We are here to help

As always.

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. We advocate awareness of the potential financial outcomes of your college choices (school, major, years in school, financing your education), helping you visualize where your career could go and what it could be – encouraging better decisions today to open up greater future opportunities.

Why should I choose an Ascent loan?

The Ascent Student Loan program provides more opportunities to qualify for a loan without a cosigner. The Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan 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 a 1% Cash Back Reward upon graduation and an Automatic Payment Discount of at least 0.25% and in some cases up to 2.00%. The Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month.  (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)

Are there any incentives for the Ascent loans?

Yes, borrowers are eligible to receive the following incentives:

  • Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers can get either a 0.25% or 2.00% interest rate reduction (depending on loan terms) if payments are made by automatic payment. The Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month.  iii  (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
  • 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: Earn up to $525 for each friend you refer – There’s no limit to what you can earn! See below for additional details or Learn More »

How does Ascent’s Refer A Friend Program work?

For full details about Ascent’s Refer A Friend Program, visit 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 via social media, text or 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 completes and submits 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 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 Richland State Bank?

Richland State Bank, Member FDIC, is the lender for Ascent Student Loans.

Who is Launch Servicing?

Your servicer is Launch Servicing. Launch Servicing, a leading student loan servicing company, is responsible for sending statements, processing payments, and providing general account guidance.

How do I contact Launch Servicing?

Contact Launch Servicing at 877-354-2629 toll-free or log into the repayment portal at 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. 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 or has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status 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 1. or 2. above, applicants must upload the following:
a. Unexpired foreign passport; and
b. A 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.

  1. DACA status: Documentation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that indicates DACA status that does not expire before the end of the enrollment period for which the loan is being requested.

 

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 and is not available to DACA students. (See FAQ, “Can I eventually remove the cosigner from my loan?”)

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?

Ascent’s credit decisioning criteria is proprietary and subject to change, but you can check what rates you pre-qualify for in just four (4) steps without impacting your credit score. We consider credit history and several other factors including, but not limited to, credit score.

 

  • Cosigned Credit-Based Loan
    • Student borrowers must have a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner.
    • Cosigners must have more than two (2) years of credit history with a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your borrower.
  • Non-Cosigned Credit-Based Loan
    • Student borrowers must have more than two (2) years of credit history with a minimum credit score.
  • Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan
    • Eligible student borrowers with less than two (2) years of credit history are not subject to any minimum credit score. (See Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan eligibility requirements.)

What are the Ascent income requirements?

  • If you are a student borrower with or without a cosigner AND have less than two (2) years of credit history:
  • There is no minimum income requirement. See NOTE below.
  • If you are a student borrower without a cosigner and have at least two (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 for the current and previous year; and
    • Must meet a monthly debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • If you are a cosigner:
    • Minimum gross annual income of $24,000 for the current and previous year; 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 is 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. ii

  • Minimum: $1,000
  • Maximum: $200,000 (aggregate total)
  • Maximum for academic year: $200,000 for Credit-Based Loans; $20,000 for Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loans

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 have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status or 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. (See FAQ, “Can students that are Non-U.S. citizens apply?”)

Financial Wellness

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.

 

Ascent’s credit decisioning criteria is proprietary, but you can check what rates you pre-qualify for in just four (4) steps without impacting your credit score.

  • The interest rate is based on a number of factors and may be lower for a Cosigned Credit-Based Loan compared to a Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan.
  • You will know your exact interest rate percentage after applying and selecting a repayment option.
  • Applicants must select an interest rate option prior to accepting the loan offer.

 

Borrowers are eligible to receive an Automatic Payment Discount of either 0.25% or 2.00% (depending on loan terms) which is applied when eligible borrowers are making automatic payments via auto debit from their personal checking account. Borrowers will lose this benefit after two (2) non-sufficient funds payments, until they re-qualify and re-enroll in Automatic Debit payments. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)

How often does the variable interest rate change?

Ascent loans using a variable interest rate are adjusted monthly using the LIBOR index. (See FAQ, “What is LIBOR?”)

