Aspire Student Loans Review: Rates, Options, And Public Opinion


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A lot of attention is given to student loan lenders when considering getting a loan. One of the most overlooked group of players in the student loan process are the loan servicers. A loan servicer is a company that will handle payments. This is the company you’ll usually communicate with about issues concerning deferment, forbearance, or loan forgiveness. A loan service can make your life easy, so it’s helpful to know about this company. Aspire student loans is one of the eminent loan servicers for private and federal student loans.  Discover how Aspire compares with other companies in the student loans industry.

What Is Aspire Student Loans?

Aspire Resources Inc., the company behind Aspire student loans, is based in West Des Moines, Iowa. The company was founded in 2001 and provides loan servicer and loan data transfer services. The company started servicing private student loans as well as federal direct student loans in April 2012 and was awarded a big contract for 200,000 loans by the Department of Education under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

In 2015, Aspire shocked the student loan world when it announced that it would stop servicing federal direct loans. The company subsequently transferred student loan accounts under its control to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). However, the company continues to provide direct loan servicing as a for-profit entity and has re-branded itself as the Aspire Servicing Center. The company is known to actively service loans for American State Bank, Alliant Credit Union, and Ascentra Credit Union, among others.

Product Specs  

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Because Aspire does not provide student loan origination, refinance, or consolidation services, you will likely not see an option to choose this company among others. The servicer is normally chosen by the lender, and the borrower will normally be stuck with the servicer for better or worse. Aspire is one of the most popular loan servicers today. Aspire Student Loans has a number of repayment plans that include the standard plan, graduated, and extended loan repayment plans. There are also income-based and income-sensitive repayment plans.

Aspire Student Loans offers several payment forms. Popular methods of payment include auto-debit, monthly mail payments, payments by phone, and more. The company, however, does not give a discount for auto-debit service.

Aspire also offers several repayment terms. The standard repayment option enables the borrower to make payments over a 10-year period. The best interest rates are normally reserved for borrowers that choose this plan. Under the graduated plan, payments will start off lower and increase every two years. These loans will also be paid within 10 years. The company also offers the extended repayment plan in which students who have more than $30,0000 in federal loans can make payments in up to 25 years.

The company’s Select 2 option, which is only available to private student lenders, enables borrowers to make interest-only payments in the first two years. Borrowers who choose this method will pay more in interest in the long run, however. The company also offers Income-Based Repayment (IBR), an option that sets payments at about 10 to 15 percent of the borrower’s income and Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR), a policy that sets payments at 4-25 percent of their gross monthly income.

Aspire student loans allows for forbearance of up to three years for people who are enrolled in school, unemployed or otherwise having economic hardships, enrolled in the military, or undergoing rehab or a fellowship program. The company’s forbearance policy allows lenders to pause payments for up to 12 months. This option may be offered in cases of temporary financial hardships, if the borrower is in the National guard or AmeriCorps, if the borrower has a medical or dental residency, or if at least 20 percent of the borrower’s monthly income goes into the loan payment.

Aspire Student Loan Fees

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The company does not directly charge fees. Any prepayment penalties, origination fees, application fees, or late payment fees if any are levied by the lender.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.     

  • Perkins Loans
  • LendingTree Student Loans
  • List Element

Aspire Student Loans

  • FEES
  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

The company does not charge origination, application, late payment, or early payment fees. Loans serviced by this lender might have some of those fees, but fees are decided by the lender not the servicer.

​N/A

The company does not provide direct lending services and therefore does not set the interest rates.

2 of 5 stars

Although this company used to service federal direct loans, it has since stopped and handed over those loans to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). The company now offers loan servicing services exclusively to private businesses. Companies whose loans Aspire Student Loans services include Alliant Credit Union, American State Bank, and Ascentra Credit Union.

4 of 5 stars

Reviews of this company are overwhelmingly positive and although we have seen some negative reviews regarding Aspire Student Loans, we didn’t come across any reviews that accused this company of fraud or misleading borrowers. Most complaints are about excessive communication or lack of communication by Aspire.

4.0 of 5 stars

The company offers flexible repayment terms of up to 25 years for private student loans. The most common payments terms are of 10 years. You can choose graduated payments, in which case the payments increase by 10 percent every two years. The interest-only plan enables borrowers to pay interest only in the first two years.

PROS

  • Positive feedback from borrowers

CONS

  • No discount if you use auto-debit
  • No longer servicing federal loans

Perkins Loans

Perkins Loans is a financial assistance program available to qualified needy undergraduate and graduate students. The program is run jointly by selected schools and the federal government. About 1,700 institutions currently participate in this program. To qualify, a student must demonstrate that he has an “exceptional financial need” and must be enrolled at least part-time in one of the qualifying schools.

