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Ascent Blog

Education Finance Leader Delivers Resource in Response to Ongoing FAFSA® Issues

Jul 02, 2024 | By: Ascent
Category: In the Press

SAN DIEGO, June 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Ascent is committed to helping students plan, pay and succeed throughout their education and is proud to launch the “Ultimate Guide to Paying for College” through its partnership with AscentUP, a professional training and career readiness platform. A completely free resource AscentUP created for nonprofits, high schools, parents, and students, the interactive 10-minute guide offers an answer to this year’s adverse updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) application process.

The 2024–25 FAFSA form updates were intended to provide financial aid eligibility to more students through a streamlined application. Unfortunately, a three-month delay in the form’s access, coupled with debilitating errors and miscalculations, meant a 27 percent decrease in submissions compared to last year. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of FAFSA submissions to date need to be reprocessed due to student aid index calculation errors and incorrect tax data provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The impacts are so great that local governments have even declared this a “state of emergency” as seen most recently in West Virginia.

While many await their FAFSA fates, AscentUP’s “Guide” offers actionable tools to assist students and families in evaluating and making educated decisions around which college to attend and how to make it a financial reality. Through The Bright Futures™ Engine, students begin the course by learning how to select their ideal college based on criteria including costs, majors, faculty, location, and on-campus experience.

After understanding how to select their future college, students are guided through the options to make education affordable, including federal financial aid, scholarships, and employment. This includes an overview of how the FAFSA process is intended to work and what its results mean for families’ financial possibilities as well as where private loans can fill the gap between FAFSA and the actual cost associated with their selected college. Lastly, the Guide defines and educates students on common terms and strategies to pay off loans quickly and with confidence.

“As passionate arbiters of student success and ensuring loans result in positive outcomes, we are frustrated with the Department of Education’s lack of performance for college-bound students,” said Ken Ruggiero, co-founder and CEO of Ascent. “AscentUP’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Paying for College’ offers transparent and accessible tips and best practices to alleviate the stress students and families naturally face during their college application and admissions process. Our guide is even more crucial in the wake of this year’s appalling FAFSA errors.”

Because most higher education institutions require students to secure enrollment with a nonrefundable deposit by May 1, many still don’t know how much aid they will be eligible for, if at all. Consequently, approximately 700,000 students face an impossible decision surrounding college acceptance and the prospect of attending college at all. These blunders will further widen the education-to-employment gap that low income and first-generation students already experience. AscentUp and its Guide aims to help as many students as possible navigate the staggering repercussions created by this year’s FAFSA updates.

As a leader in outcomes-based lending and education finance, Ascent is committed to offering students the wrap-around support services and educational resources that are designed to help borrowers succeed and lead financially independent lives. Its investment in AscentUP and the “Ultimate Guide to Paying for College” advances its mission of setting students up for success, regardless of hardships or external forces.

To learn more about the “Ultimate Guide to Paying for College,” Ascent and its AscentUP program, visit

Ascent is a leading provider of innovative financial products and wrap-around student support services that enable more students to access education and achieve academic and economic success. Everything Ascent offers is designed by leading industry professionals and with advanced technology and innovation to increase every student’s ability to plan, pay, and succeed. Ascent’s rare Outcomes-based Loan provides funding to credit-invisible borrowers who generally do not benefit from traditional credit. Ascent products also include: Cosigned Loans, Solo Loans, Career Loans, Parent Loans, Graduate Loans, Access Loans, Enterprise Loans and Impact Loans. 

AscentUP is dedicated to bridging the education-to-employment gap and empowering students to achieve their full potential in the workforce. Through comprehensive training, coaching, and experiential learning opportunities, AscentUP aims to equip students with the skills and confidence needed for career success. For more information, visit

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