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Ascent Blog

Ascent Launches New Bright Futures™ Engine to Bring Transparency to the College Decision Making Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, SAN DIEGO, CA (December 10, 2019) – From chemical engineering to sociology, a student’s future earnings after graduation and cost of attendance should be part of their overall college decision. As a part of their mission to solve the student debt crisis, Ascent Funding, LLC, an award-winning, private student loan company that gives students more opportunities to pay for college with or without a cosigner, launched their Bright Futures™ Engine to empower students and bring transparency to the college decision making process.


“Now more than ever, students need to understand college is a big investment of both time and money,” said Kim McNealy, Chief Marketing Officer at Ascent. “We believe giving students the power to see the cost of attendance and their expected future salary will have a substantial impact on where they decide to go to school and which degree program they pursue.”


Ascent’s Bright Futures Engine aims to help students evaluate the return of their educational investment by major, school, expected post-graduation income, and cost of attendance for in-state and out-of-state colleges.



Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit Ascent’s Bright Futures Engine
  2. Choose a desired school from the dropdown list
  3. Select a major from the next dropdown list
  4. The school and major will appear with details on the cost of attendance and the first-year average salary for college graduates


Once a school and major populate, students can add their expected financial aid amount to customize their results even further. If students want to keep exploring, they can “favorite” their results for future comparisons.


Ascent leverages proprietary and public data sources, including data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the College Scorecard, to power the Bright Futures Engine. It includes most majors from Title IV bachelor’s degree programs.


Ascent Bright Futures Engine results are shown as an index by dividing the cost of attendance for one year by the expected first-year salary after graduation multiplied by 100.


Schools with higher Bright Futures indexes have greater returns of their educational investment. For indexes greater than 999, a spaceship icon will appear, meaning the average first-year salary is 10 times greater than the yearly cost of attendance.


Here’s what students are saying after giving Ascent’s Bright Futures Engine a try:

  • “I was surprised how low the first year of salary was for Bio majors in most areas of Florida, and that the cost of attendance was almost the same amount as the yearly salary.” Gianna M.


  • “I was surprised to see that the average income was lower than what I expected. I think this is very helpful though.” Tatiana R.


  • “Based on my results from the Bright Futures™ Engine, I was surprised to learn that the cost to attend my college was nearly as much as what I will be making as a registered nurse!” Rachel B.


In addition to bringing more transparency to the college decision-making process, Ascent is also helping students prepare for challenges they might face before, during, and after college. They’re committed to supporting students as they learn how to budget, make smarter financial decisions, navigate through college, and find a job or internship.

Watch this video of Ken Ruggiero, CEO of Ascent, discussing the need for transparency in data provided by colleges regarding starting salaries with Richard Muscio on The ANSWER San Diego:



So, Ascent leaves you with the question: Do you know how much your college degree is worth? To put your degree to the test, please visit and try Ascent’s Bright Futures Engine.



Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed above are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organization, employer or company, including Ascent Funding, LLC, and/or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries.

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