Frequently Asked Questions

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?

We give you more opportunities to qualify for a loan in your own name. This allows for more students to gain access to higher education funding – in some cases without a cosigner. Ascent loans are competitively priced and offer repayment options that help you manage loan repayment. In addition, Ascent offers you more opportunities to save money with an interest rate reduction of 0.25% for payments made via Automatic Debit and a 1% Cash Back Reward upon graduation. iv

What types private student loan products does Ascent offer?

Every student’s situation is different, so we offer two loan products to help you get the additional money you need:
  • Ascent Tuition is a loan product best suited for students with little to no credit history, utilizing a cosigner. This loan sets students up for financial success with financial literacy and has a cosigner release option after 24 months.
  • Ascent Independent: Ascent Independent is an innovative non-cosigned loan designed with students in mind. Eligible Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students may qualify based on their future earning potential, satisfactory academic progress and credit history. (see qualifying requirements.)

What are the qualifying requirements for an Ascent loan?

The eligibility requirements for an Ascent depend on which loan product you select:
  • Ascent Tuition: We consider several factors including: creditworthiness, school, cost of attendance and other factors. Ascent Tuition loans are for college students who are at least half-time enrolled in a degree program at an eligible institution. Students who are 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.
  • Ascent Independent: We consider several factors including: creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Ascent Independent is for college students who are enrolled full-time in a degree program at an eligible institution with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.50 from the institution for which the loan is being used to finance eligible education expenses. Students applying for Ascent Independent must be U.S. citizens or have U.S. permanent resident status.

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 for an Ascent Tuition loan 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; 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. *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

Do I need to be a full-time student to obtain an Ascent loan?

  • To be eligible for the Ascent Tuition loan, students must be enrolled at least half-time or accepted for half-time enrollment in a degree program at an eligible institution.
  • To be eligible for the Ascent Independent loan, students must be enrolled at least full-time or accepted for full-time enrollment in a degree program at an eligible institution.


How do I know if my enrollment status is considered full-time?

College students (both undergraduate and graduate) that are enrolled in a degree program at an eligible institution that measures progress in credit hours and uses standard term (semesters, trimesters, or quarters) for less than 12 units are considered half-time. Students taking 12 or more units are considered full-time.

What does “creditworthy” mean?

We consider several factors to determine creditworthiness, including, but not limited to minimum credit requirements:
  • Student Borrowers with a Cosigner
    • Must not have defaulted on any private or government student loan.
    • No reported bankruptcy within the past five (5) years.
    • No unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures or garnishments by creditors.
  • Student Borrowers without a Cosigner
    • Must not have defaulted on any private or government student loan.
    • No delinquencies of sixty (60) or more days during the previous twenty-four (24) months.
    • No reported bankruptcy within the past five (5) years.
    • No unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures or garnishments by creditors.
    • No charge-offs or collections accounts that exceed $100.
    • Depending on factors including: length of credit history, income and existing credit obligations, student borrowers without a cosigner may be required to meet the minimum FICO® score as determined by Ascent Student Loans.
  • Cosigners
    • Must not have defaulted on any private or government student loan.
    • No delinquencies of sixty (60) or more days during the previous twenty-four (24) months.
    • No reported bankruptcy within the past five (5) years.
    • No unsatisfied repossessions, judgments, tax liens, foreclosures or garnishments by creditors.
    • No charge-offs or collections accounts that exceed $100.
    • Minimum two (2) year credit history with non-student loan trades.
    • Meet the minimum FICO® score as determined by Ascent Student Loans.

What are the income requirements for cosigners?

A creditworthy cosigner, must meet the following repayment capacity requirements:
  • Minimum gross annual income of $24,000.
  • Must meet a monthly debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • Must submit proof-of-income and be continuously employed for the past 2-years.

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. A variable interest rate fluctuates over the duration of the loan. Please see, “How often does the variable interest rate change?” Subject to any rate reductions or modifications, a fixed interest 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.
  • Ascent Tuition: Click here for current Ascent Tuition fixed and variable rates.
  • Ascent Independent: Click here for current Ascent Independent fixed and variable rates.

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.

What do I do if I am unable to find my school when I try to apply for an Ascent loan?

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 school and ask if they have a list of preferred lenders.

What can I expect after I apply?

