Ascent Student Loans Review

If you have to take out a private student loan, you may as well get some cashback in the process. Ascent makes your bank account climb back up with its cashback rewards programs.

Fixed APR
3.78%–14.75%
Loan Amount
$1K–$200K
Fees
5% of past due amount
SimpleScore
3.6 / 5.0
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SimpleScore Ascent 3.6
Rates 2
Perks 5
Transparency 4
Loan Amount 3
Fees 4
  • Up to 2% APR discounts available
  • Cashback on graduation
  • No cosigner needed
  • Lower loan amounts for student loans

Ascent loans was created by Richland State Bank and Goal Solutions, Inc., which manages $26 billion in consumer assets and has managed consumer loans since 2001. The Ascent loan company is headquartered in San Diego, California, and provides cashback opportunities and financial wellness education and apps to students who have taken out loans. You can take advantage of Ascent savings through programs like the 1% cashback after graduation program. Based on our Ascent loans review, Ascent may be one of the best student loans because of its student-friendly perks.

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In this article

    Ascent at a glance

    LenderLoan AmountAPR TermsKey Benefit
    Ascent$1,000–$200,000 each year 3.78%–12.75% fixed; 2.96%–11.24% variable5-year, 10-year, 15-year or 20-year repayment termsGet 1% cash back after graduation

    Rates accurate as of September 21, 2020

    What we like about it

    Ascent gives students plenty of ways to earn cashback, including its 1% cashback program after graduation, $525 cashback rewards for referrals, shopping cashback and automatic payment discounts of up to 2% off your APR. Ascent also links students up with the loan management app Chipper to keep them on top of payments. It also recommends the Changed app to round up purchases and put spare change toward student loan payments.

    You may be able to get an Ascent loan without a cosigner or release a cosigner after 24 consecutive on-time payments, another perk for some borrowers. There are also flexible repayment terms, ranging from five to 20 years.

    Things to consider

    Ascent doesn’t disclose your specific rates until you’ve gone through the prequalification process. The process won’t affect your credit score, but it does take time and requires you to input personal information. If you’re craving transparency before you move forward with a student loan, this lender isn’t for you.

    Private student loan lenders like Ascent also may be more expensive compared to credit unions. It pays to compare your student loan options and look into credit unions as an alternative if you need a private student loan.

    What you need to know

    Ascent offers student loans to undergraduate and graduate college students. Ascent provides flexible student loan repayment terms of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years to students, including those with limited credit history. There’s no penalty for paying off your loan early. 

    You can get an idea of your rate by going through the prequalification process. You’ll have both fixed and variable rate options available. There are no origination fees to get a loan with Ascent.

    You may be able to get an Ascent loan without a cosigner. If you have a cosigner, you can apply to release your cosigner after 24 consecutive on-time payments.

    Once you’ve received your prequalified rates, you customize your loan terms with Ascent. Then, you’ll upload the required documents, such as proof of enrollment in college. Once you’re approved and certified, you’ll receive funds to pay for school.

    Ascent offers deferred payment options. These include a nine-month grace period for Ascent undergraduate, law, MBA and health and graduate professional loans; a 12-month grace period for Ascent dental loans and up to a 36-month grace period for Ascent medical loans. There are also interest-only or $25 minimum repayment plans.

    To get a discount on payments, borrowers can sign up for Ascent’s automatic payment plan. Borrowers can get either a 0.25% or a 2% interest rate reduction depending on loan terms.

    To enroll in the 1% cash back graduation perk, students must be enrolled in automatic debit payments and meet certain other criteria for eligibility. Borrowers can also earn up to $525 for every friend referred to the program. Friends who are referred receive referral payments, too.

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    Ascent vs. Sallie Mae

    Sallie Mae’s terms aren’t as flexible as Ascent, with no 20-year option for repayment. A major advantage to Sallie Mae student loans, however, is that part-time students are eligible for them. With Ascent, you have to be enrolled at least half-time in a college program. That makes Sallie Mae a better choice for part-time students who might be taking night classes, career certification courses or other types of schooling. Sallie Mae student loans cover up to 100% of the cost of attendance.

    Ascent vs. Discover

    For borrowers interested in cash rewards, Discover private student loans are another option. You’ll have to get good grades, though. Students have to maintain a 3.0 GPA to receive a 1% cash reward of the loan amount. Discover is also more limiting in terms, though, with only a 15-year option only for undergraduates. You can also use Discover to cover up to 100% of the cost of attendance, and like Ascent, the minimum loan amount is $1,000. If you’re confident you can get a 3.0 GPA or better in college, you could save more money by going with Discover student loans.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore™

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best student loans of 2020.

    Max Fixed Rate

    Lenders who offered a lower maximum fixed rate were awarded higher scores.

    Perks

    We awarded higher scores for lenders that list more perks including services, discounts and special offers for their borrowers.

    Transparency

    Lenders that laid it all bare by publishing important data about products — APR, offered loan amounts, applicable fees and customer support contact links — scored higher for transparency.

    Loan Amount

    Lenders that offered higher loan amounts compared to others received higher scores. 

    Fees

    We awarded higher scores to lenders that have fewer loan fees for borrowers. 

    Nicki Escudero

    Contributing Writer

    Nicki Escudero is a freelance writer and journalist with more than 18 years of experience in the publishing industry, writing for international publications such as USA Today, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, American Art Collector magazine and the Arizona Republic. She is passionate about helping readers discover helpful tips that lead to happier, healthier lives. A former Australian expat, Nicki has a passion for world travel and loves to learn about new cultures.