Funds for this program come from three sources: the federal government, existing repayments on loans, and participating schools. Unlike other federal government loan programs, funds for these loans are disbursed directly by the school and it is also up to the school to decide who they are giving this kind of loan to. In addition to forgiveness and forbearance, borrowers of Perkins Loans qualify for student loan interest reduction.

  • FEES
  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

There are no fees for Perkins Loans

$

4.5 of 5 stars

Current interest rates for this program are fixed and at about five percent. These rates are some of the lowest you can get for a student loan in the U.S.

2 of 5 stars

These loans are limited and are only given in the about 1,700 participating schools nationwide. Loan amounts are calculated based on the financial needs of the student. The school will also put into consideration any other financial aid the student is receiving to determine the amount of money they disburse. Undergraduates cannot receive more than $5,500 per year or $27,500 in total while graduate and professional student can only get up to $8,000 per year and a maximum of 60,000 for the entire length of their program.

3 of 5 stars

There are not many reviews about Perkins Loans. The reviews that are available are mostly average.

3 of 5 stars

A student is expected to start paying nine months after finishing school. There is some flexibility on how much a student pays every month. Deferment and forbearance are available for Perkins Loans. Payments are made over a 10-year period and the minimum monthly payment is $40. The only way to get a longer repayment term is to consolidate this loan into a Federal Direct Consolidation loan.

PROS

  • No fees
  • Very low interest rates

CONS

  • Tight 10-year repayment programs
  • Only available in a few schools
  • Low maximum loan amounts

LendingTree Student Loans

LendingTree is not a traditional lender. The company is like a middleman and makes money by connecting borrowers to lenders whom the company has established a relationship with. The company does not set loan applicant qualifications, but borrowers would need to have good or excellent credit to qualify for a loan from this company’s partners.

The borrower should also be pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for a loan. Because of the large number of lenders who look at the applications, the application process with LendingTree takes a long time and approval could take several weeks. This company also offers refinancing services.

  • FEES
  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

Although this company does not directly charge lenders origination, late payment, or prepayment fees, some lenders operating under the LendingTree umbrella have fees. These fees vary from lender to lender.

$$

4 of 5 stars

There are a number of loan offerings with fixed and variable rates, some of which can be as low as 3 percent.

4 of 5 stars

You can get a wide variety of loans including loans for undergraduate and graduate students. You can also get loans for training. There are generally no minimum or maximum loan amounts for this lender.

3.5 of 5 stars

The company has favorable ratings on most consumer review sites

5 of 5 stars

Loan terms differ according to the particular lender and may be as few as five years or as many as twenty-five years. There are also a number of repayment options including fixed payments, deferment, forbearance, interest-only payments, and more.

PROS

  • Allows cosigning
  • Co-signer release is possible
  • No maximum loan limit

CONS

  • Doesn’t offer loans to people with poor or fair credit
  • Does a hard check when you enquire and this might lower your credit score
  • Rates much higher than federal programs
  • Applicants may receive annoying phone calls from various lenders
  • Approving an application can take weeks

Discover Student Loans

Discover launched its student loans business in 2007. The company offers private student loans and loan refinancing services. The company offers a wide variety of loan services and enables students to use a variety of loan repayment programs. The company does not disclose credit score requirements, although most of the borrowers or co-signers have scores above 660. The company requires students to be enrolled at least half-time and to be attending a Title IV-accredited school to qualify.

Repayment options are a mixture of in-school options and post-school options. In-school options include immediate, interest-only, fixed¸ and deferred. Post-school repayment options include academic deferment, military deferment, public service deferment, medical residency deferment, forbearance of up to 2 months, temporary interest rate reduction, and temporary payment reduction.

  • FEES
  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

This company does not charge application, origination, prepayment, or late payment fees.

$

3.5 of 5 stars

Interest rates vary from 6.99 to 24.99 percent. Discounts are available if you use autopay.

4.5 of 5 stars

The company offers graduate and undergraduate student loans, MBA loans, law school loans, bar loans, residency loans, and medical school loans. The minimum loan amount given is $1,000, and the maximum is the total cost of attendance minus any financial aid received.

4 of 5 stars

Has mostly good reviews from customers.

3 of 5 stars

The company only offers a 15-year repayment loan term.

PROS

  • Generous forbearance and deferment options
  • Gives loans to international students with a cosigner
  • Biweekly payments
  • Flexible with loan amounts

CONS

  • Offers only one repayment plan
  • Does a hard check when you enquire and this might lower your credit score
  • No cosigner release

Conclusion

Aspire student loans is one of the finest, most well known loan servicing services in the business. Although this company no longer offers federal loan servicing services, it still offers loan servicing to some private lenders. This company has an overwhelming number of positive reviews with very few negatives, which is an indication of positive customer experiences. We like to give it an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

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