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College Loans

PhD Student Loans & Master’s Student Loan Options

Reach your education goals with flexible Master’s and PhD student loans from Ascent.

Check your rate without impacting your credit score.

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

Fixed APR

4.79% - 15.41%*

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

Variable APR

7.74% - 15.85%*

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  • Your payment may change each month
  • Your interest rate may vary with the market conditions

*Rates displayed above are effective as of 07/23/2024 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on credit-based loans when you enroll in automatic payments. The Full P&I (Immediate) Repayment option is only available for college loans (except for outcomes-based loans) originated on or after June 3, 2024. For more information, see repayment examples or review the Automatic Payment Discount Terms and Conditions. The final amount approved depends on the borrower's credit history, verifiable cost of attendance as certified by an eligible school and is subject to credit approval and verification of application information. Lowest interest rates require full principal and interest payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples below, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.

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Customize your PhD or master's student loan repayment options

Flexible Repayment Plans (available while enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school and during Grace Period)

*The Full P&I (Immediate) Repayment option is only available for college loans (except for outcomes-based loans) originated on or after June 3, 2024. (See Terms & Conditions.)

In-School Period

Postpone Payments

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 PhD and master's student loans with Ascent

  • No application, origination, or disbursement fees

  • No penalties for early repayment

  • 1% cashback graduation reward + discount for automatic payments

  • Refer a friend and earn an Gift Card1 for each friend you refer

  • Defer payments up to 9-months after graduation or leaving the program

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How to get your PhD or master’s student 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.

  • Satelite
    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.

  • Astronaut
    Step 2

    Customize your loan details

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

  • Clipboard
    Step 3

    Complete any open loan tasks in your Ascent portal

    After you choose your loan terms, complete any loan application tasks in your Ascent portal.

  • Moneybag
    Step 4

    We pay the school

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

Ready to start your loan application?

See your rates today without impacting your credit score.

Apply Now
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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 health professions 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.

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

Yes. Many PhD and Master’s students apply for federal loans. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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 your living expenses, a private student loan for your Master’s program or PhD and scholarships may give you the relief you need.

The maximum loan amount for an Ascent loan is limited to the total cost of attendance for a period not to exceed one full academic year, including any financial aid you receive, as certified by your school. Note: Your maximum loan amount may be less than the amount requested on your application due to the school certification or other underwriting factors.

  • Minimum: $2,001*

  • Maximum (aggregate): $400,000 for Graduate Loans

  • Student borrowers may borrow up to their institution’s cost of attendance as certified by the school and may not exceed the aggregate loan limits as stated above.

*The loan minimum amount is $2,001 except for the state of Massachusetts. Minimum loan amount for borrowers with a Massachusetts permanent address is $6,001.

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.

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, and your funds will be sent directly to your school – any money that doesn’t go toward your school’s necessary funds will be sent to you to cover additional expenses.

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 U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.

DACA students may apply on their own with the proper documentation or with a qualified cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.

Yes. Ascent awards over $80,000 in scholarships every year. Enter for your chance to win our monthly scholarships in 3 easy steps – no essay required. To learn more about scholarships, visit here.

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

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

If you have questions or concerns about your PhD or Master's student loan application, 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.

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Pursuing a Different Educational Route?

Ascent provides private student loans for various graduate student routes. If your heart isn't set on a PhD or master's degree, we can still help you out! Check out our other graduate loan options.

Graduate Loans

1Restrictions apply, see

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Time’s Ticking! ⏰ Take advantage of new lower rates on college student loans from 3.79% to 15.86% APR*

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*Annual Percentage Rate; See rates and repayment examples