Competitive PhD student loan & Master's student loan interest rates

Variable Rates

5.14% - 14.40%*

  • Your payment may change every month.
  • Your interest rate varies and changes with market conditions.
Fixed Rates

5.62% - 16.75%*

  • Make the same payment every month.
  • Your interest rate is set the day you apply and doesn’t change.

*Rates displayed above are effective as of 11/15/2022 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on credit-based loans when you enroll in automatic payments. For more information, see repayment examples or review the Ascent Student Loans Terms and Conditions.
**Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Customize your Master’s student loan or PhD loan repayment options

Flexible Repayment Plans

  • $25 minimum* if you want to get started on your payments while you’re still in school.
  • In school interest-only repayment if you can afford larger payments while in school.

Extended In-School Period

  • The maximum in-school period is 36 months.
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Postpone Payments

  • The grace period allows you to postpone payments up to 9 months after graduation, giving you time to focus on what matters.

*Want to see what your repayment plan and monthly payments could look like? Check out our loan repayment examples to help you make your decision.

5 Benefits of Master’s and PhD student loans with Ascent

  • No application, origination, or disbursement fees
  • No penalties for early loan payoff
  • 1% cashback + discount for automatic payments
  • Refer a friend and earn $525 for each friend who takes a loan
  • Defer payments up to 9 months after graduation
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How to get your PhD student loan or Master’s loan

You’ve already put a lot of work into preparing for your PhD or Master’s. Getting the financing you need shouldn’t stop you now. We’ve streamlined our application process so you can get your funds without getting a headache.

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    Step 1:

    Submit your pre-qualification

    We ask you to provide important information such as your name, address, date of birth, the school you’re applying to, and employment information. If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll also enter their information.

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    Step 2:

    Select your repayment plan

    Once your completed loan application is approved, you’ll be able to view your repayment options and select the loan terms that work best for you.

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    Step 3:

    Complete your Ascent Portal tasks

    After you choose your loan terms and accept your disclosures, your Ascent Portal will be populated with tasks to complete. These tasks include a financial wellness quiz and providing us with any additional information we need to prepare your loan.

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    Step 4:

    We pay your school

    When your portal tasks are complete, we send your loan for school certification. Once certified, we’ll disburse your loan directly to your school.

Ready to start your loan application?

See your rates today without impacting your credit score.

Apply Now

Additional ways to pay for your PhD or Master’s degree

Federal financial aid

Many PhD and Master’s students take out federal loans first by filling out the FAFSA, then seek more funding through scholarships and private student loans. Using the FAFSA for Master’s loans and PhD student loans can give you an overview of your federal student loan options.

If your federal aid doesn’t cover all your costs, taking out a private student loan can keep you from stressing over your budget while you’re studying.


Ascent also gives out more than $80,000 in scholarships every year to students attending college, graduate school, and bootcamps. There are many chances to win, so make sure to check in regularly to see which scholarships we’re currently running.

Financial wellness tips for PhD and Master’s degree students

To help you with your student loans for graduate school, we incorporate financial wellness into our application process. This gives you exclusive access to tips and resources to prepare you for financial success in school and after graduation.

Frequently asked questions about a PhD or Master’s student loans

Can I take out a federal loan for my Master’s degree or PhD?
Yes, many PhD and Master’s students apply for federal loans. You can complete the FAFSA for your Master’s loan or PhD loan then cover additional expenses with private student loans. The federal student loans available to you may consist of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Grad PLUS Loans.

If your federal student loans don’t cover all of your living expenses, a private student loan for your Master’s program or PhD and scholarships may give you the relief you need.

How much can I take out in PhD student loans or a student loan for a Master’s degree?
The maximum loan amount for Ascent loans is limited to the total cost of attendance for one full academic year, minus any financial aid, as certified by your school. Keep in mind that your school may certify your loan for less than the amount that you requested.

  • Minimum:  $2,001
  • Maximum (aggregate): $200,000 for Undergraduate Loans; $400,000 for Graduate Loans
  • Maximum for the academic year:
  • $400,000 for Graduate Credit-Based Loans

Is a student loan for a Master’s degree or a PhD student loan worth it?
Depending on your program and personal goals, taking loans for a PhD or Master’s degree can be well worth it. Planning out your budget in advance and setting yourself up for success can minimize your stress during and after college.

Ascent provides financial tips and ideas to help students succeed – we’re here to help you get the most out of your student loans.

How does a PhD loan or a Master's student loan work?
PhD student loans and Master’s loans with Ascent work in 4 easy steps. After you’ve been accepted to your school, you can begin the application for your loan. Once you’ve pre-qualified for your loan, you can accept the loan and customize your repayment options. We’ll keep you updated on additional tasks and documents that need to be uploaded.

Finally, your school will certify the amount you’re approved for and your funds will be sent directly to your school – any money that doesn’t go towards your school’s necessary funds will be sent to you to cover additional expenses.

Can international students get student loans for a Master’s program or a PhD loan?
Yes, Ascent’s PhD student loans and Master’s student loans are available for international students attending U.S.-based institutions. To apply for our student loan for graduate school as an international resident, you’ll need to apply with a creditworthy cosigner. Your cosigner must be a resident of the United States.

DACA students may apply solo with proper documentation or with a qualified cosigner.

Don’t see your question? Check our FAQ page.

Contact us for help with your PhD student loan or Master’s loan

If you have questions or concerns about student loans for PhD programs or Master’s degree student loans, don’t hesitate to contact Ascent. We’re available to assist you and provide clarification on the loan application process, as well as any additional information you need to help make your decision.

Fill out our contact form to reach the Ascent team.

Pursuing a different educational route?

Ascent provides private student loans for various graduate student routes. If your heart isn’t set on dentistry, we can still help you out! Check out our other graduate loan options.

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