We do everything we can to process loan applications quickly and efficiently but we need your help to speed the process along. First, we will review your credit and in many cases can provide an initial credit result when you and your cosigner (if applicable) submit your application. However, often we will ask you for additional information or documentation before we can approve your loan for funding. If you are applying for an Ascent Independent loan, processing times may be longer and approved loan amounts may be significantly lower than the loan amount requested. See also “What is the maximum loan amount?” below.

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.

What is the maximum loan amount?

The maximum loan amount for Ascent Tuition and Ascent Independent 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 The maximum aggregate loan amount Ascent Tuition and Ascent Independent is $200,000.

Is there a minimum loan amount?

Yes. The minimum loan amount for Ascent Tuition and Ascent Independent is $2,000.

What are the repayment terms?

  • Ascent Tuition applicants may choose between a 5-year, 10-year or 15-year repayment term (60 months, 120 months, or 180 months, respectively), depending on the interest rate option. Click here to view Ascent Tuition repayment examples.
  • Ascent Independent applicants may choose between a 10-year or 15-year repayment term (120 months or 180 months, respectively), depending on the interest rate option. The repayment term is selected during the application process and may not be changed once the loan is funded. Sample repayment examples are available: Click here to view Ascent Independent repayment examples.
 

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?

Ascent Tuition applicants must select a repayment program when applying for the loan, but may change their repayment option during the In-School period. Borrowers may choose from one of these repayment options:
  • 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.
Click here to view Ascent Tuition repayment examples.

The Ascent Independent loan is only offered with a Deferred Repayment option during the In-School period.
  • 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.
Click here to view Ascent Independent repayment examples.

Do I have to make payments while I’m enrolled in school?

  • Ascent Tuition: When selecting your Ascent Tuition repayment plan, you have the option of making payments while enrolled in school, or you can choose the Deferred Repayment plan and start payments up to 6 months after leaving school.
  • Ascent Independent: The Ascent Independent loan is only offered with a Deferred Repayment plan during the In-School period.
Even if you choose a Deferred Repayment plan, you always have the option to make payments and there is no penalty for early repayment.

When do payments begin?

Under the Deferred Repayment plan, 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), which applies to both the Ascent Tuition and Ascent Independent loans. The first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days thereafter. Under the Interest Only or $25 Minimum Payment plans of Ascent Tuition, the first payment due is typically thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days after the first disbursement on the loan.

Is there a grace period for repayment?

Yes, borrowers are entitled to a six (6) month grace period that begins upon the date that the student ceases to be at least half-time enrolled at an eligible institution. Borrowers are required to make only the same payments as the during In-School period during the grace period; however, any unpaid interest accrues during this grace period and is capitalized upon entering repayment. Borrowers will enter a repayment status upon expiration of the grace period, and the first regularly scheduled payment will be due approximately thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days from that date.

Are there any repayment incentives for the Ascent loans?

Yes, borrowers are eligible to receive the following repayment 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. iv

What will be my monthly payment?

Monthly payments are based on the loan amount, repayment term, interest rate and the selected repayment plan.
  • Ascent Tuition: Click here to view Ascent Tuition repayment examples.
  • Ascent Independent: Click here to view Ascent Independent repayment examples.

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

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?”

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.

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.

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.

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 Independent and Ascent Tuition 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.

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.

Who is Goal Structured Solutions?

Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (GS2” is the Originator Processor for the Ascent Student Loans.

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?

You may contact University Accounting Service (UAS) at 800-999-6227 or log into the repayment portal at www.uasecho.com.
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 Independent loan is available to 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.
iv In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
  • The student borrower must initiate the request for the granting of the graduation reward.
  • The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
  • The student borrower must provide adequate documentation to verify proof-of-graduation under the requisite degree program.
  • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
  • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
  • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  • The loan must not have been refinanced or consolidated with another lender prior to redeeming the reward.
  • The student borrower must enroll in Automatic Debit payments for repayment of the loan.
  • The student borrower must provide information that enables the Lender to deliver the funds electronically.
  • The Lender (or loan owner at the applicable time) will calculate the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward based on the original principal balance of the applicable loan.  Such amount will be sent to the student borrower in an agreed upon format such as direct deposit or check.
  • The student borrower is only eligible to receive the reward one time

v Deferment & Forbearance

    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.

Contact Us

Call 877-216-0876 toll-free, Monday – Friday from 7:00AM to 4:00PM (PDT) or email us at [email protected] or use the form below.  Please include your phone number and best time to reach you.

NOTE: For loan application status, please log into your online account at my.ascentstudentloans.com.