assess your educational expenses and borrow only what is necessary to cover those costs. Avoid taking out loans for non-essential expenses.
- Explore Federal Aid First: Before considering private loans, students should explore federal financial aid options, such as grants, scholarships, and federal student loans, which may offer more favorable terms.
- Understand Loan Terms: Thoroughly review the loan terms and conditions, including interest rates, fees, and repayment options. Understanding these details will help you make informed financial decisions.
- Budget Wisely: Create a budget to manage your finances effectively during your academic journey. Stick to your budget and avoid unnecessary expenses that could lead to additional debt.
Types of Student Loans Offered by Ascent
Ascent offers a number of different types of student loans that potential borrowers can choose from. These include:
- Cosigned Undergraduate Loans (Credit-Based): For borrowers pursuing their undergraduate degree and who will be applying with a cosigner. The terms of these loans are determined by the applicant’s credit score.
- Non-Cosigned Undergraduate Loans (Credit-Based): For borrowers pursuing their undergraduate degree and who do not have a cosigner. The terms of these loans are determined by the applicant’s credit score.
- Non-Cosigned Undergraduate Loans (Future Income-Based): For qualifying juniors and seniors who are applying for a loan without a cosigner. The terms of this loan are impacted by your major and field of study.
- Graduate Student Loans: For borrowers pursuing a general graduate degree
- MBA Student Loans: For borrowers pursuing their MBA
- Medical School Student Loans: For borrowers earning a graduate degree in a medical field such as optometry, osteopathic, podiatric and veterinary medicine
- Dental School Student Loans: For borrowers seeking a graduate degree in dentistry
- Law School Student Loans: For borrowers seeking their law degree
Ascent Interest Rates
As a private lender, Ascent’s interest rates are not set by law the same way that the interest rates on federal student loans are. This means Ascent can charge whatever they want for interest rates, so long as they are being competitive enough to attract lenders.
Interest rates on private student loans are typically determined by a number of factors, including:
- Your income: Whether or not you have a source of income, and how much you make, may impact your interest rates.
- Your credit score: This number is meant to measure how risky you are as a borrower. The higher your score, the less risky you are seen to be, and the more likely you will qualify for lower interest rates.
- Your cosigner status: If you apply with a cosigner, you are much more likely to qualify for lower interest rates than if you apply for the loan on your own.
Ascent, like other lenders, typically advertises their lowest possible interest rates in an attempt to attract borrowers. (Makes enough sense!) But it’s important to realize that these hyper-low rates are very difficult to qualify for. Generally speaking, they are typically reserved for borrowers with excellent credit scores and/or are carried by loans with variable rates instead of fixed rates.
Ascent Pros and Cons
Pros of Borrowing from Ascent
- No fees: Ascent does not charge application, origination, or prepayment fees, though they do charge late fees.
- Options for borrowers without cosigners: The future income-based student loan from Ascent offers borrowers without a cosigner a path towards receiving a loan.
- 0.25% auto pay discount: Borrowers who sign up for auto pay can reduce their interest rate by a quarter percent
- 2.00% auto pay discount (for future income-based loans): Borrowers of future income-based student loans can receive a discount of 2% by signing up for auto pay.
- 1% cash back graduation reward: Borrowers who graduate on time can receive 1% of their total loan amount as a cash-back reward
- 9-month grace period: Undergraduate student loans come with a 9-month grace period during which time payments do not need to be made, which is actually more generous than the 6-month grace period typical of federal student loans
- Cosigner release: Borrowers who apply for their loan with a cosigner can release the cosigner from the loan after making 24 consecutive, on-time monthly payments
Cons of Borrowing from Ascent
- Interest rates not set by law: While it’s possible for some borrowers with excellent credit scores to qualify for extremely low rates, the majority of Ascent borrowers are likely to pay higher interest rates than they would for comparable federal student loans.
- Limited deferment options: Though Ascent offers some deferment options for borrowers who are returning to school, accepted into a residency program, or enter the military, these options are limited compared to the deferment and forbearance options offered by federal student loans.
- Not eligible for forgiveness: Unlike federal student loans, which may qualify for forgiveness in certain situations, Ascent student loans do not.
- No guaranteed acceptance: Whereas unsubsidized undergraduate federal student loans are made available to borrowers regardless of credit score or financial situation, private student loans (including those offered by Ascent) have much stricter eligibility requirements.
How to Apply for a Student Loan Through Ascent
To apply for an Ascent student loan, all you need to do is visit their website and click “Apply Now.” This will start the application process.
To check your rates, you will need to provide information about:
- The school you will be attending
- The degree you are pursuing
- Your field of study/major
- Your enrollment status (half-time vs full-time)
- Your anticipates month and year of graduation
- Your name and contact information
- Your Social Security Number and date of birth
- Your rent or mortgage payment
- Your employment status
- The amount of financial aid you are receiving
- The amount you need for the loan
Upon submitting this information, your credit (and that of your cosigner, if you are applying with one) will be checked using a soft pull, which will not impact your credit score. This will allow Ascent to very quickly determine whether or not you prequalify for one of their loans. If you do, you will be given a range of possible interest rates based on this initial check.
If you decide to move forward with a full application, Ascent will perform a full credit check (which likely will impact your credit) that will allow them to give you a final interest rate offer.
College loans are designed with you in mind.
Ascent helps you cover up to 100% of your cost of attendance and other school-related expenses (up to $200,000 for undergraduate loans and $400,000 for graduate loans*) at over 2,200 colleges nationwide by offering undergraduate and graduate loans for students.
*The final amount approved depends on the borrower’s year in school, credit history, and certified cost of attendance, and is subject to credit approval and verification of application information.
For students with a creditworthy cosigner – See eligibility requirements.
For students without a cosigner who qualify based on credit and minimum income – See eligibility requirements.
For full-time juniors and seniors with a 2.9+ GPA and no cosigner – See eligibility requirements.
How to get your college student loan
You’ve already put a lot of work into preparing for college.
Submit your pre-qualification
We ask you to provide important information such as your name, address, date of birth, the school you’re applying to, and employment information. If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll also enter their information.
Select your repayment plan
Once your completed loan application is approved, you’ll be able to view your repayment options and select the loan terms that work best for you.
Complete your Ascent portal task
After you choose your loan terms, your Ascent portal will be populated with tasks to complete. These tasks include a financial wellness quiz and providing us with any additional information we need to prepare your loan.
We pay your school
When your portal tasks are complete, we send your loan for school certification. Once certified, we’ll disburse your loan directly to your school.
How to Contact Ascent
If you need to contact Ascent, you can do so through the options below. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 6am to 6pm Pacific Time; Friday and Saturday, 7am to 4pm. They are closed on Sunday.
Ascent Funding, LLC
501 W. Broadway Ste. A150
San Diego, CA 92101
Alternatives to Ascent
While Ascent offers some interesting loan options for borrowers, the fact remains that they are private student loans. These loans are almost guaranteed to be more expensive and less flexible than other student loan options like federal student loans, state-based student loans, and institutional student loans.
Ascent Student Loan has proven to be a valuable resource for students seeking financial support to pursue their educational dreams. With a range of loan options, competitive interest rates, and a commitment to responsible borrowing, Ascent empowers students to access higher education without undue financial burden.
By understanding the terms of their loans and borrowing responsibly, students can embark on their academic journey with confidence, knowing they have a reliable financial partner in Ascent Student Loan. With this valuable support, students can focus on their studies and make the most of their college experience, paving the way for a successful and fulfilling future.