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About Ascent

What is Ascent?

Ascent is an innovative private student loan program that provides access to higher education funding for an expanded population of students, while encouraging the financial wellness of students and their families through financial literacy.

Why should I choose an Ascent loan?

The Ascent student loan program may provide more opportunities to qualify for a loan without a cosigner. The non-cosigned feature may provide broader access to higher education funding.  Ascent loans are competitively priced and offer repayment options that help you manage loan repayment. In addition, Ascent offers benefits that can help save money with an interest rate reduction of 0.25% for payments made via Automatic Debit and a 1% Cash Back Reward upon graduation (see below for additional rules)

Are there any incentives for the Ascent loans?

Yes, borrowers are eligible to receive the following incentives:

  • Automatic Debit Discount: Borrowers can get a 0.25% interest rate reduction if payments are made by Automatic Debit. iii
  • 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward: Borrowers are eligible to receive a 1% cash reward after graduation and upon meeting certain qualifying criteria. Learn More >

Refer a Friend: Borrowers are eligible to earn up to $600 (per year for referring their friends to Ascent. You will receive a $100 Gift Card for each referral (up to 6 friends) who submits an Ascent application that is approved, certified and disbursed.
 Learn more >

How does the Ascent Refer a Friend Program work?

 For full details about Ascent’s Refer A Friend Program, visit www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Refer.
    • Here is how you can start referring your friends:
      • Sign in or create an Ascent account.
      • Using the Ascent Referral Page, get your unique referral code.
      • Share your unique referral code on social media.  You can also copy the link and send it to your friends via email. 

    Here’s the breakdown:

    • You can earn $25 if someone you refer to Ascent Student Loans submits an application using your referral code and is conditionally approved for a loan. This requires that the applicant be new to Ascent Student Loans and that the applicant complete and submit the application as required.
    • You can earn an additional $500 if your friend’s loan application is approved and the loan is funded.
    • Your referred friend can earn $100 if the loan application is approved and the loan is funded.

    VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Open only to individuals who have created an account with the Ascent loan program at www.my.ascentstudentloans.com, are legal residents of the U.S. and are at least 17 years of age.

Who is Ascent Funding, LLC?

Ascent Funding, LLC is the loan processor that collects application information for underwriting and processing.

Who is Goal Structured Solutions?

Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (“GS2”) is the parent company of Ascent Funding, LLC, the loan processor.

Who is Richland State Bank?

Loans are made by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC.

Who is UAS?

University Account Service (UAS) is the loan servicer for the Ascent Student Loans. UAS is a leading student loan servicing company, and they are responsible for sending statements, processing payments, and providing general account guidance.

How do I contact UAS?

  • How Do I contact UAS?
    1. For loans before May 17, 2019 you can contact University Accounting Service (UAS) at 800-999-6227 or log into the repayment portal at www.uasecho.com.

Who is Launch?

For loans after May 17, 2019 Your servicer is Launch Servicing. Launch is a leading student loan servicing company, and they are responsible for sending statements, processing payments, and providing general account guidance.

How do I contact Launch?

For loans after May 17, 2019 you can contact Launch Servicing at 877-354-2629 Toll-free or log into the repayment portal at www.launchservicing.com

Eligibility Requirements

Why can’t I find my school on the Ascent website?

Your school may not be on our list of eligible institutions at this time. You may email us at [email protected] with your school information to confirm eligibility; otherwise, please contact your financial aid office for other financing options.

Can students that are Non-U.S. citizens apply?

Yes. A student who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.

Non-U.S. citizens are required to upload the following documentation to verify identity as applicable to your individual resident status:

  1.     U.S. Permanent Resident Aliens: Permanent Resident Card (USCIS form I‐551); or
  2.     Non-Permanent Resident Aliens (temporary residents): Valid visa – acceptable forms: F-1; J-1, M-1; E-1; H-1; L-1; G series; TN-1; TN-2; OR I-20 Form (pages 1 & 2 signed) AND Unexpired Passport from country of origin and

In addition to I or II above, applicants must upload the following:

  1.     Unexpired foreign passport; and
  2.     Copy of government issued document or identification that includes your national identification number. NOTE – For countries that include the national identification number on the passport, confirmation therein is sufficient.

