3 Tips If You’re Having Trouble Making Student Loan Payments
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Maybe you’re cramming for your first college finals ever or getting ready to apply for graduation. Either way, we get it. The last thing you want to worry about is paying off your private student loans. However, avoiding a phone call to your lender or not setting up a repayment plan can impact your financial wellness for years to come.
Ascent is here to help you understand your options so you can focus more time on school and less time worrying about your private student loans. If you have an Ascent student loan, here are 3 tips to set you up for success before your first payment is due.
Tip #1: Learn About Ascent’s Repayment Options
Repayment Options with Ascent Loans
Your repayment options for an Ascent loan depend on the type of loan you have.
For Ascent’s Cosigned and Non-Cosigned Credit-Based Loans, you can choose from 3 repayment options:
- Start making payments up to nine months after graduating or leaving school, otherwise known as a Deferred Repayment option; or
- Make a minimum payment of $25 while enrolled in school at least half-time and start making payments up to nine months after graduating or leaving school; or
- Choose to make an interest-only payment while enrolled in school at least half-time and start making payments up to nine months after graduating or leaving school.
Pro Tip: If you’re in school and having trouble making payments on a $25 Minimum or Interest-Only repayment plan, you can request to change it to Ascent’s Deferred Repayment option which gives you up to nine months after graduating before your first payment is due.
For Ascent’s Non-Cosigned Outcomes-Based Loans, there is one option available to you:
- Deferred Repayment Plan where you start making payments up to nine months after graduating or leaving school.
Pro Tip: Regardless of your repayment plan, you can always choose to make a payment at any time. With Ascent loans, you won’t incur any fees or penalties if you pre-pay your loan.
Ascent’s Progressive Repayment Option
Ascent’s Progressive Repayment option can help make your payments more affordable after graduation or if you’re no longer enrolled at least half-time in school. If you submitted an Ascent loan on or after May 17, 2019, you may be eligible for Ascent’s Progressive Repayment option, where you start with lower payments that slowly increase over time so that you still meet your original loan term.
To check your eligibility and calculate your adjusted monthly payment amounts under the Progressive Repayment option, please contact your loan servicer, Launch Servicing, directly after your loan has been disbursed:
How it works – Here’s an example:
The great thing about this option is that your payments are lower when you start your career and are making less money, so it is more affordable in the beginning. We know this may be a little confusing to understand, so we’ve provided an example for you.
If your loan balance is $12,784.32, and your interest rate is 6.93% at the time you enter repayment, then you’re probably set up to make 120 payments of $147.98.
If you choose to call Launch Servicing and opt-in for Ascent’s Progressive Repayment option, your payments may look like this when you enter repayment:
- 24 payments @ $88.76
- 24 payments @ $110.86
- 24 payments @ $143.36
- 48 payments @ $226.43
If you have an Ascent loan and have questions regarding the repayment options available to you, check out our FAQs.
Tip #2: Know How to Pause Your Payments
In times of financial hardship, you can defer or request forbearance to pause payments on your private student loans temporarily. Ascent offers different deferment and forbearance options for unique situations, like becoming active duty military or during national emergencies like a pandemic (COVID-19).
Ascent’s Deferment Options
If you have a loan with Ascent, you may be eligible for three different deferment options.
- Active Duty Military Deferment: If you’ve become active duty or know you’re about to become active military, you may be eligible for Ascent’s Active Duty/Military Deferment. With this option, deferment may be available for a cumulative 36-months.
- In-School Deferment: You may be eligible for Ascent’s In-School Deferment to pause your student loan payments temporarily. With this option, you can potentially stop payments for a combined 48-months.
- Residency/Internship Deferment: If you’ve recently accepted a residency or internship program, you may be eligible for Ascent’s In-School Deferment. There are a few eligibility requirements to request this deferment option. For example, your program must be supervised and must lead to an additional degree or certification. With this option, you may be eligible for a combined 48-months of deferment.
It’s important to know that for these three options, your repayment terms will be extended. Suppose you were planning to finish paying your loans within five years. In that case, it can be extended for another 3 or 4 years, depending on the deferment option you request. At the same time, interest will continue to add to your original loan amount, so you may end up paying more in the long run.
If you think you might be eligible for any of these deferment options, please contact Launch Servicing, to submit a request. To learn more about Ascent’s deferment options, visit the page below.
Ascent’s Forbearance Options
Similar to Ascent’s deferment options, you may be eligible for different forbearance options depending on your situation.
- Temporary Hardship Forbearance: Ascent’s Temporary Hardship Forbearance allows you to pause payments in times of financial hardship. You can request this forbearance option for a minimum of 1-month or a maximum of 3-months, and you may apply for up to 4 consecutive periods. In total, you can pause your payments for a maximum of 24-months.
- Administrative Forbearance: If you’re currently disputing any of your loans with Ascent or waiting for bankruptcy documents, you may be eligible for Ascent’s Administrative Forbearance. It might include additional circumstances, depending on your situation.
- Natural Disaster/Declared Emergency Forbearance: Ascent’s newest forbearance option allows you to temporarily pause payments on your student loans in times of natural disasters or emergencies. This forbearance option can be used for a maximum of 3-months. Plus, it will not be counted against your other forbearance options, if you find you need to request Ascent’s Temporary Hardship Forbearance in the future.
To request Ascent’s Natural Disaster/Declared Emergency Forbearance, please contact Launch Servicing.
Tip #3: Understand Defaulting & How to Avoid it
We understand, life happens, and money can get tight. Before you miss a payment and your account may become delinquent (which can impact your credit), consider requesting a different repayment option with Launch Servicing. You can also check to see if your situation qualifies for forbearance or deferment which can give you extra time before your next payment is due.
To give students more time to pay, late fees are assessed 10 days after the past due date. To keep late fees to a minimum, we charge 5% of the unpaid amount that’s past due or $10, whichever is less. After so many missed payments, your Ascent student loans may enter default.
In the event you default on your student loans:
- It may show up on your credit report for up to 7 years.
- You may be required to immediately pay the entire balance of the loan, plus any interest and fees accumulated on the original loan amount.
- Your college may withhold your academic transcripts, impacting your ability to apply for graduate school, or apply for jobs that require college transcripts.
The ugly truth is, even after you’ve defaulted on your student loans, you still owe your full loan amount. Remember, this may be avoided by making a phone call to Launch Servicing (877-354-2629) and setting up a repayment plan that works best for you.
We know this is a lot to take in, so to recap:
- Make sure you understand the repayment plan you selected for your Ascent loan – you can request to change it while you are still in school. Ascent’s deferred repayment plan gives you up to 9 months after graduating before your first payment is due.
- If you find yourself having trouble making your minimum loan payments after graduating, consider Ascent’s Progressive Repayment option to make your payments more affordable while starting your career.
- In times of financial hardship or major life events, you may qualify for Ascent’s forbearance and deferment options to pause your payments for up to 4 years (48 months) for deferment and up to 2 years (24 months) for forbearance depending on your situation. Remember: Both of these options extend your original loan term and interest is capitalized.
- If you’re struggling to make a payment, contact Launch Servicing and set up repayment plans that work for you:
- Call: Contact your lending specialist at Launch Servicing at 877-354-2629 toll-free Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM central time.
- Email: [email protected]
- Online Portal: Log into your account at LaunchServicing.com.
- Mobile App: Manage your account from anywhere – download from the App Store or on Google Play and login with your existing user credentials (available for student loan borrowers only).