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. i (See FAQ, “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 wellness 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 pre-qualified, accept your offer and 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. We recommend reaching out to your school to find out how long their certification process takes as each school’s certification process may vary and can take weeks.

 

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 Ascent loan?

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

  • Visit AscentStudentLoans.com to log into the borrower portal
  • Call Ascent Customer Service directly at 877-216-0876

 

If you have questions about an existing loan, such as payment, deferment or forbearance information, please contact the loan servicer, Launch Servicing, at 877-354-2629 toll-free or log into the repayment portal at LaunchServicing.com.

Can I edit my application after I submit?

Yes, there’s 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 calling us at 877-216-0876. Please allow 1-2 business days for all corrections.

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

Ascent Student Loans includes an interactive course on Financial Wellness 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 Launch Servicing platform after disbursement. You will then have the opportunity to designate an authorized third-party representative via the servicer, Launch Servicing.

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 loan holder 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 and is not available to DACA students.

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 by an eligible school for a loan period not to exceed one full academic year. All Ascent loans must be certified by the school within 180-days from the end of the loan period for which the loan proceeds are to be used. At the time of request, the student must be enrolled or registered for enrollment at (or graduated from) the same institution listed on the application. The student must have been enrolled during the prior enrollment period for which the loan is requested and must not have withdrawn with no intention of re-enrolling, as verified by the school.

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 cosigner dies or becomes totally or permanently disabled.

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

Ascent 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 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.

Browser Issues?

For the best online experience, we recommend using a Chrome™ browser. Chrome™ is a registered trademark of Google LLC.

Payments

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

No. With Ascent Student 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?

Please see Ascent’s repayment examples.

  • You may be eligible for the following repayment options if you:
    • Apply with a cosigner; (or)
    • Apply without a cosigner and have more than two (2) years credit history, meet the minimum credit score, are prequalified, and have a minimum gross annual income of $24,000 for the current and previous year

 

  • Interest Only Repayment: 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 Repayment: The $25 Minimum Repayment 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).

 

  • Upon graduation or no longer being enrolled at least half-time from school, you may additionally be eligible for the following repayment option:
  • Graduated Repayment: The Graduated Repayment option requires monthly payment amounts that start with an amount that is less than a fully-amortizing payment amount that step-up over time such that the loan would be fully paid within the original loan term. (See FAQ, “What is the Graduated Repayment Option?” )

When do payments begin?

  • If you choose the Deferred Repayment plan, you will not be required to make payments up to six (6) months after leaving school. The first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days thereafter. (See FAQ, “What are my Repayment Options and Terms?”)
  • If you choose the “Interest Only” or “$25 Minimum” repayment plans, the first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days after the first disbursement on the loan. (See FAQ, “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. Please see Ascent’s repayment examples.

What is the Graduated Repayment option?

Upon graduation or no longer being enrolled at least half-time, borrowers who took an Ascent Student Loan that was submitted on or after May 17, 2019  may be eligible for the Graduated Repayment option. The Graduated Repayment option requires monthly payment amounts that start with an amount that is less than a fully-amortizing payment amount that step-up over time such that the loan would be fully paid within the original loan term. To calculate your adjusted monthly payment amounts under the Graduated Repayment Option, please contact the loan servicer directly after your loan has been disbursed. You may contact the servicer at:

Launch Servicing, LLC
P.O. Box 91910 | Sioux Falls, SD 57109
Phone: 877-354-2629
Email: [email protected]
Website: LaunchServicing.com

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 Student Loans. (For Launch Servicing contact and repayment portal information, see FAQ “How do I contact Launch Servicing?”)
  • 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 Automatic Payment Discount: Interest rate reduction of either 0.25% or 2.00% (depending on loan terms) applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. The amount of the discount is dependent upon the loan product and credit history of the borrower at the time of application. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction.  (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)

Still have questions?

Email your questions to [email protected].

Or talk to our knowledgeable customer support associates.

877-216-0876