Note: The option to apply to release the cosigner after making the first twenty-four (24) consecutive, regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time is only available to student borrowers that are U.S. citizens or have U.S. permanent resident status. Please see “Can I eventually remove the cosigner from my loan?” for more details

Can I qualify for an Ascent loan if I’m not full-time?

Students enrolled full time or at least half time at an eligible institution may qualify. Certain limitations may apply for such applicants that apply without a cosigner.

What are the Ascent Credit Requirements?

  • All applicants (student borrowers and cosigners) must meet the following credit criteria
    • Must not have defaulted on any private or government student loan; and
    • Have no reported bankruptcy within the past five (5) years; and
    • Have no unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures or garnishments by creditors; and
    • Have no settled or unpaid non-medical charge-offs or collection accounts that exceed $100 in total; and
    • Have no settled or unpaid medical charge-offs or collection accounts that exceed $500 in total;
  • If you are a Student Borrower applying with a cosigner, you must also meet:
    • FICO 600 or above
  • If you are a Cosigner, you must also meet:
    • FICO 660 or above
    • Have minimum two (2) years credit history with non-student loan trades
    • Have no delinquencies of sixty (60) or more days during the previous twenty-four (24) months
  • If you are a Student Borrower without a cosigner, you must also meet one of the following criteria:
    • If you have less than two years credit history:
      • You must meet the above credit requirements
      • You are not subject to any minimum FICO score
    • If you have more than two years credit history:
      • §  FICO 680 or above

§  Have no delinquencies of sixty (60) or more days during the previous twenty-four (24) months

What are the Ascent Income Requirements?

  • If you are a Student Borrower with or without a cosigner AND have less than 2 credit history:
  • THERE IS NO MINIMUM INCOME REQUIREMENT.
  • If you are a student borrower without a cosigner and have at least 2 years credit:
      • You will be tested against the following criteria to determine your eligibility for the most favorable rates and terms available:
        • Minimum gross annual income of $24,000; and
        • Must meet a monthly debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • If you are a Cosigner:
    • Minimum gross annual income of $24,000; and

Must submit satisfactory proof-of-income

NOTE – Ascent applicants without a cosigner AND less than two (2) years of non-student loan credit history are not tested against any minimum current annual income criteria.  Instead, they are evaluated based on their school of attendance, program, major and other criteria that does not consider current annual income.

How much can I apply for?

The maximum loan amount for Ascent loans are limited to the total cost of attendance for a period not to exceed one full academic year, less any financial aid, as certified by your school. Note: Your maximum loan amount may be less than the amount requested on your application due to school certification or other underwriting factors.

  • Maximum: $200,000 (aggregate total)
  • Maximum for academic year: $200,000 for credit tested loans; $20,000 for non-credit tested loans
  • Minimum: $2000

Do I need a cosigner?

Not necessarily. Ascent considers several factors, including: creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance, and other factors that allow for students to potentially obtain a loan in their own name without a cosigner. Nevertheless, applying with a cosigner may result in a lower interest rate.

  • Students that are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident may apply with a creditworthy cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident. Please see, “Are international students or cosigners eligible for an Ascent loan?”

Financial Literacy

What does it mean to be a cosigner?

A cosigner agrees to take equal responsibility for the loan. This means that if the student borrower is not able to make the payments, the cosigner is still legally obligated to pay the loan. Either party can make the required monthly payments.

What is “interest”?

Interest is the price paid for the use of borrowed money. It is typically expressed as a percentage rate over a period of time.

What is the interest rate?

Ascent loans are offered with a variable interest rate OR a fixed interest rate option.

  • Variable Rate: A variable interest rate may fluctuate over the duration of the loan.
  • Fixed Rate: Remains unchanged for the duration of the loan.

Applicants must select an interest rate option prior to accepting the loan offer. The interest rate is based on a number of factors and may be lower for a cosigned loan compared to a non-cosigned loan.

  • You will know your exact interest rate percentage after applying and selecting a repayment option.

Borrowers are eligible to receive an interest rate reduction of 0.25% for payments made via Automatic Debit. Borrowers will lose this benefit after two (2) non-sufficient funds payments, until they re-qualify and re-enroll in Automatic Debit payments.

How often does the variable interest rate change?

