Who We Are | Ascendium Education Group, Inc. Skip to main content


Who We Are

Education is transformative. Ascendium has committed hundreds of millions of grant dollars to help postsecondary learners nationwide earn degrees and credentials that can substantially strengthen their opportunities for greater social mobility.


Woman in a classroom.

Since 1967, We’ve Helped People Tap Into the Power of Postsecondary Education

Formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to help fulfill the promise of the landmark Higher Education Act of 1965, Ascendium Education Group has helped millions of learners pursue postsecondary education. Over the years, we have grown to become not only the nation’s largest federal student loan guarantor, but also one of its most active and respected postsecondary education philanthropies. The funds Ascendium uses for grants have been accumulated over our 55+ year history of helping borrowers successfully repay their student loans on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. Besides being a national philanthropy, Ascendium is a federal student loan guarantor and a provider of financial wellness services.

Ascendium’s annual philanthropic budget is not based on annual revenues tied to our work as a guaranty agency and provider of financial wellness services.  While changes in the student loan industry impact Ascendium’s revenue as a guaranty agency from year to year, the funds we use as a national philanthropy were derived from our mission-driven work over our 55+ year history as a non-profit organization.

Our philanthropy is grounded in the belief that every individual has the potential to contribute meaningfully to their community and society. We award three types of grants that spur systemic change in four key focus areas. Learn more about the research organizations, forward-thinking education providers and collaborative efforts that our grants support because they share our commitment to equity and excellence in postsecondary education and workforce training.

See our grantmaking focus areas


Our team’s diverse backgrounds, work and educational experiences allow us to bring a wide range of perspectives to determining how best to help learners from low-income backgrounds achieve their dreams. We offer practical guidance and collaborative problem solving that help partners create systemic change.

Continually Improving Our Practice

The Center for Effective Philanthropy’s survey of our 2022 grantees reveals key perceptions about our performance. Learn more about our strengths and areas for improvement in the full report.

Read the Report

Subscribe and Stay Connected

Get Ascendium news right to your inbox, from grant announcements and project spotlights to where you can find our program staff in the field.

Newsletter Sign Up