Ascent is the only lender that offers a student loan specifically for students without a cosigner. Instead of looking solely at your credit score, the lender considers school, major, GPA and predicted future income. Ascent also offers a student loan for borrowers who need a cosigner or are creditworthy enough to qualify on their own.
Ascent Student Loans Review
For borrowers without a cosigner and little credit history, Ascent may be your best option as it offers a non-cosigned student loan specifically for borrowers like you. Most lenders don't require students to apply with a cosigner but highly recommend it, as most students lack enough credit history to qualify. On the other hand, Ascent looks at more than just your credit history to determine your loan eligibility, including your school, major, GPA and predicted future income.
The major drawback to getting a loan with Ascent is the rates the lender offers. For students with a cosigner or sufficient credit history, the lender's rates only make sense for borrowers with good credit, as its upper bound of rates are some of the highest we've seen. Otherwise, the lender is standard in terms of its repayment plans, deferment and forbearance policies. So, if you're like most borrowers looking for the best rates, there are other student lenders to consider with both lower starting rates and maximum rates.
Who Can Qualify for Ascent Student Loans?
Ascent's Cosigned Credit-Based Loan option is available to undergraduate and graduate borrowers, while the lender's Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan option is only available to junior, senior or graduate students with a 2.5 GPA or greater. Cosigners and borrowers who apply for the Cosigned Credit-Based Loan option are required to have a credit score of 660 or above and a gross annual income of at least $24,000. However, the Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan option eligibility considers many factors in addition to credit history, including major, cost of attendance, graduation date and school.
|Credit score||540 or higher*|
|Cosigner||Yes, release permitted after 24 on-time payments|
|Accepted citizenship status|
|Eligible schools||Title IV public and private institutions|
*Student borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 540 in cases where a cosigner has a credit score of 740 or higher; otherwise, the student must have a minimum credit score of 600.
Ascent Student Loans Rates, Terms and Fees
If you have bad credit, Ascent is not a good option for you, as it has some of the highest rates we've seen. Students must apply for at least $1,000 and can only borrow up to $200,000 in loans, including federal and private loans, to qualify for a Ascent Student Loan. Students can choose from three loan terms and Ascent has no fees, besides a late fee that ranges from $5 to $25.
Ascent Cosigned Loan Option Features
|Loan type||Private student loan|
|Loan amount range|
*Rates are effective as of 3/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.
Ascent's Non-Cosigned Credit-Based Loan and Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan have the same rates as its Cosigned Credit-Based Loan option. However, students can only choose from two loan terms, having the option of 10 or 15 years to repay their loan. Similar to the Cosigned Credit-Based Loan option, there are also no fees associated with this loan besides the late fee.
Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan Option Features
|Loan type||Private student loan|
|Loan amount range|
*Rates are effective as of 5/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.
How to Repay Your Student Loans
Ascent only offers deferred repayment for its Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan option and three different repayment plans for its Cosigned Credit-Based Loan option: interest-only, $25 minimum payment and deferred repayment. With these options, you can choose to pay only the interest, a $25 monthly payment while in school or wait until after you complete school to pay off your loans. The majority of students defer their student loan payments until after graduation, but you can decrease your loan amount by starting to pay down the balance while in school.
Deferment and Forbearance
Ascent will only let you defer repayment while in school for up to 60 months. And like most lenders, the loan company gives borrowers a grace period of six months after leaving school before repayment starts. Borrowers may request other deferments in writing. If you can't make your loan payments, Ascent allows you up to 24 months in total of forbearance if you have a temporary hardship or need administrative forbearance.
|Grace period upon leaving school or falling below half-time status||6 months|
To be allowed forbearance, you must have a qualifying financial situation. You can declare forbearance for a minimum of one month to a maximum of three months and you may apply for up to four consecutive periods of temporary hardship forbearance.
|Permitted Period||Up to 24 months|
|Conditions||Must be experiencing financial hardship, unemployment, excessive debt burden or medical disability.|
How Does Ascent Compare to Other Student Lenders?
Compared to other student lenders, Ascent stands out because it offers specific loans for borrowers without a cosigner. However, Ascent has higher rates than online lenders like CommonBond and has some of the highest upper bound of rates we've seen for borrowers with low credit scores.
|Loan types offered|
|Loan amount||$5,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses|
|In-school repayment options||Interest-only, fixed payment or deferred||Immediate, interest-only, fixed payment or deferred|
|Cosigner||Yes, release permitted after 24 on-time payments||Yes, release permitted after 36 on-time payments|
- *Rates include a discount with autopay
Ascent vs CommonBond
Unlike Ascent, CommonBond will cover up to 100% of school expenses and offers students better rates than Ascent, both on the high and low end. Rates from CommonBond reach 9.64%, while Ascent's fixed rates go up to 14.5%, which is close to a 5-point difference in interest. Ascent would only be the better student loan option if you cannot find a cosigner, you don't have enough credit history and you qualify for the lender's independent student loan. Otherwise, CommonBond is the better option for most borrowers as it provides more reasonable student loan rates with similar loan repayment plans to Ascent.