The variable interest rate changes the first of every month based on the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index that was published on the Wall Street Journal’s website (or any generally recognized successor method or means of publication) on the 20th day of the preceding calendar month i, rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. If LIBOR is no longer available, a comparable index will be used.

What is LIBOR?

“LIBOR” stands for London Interbank Offered Rate. LIBOR is a benchmark rate that some of the world’s leading banks charge each other for short term loans and is among the most common interest rate indices used to make adjustments to variable rate consumer loans. Ascent loans using a variable interest rate are adjusted monthly using the LIBOR index. Please see, “What is the interest rate.”

How is interest calculated?

Interest is calculated on a daily simple interest basis, using the outstanding principal balance each day of the term of the loan. The daily interest rate is equal to the annual interest rate in effect on that day, divided by the actual number of days in the current calendar year.

When does interest accrue?

Interest will begin to accrue as of the disbursement date on the principal amount of the loan and will continue to accrue on any outstanding balance. Interest will also accrue during periods of non-payment, including periods of authorized deferment or forbearance. Interest is capitalized upon entering a repayment period status and at the end of any authorized deferment or forbearance.

What is capitalization?

Whenever you have gone through an authorized period during which you are not required to make payments, such as during an In-School, grace, deferment or forbearance period, as well as during periods of repayment wherein your regularly scheduled monthly payment does not satisfy the interest amount due for that period, interest will continue to accrue on your loan and be added to the principal balance when you start making payments again. You will learn more about capitalization when you complete our application and the financial literacy course.

How are funds disbursed?

Loan proceeds are sent directly to the school, either electronically or by check, depending on the preference of the school. The school first applies loan proceeds to your outstanding balance (tuition, fees, etc.) If there are remaining funds after all balances are paid, the school will refund the money to you in accordance with the school’s refund procedures.

Application Process

How long does the Application Process take/When will I receive the funds?

Ascent Funding, LLC, the loan processor, will work to process loan applications quickly and efficiently but will need your help to speed the process along. The loan process is broken out into 4 easy steps:

  1.     Submit your application and receive a preliminary decision
  2.     If conditionally approved, choose a repayment plan
  3.     Complete your tasks and upload your required documents to the Ascent Portal (1-2 business days for review)
  4.     Your loan is sent for school certification (see below)

Your loan is sent to your school for certification/validation. Ascent Funding, LLC recommends reaching out to your school to find out how long their certification process takes as each schools certification process may vary.

Once your loan is certified by your school, you will receive your final disclosure and be notified of your disbursement dates. Your school may certify your loan for a lower amount and/or change your graduation dates or disbursement dates, which will require you to accept the new terms.  If your school fails to certify your loan, it will be denied.

How can I check the status of my loan?

If you are looking for information regarding your Ascent loan application in process or pending disbursement(s):

If you have questions about an existing loan, such as payment, deferment or forbearance information, please contact the loan servicer, University Accounting Service (UAS) at 800-999-6227 or at www.uasecho.com.

Can I edit my application after I submit?

Yes, there a few instances where you may need to edit an application, however, some edits may require a reapplication. You can request an edit to your application by emailing [email protected] or call us at 877-216-0876. Please allow 1-2 business days for all corrections.

Why must I complete a Financial Literacy module in order to receive a loan?

Ascent Student Loans includes an interactive course on Financial Literacy as a no-cost feature for students and cosigners to complete as part of the application process. It is a required activity within the application process because we believe it to be an important component of supporting the financial wellness of our Ascent Student Loan borrowers.

Can I grant a third-party access to information about my loan in the event that I become deceased?

Yes, if you are approved for a loan, your loan will be onboarded to the servicing platform after disbursement. You will then have the opportunity to designate an authorized third-party representative via the servicer, University Accounting Service.

Can I eventually remove the cosigner from my loan?

Yes. You can apply to release your cosigner after making the first twenty-four (24) consecutive, regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner, including meeting the program requirements for a solo student borrower, as well as electing to make payments via Automatic Debit. The student borrower must make the request to release a cosigner directly with the Lender or Servicer. Note: The option to apply to release the cosigner is only available to student borrowers that are U.S. citizens or have U.S. permanent resident status.

What can I use the money for?

Proceeds from Ascent loans are intended for education related expenses at an eligible school. Education related expenses include tuition & fees, room & board, books, etc.

Can an Ascent Student loan be used to cover the cost of past due tuition balances?

Ascent Student Loans may be used to cover educational related expenses as certified an eligible school for a loan period not to exceed one full academic year.  All Ascent loans must be certified by the school prior to the end of the loan period for which the loan proceeds are to be used. An Ascent loan may only be used for a past due balance if the enrollment period for which the past due balance persists is included in the loan period within the same academic year, and the loan is certified by the school prior to the end of the loan period.

Do you offer forgiveness for death and/or disability?

Yes. The loan is forgiven if the student dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled. The loan is NOT forgiven in cases where the non-student borrower, including any cosigner, dies or becomes totally or permanently disabled.

What is a certification and how long does the certification process take?

Ascent Funding, LLC offers certified student loans. A certification is information that we send to your school’s financial aid office in order to verify amount needed for tuition, fees, enrollment status, GPA, and academic grade level.  Please note that Ascent is unable to disburse funds and complete the application process without successful completion of the certification process from the approved school. Ascent Funding, LLC recommends reaching out to your school to find out how long their certification process takes, as each schools certification process may vary. Additional documentation may be required of the student from your school prior to completion of the certification.  Once certified by your school, Ascent will send the school certified funds on the closest available date the school requests. Please contact your financial aid office regarding your school’s timeframe for certifications.

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Payments

Is there a penalty or fee if I pay off my loan early, before the repayment term?

No. With Ascent loans you will not incur any fees or penalties if you prepay your loan (either in whole or in part) before the repayment term.

What are my Repayment Options and Terms?

 

 

  • You may be eligible for the following repayment options if you:

 

      • Apply with a cosigner (or)
      • Apply without a cosigner and the student borrower has more than 2 years credit history, minimum FICO 680, and have a minimum gross annual income of $24,000
    • Interest Only: The Interest-Only Repayment option requires that while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution, the borrower will pay at least the interest that accrues on the loan each month. Upon graduation or if no longer enrolled at least half-time, the borrower will make full Principal and Interest payments for the remaining term of the loan.
    • $25 Minimum Payment: The $25 Minimum Payment option requires that while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution, the borrower will pay a monthly payment of at least $25. Upon graduation or if no longer enrolled at least half-time, the borrower will make full principal and interest payments for the remaining term of the loan. Any unpaid interest will accrue and capitalize upon entering full principal and interest repayment.
    • Deferred Repayment: The Deferred Repayment option allows for the borrower to postpone principal and interest payments on the loan while the student is at least half-time enrolled at an eligible institution for a period of up to sixty (60) months. Interest accrues during this In-School period and is capitalized upon entering repayment. Repayment begins six (6) months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution (either by graduation or otherwise).
  • Terms: Flexible 5-year, 10-year or 15-year repayment terms may be available depending on the loan options you select. There’s no penalty for early repayment. Ascent borrowers who choose a loan term of fifteen (15) years WILL ONLY receive a variable interest rate. For certain loans with low balances, the minimum monthly payment amount may cause the loan amortization schedule to be less than the selected term.

 

  • You may be eligible for the following repayment options if you:

 

      • Apply without a cosigner and DO NOT meet the current income or credit requirements

Deferred Repayment: The Deferred Repayment option allows for the borrower to postpone principal and interest payments on the loan while the student is at least half-time enrolled at an eligible institution for a period of up to sixty (60) months. Interest accrues during this In-School period and is capitalized upon entering repayment. Repayment begins six (6) months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution (either by graduation or otherwise).

When do payments begin?

  • If you choose the Deferred Repayment plan, you will not be required to make payments up to 6 months after leaving school. The first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days thereafter. Please see “what are my repayment options and terms”
  • If you choose the “Interest Only” or “$25 minimum payment” plans, the first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days after the first disbursement on the loan. Please see “what are my repayment options and terms”

What will be my monthly payment?

Monthly payments are based on the loan amount, repayment term, interest rate and the selected repayment plan.

You can view repayment examples here: https://ascentstudentloans.com/Rates  

Do you Consolidate/Refinance?

  • Consolidate: Making one payment to multiple loans; If you have multiple Ascent Student Loans you will be making one payment to your servicer that will be distributed between the originated Ascent loans. Please see “How do I contact UAS” for contact and repayment portal information
  • Refinance: Revise the interest, payment schedule, and terms of a previous credit agreement; No, Ascent Student Loans does not refinance either originated loans nor other private/federal loans.

What are my deferment / forbearance options?

A borrower may request deferment in writing, or by completing and signing a deferment form and providing the appropriate documentation requested on the form. All deferments after the In-School period are provided solely at the lender’s discretion. Interest shall continue to accrue on loans during periods of authorized deferment. Unpaid interest is capitalized when the deferment period ends. Ascent Student Loans include the following deferment and forbearance options:

  • Active Duty Military Deferment
  • In-School Deferment
  • Residency / Internship Deferment
  • Temporary Hardship Forbearance
  • Administrative Forbearance v

Active Duty Military Deferment

A borrower is eligible for an Active Duty Military Deferment upon submitting an application for such and eligible documentation to the repayment Servicer showing that he or she is serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency.

  • Active Duty Military Deferment is available up to a cumulative limit of 36-months.
  • This deferment DOES extend the repayment term.

In-School Deferment

Student borrowers that have exited an In-School Status, either by separating from school (or dropping to less than half-time enrollment) and subsequently entering a repayment status prior to re-establishing at least half-time enrollment at an eligible institution, or by using the maximum allowable months of In-School Status, may be eligible for an In-School Deferment. Student borrowers must apply for an In-School deferment, and eligibility is based on verification of at least half-time enrollment at an eligible institution.

  • This deferment DOES extend the repayment term.

Residency / Internship Deferment

Student borrowers may be eligible for a Residency / Internship Deferment if the student:

  • Has been accepted into a Residency / Internship program which must be a supervised program; and
  • Require that the student hold at least a bachelor’s degree before acceptance into the program; and
  • Must either:
    • Lead to a degree or certificate from an institution of higher education, a hospital, or a health facility that offers postgraduate training, or
    • Be required before the student may be certified for professional practice or service, which must be verified by the relevant state licensing agency.
  • This deferment DOES extend the repayment term.

Borrowers are limited to a combined total of forty-eight (48) months of eligibility for In-School & Residency / Internship Deferment described above.  

Temporary Hardship Forbearance

Borrowers experiencing periods of financial difficulty may be granted forbearance. The forbearance period duration may be from a minimum of one (1) month to a maximum of three (3) months. A borrower may apply for up to four (4) consecutive periods of Temporary Hardship Forbearance. A maximum of twenty-four (24) total months of Temporary Hardship Forbearance may be granted during the life of the loan. Interest shall continue to accrue on loans during periods of authorized forbearance. Unpaid interest is capitalized when the forbearance period ends.

  • This forbearance DOES extend the repayment term.

Administrative Forbearance

An administrative forbearance may be used for temporary suspension of collection activity while researching borrower disputes, awaiting bankruptcy and death documents, or for other circumstances as approved by the Lender. Interest shall continue to accrue on loans during periods of authorized forbearance. Unpaid interest is capitalized when the forbearance period ends.

  • This forbearance DOES extend the repayment term.

i If the 20th day of the preceding calendar month is not a business day where the banks of both New York and London are open for the transaction of business, then the previous business day will be used to determine the current index. If the annual capitalization date is a non-business day for the Lender or Servicer, then the interest will capitalize on the next business day.

ii The maximum loan amount may not exceed the amount requested on the application. Additionally, subject to applicable law, the Lender reserves the right to approve a final loan amount that could be less than the amount requested on the application or as certified by the school. Because the Ascent non-cosigned option is available to student borrowers with no credit history or limited history students without any reliance on cosigners, several factors may come into consideration for the maximum loan amount, including: creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Processing times may be longer and loan amounts may be significantly lower than the loan amount requested.

iii 0.25% Automatic Debit interest rate reduction applies only when the borrower or cosigner signs up for automatic payments and the regularly scheduled, current amount due (including full, flat, or interest only payments, as applicable) is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. Borrowers lose this benefit after two (2) Non-sufficient Funds payments, until they re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of In-School, Deferment, Grace or Forbearance.

Still have questions?

Email your questions to [email protected].

Or talk to our knowledgeable customer support associates.

877-216-0876