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Ascendium Partners with Stride Funding to Support Income Share Agreements for University Students Across the US

$10 million Facility Increases Access to Affordable Funding for Students of All Financial Backgrounds Through Outcomes-Driven Underwriting

Stride Funding Inc. (Stride Funding or Stride) announced its partnership with Ascendium Education Group, Inc. (Ascendium) to increase financial support for students pursuing degree programs with strong outcomes. Together, the parties will offer education funding without requiring cosigners or specific minimum credit scores by leveraging Stride Funding’s proprietary outcomes-driven underwriting model.

Stride Funding is the leading provider of Income Share Agreements (ISAs) for students across higher education and alternative education, and has pioneered outcomes-driven underwriting to ensure broad access to ISAs for students of all backgrounds. “Stride Funding is built on the core belief that outcomes-driven financing will reshape education funding by increasing access, affordability and flexibility. We strive to improve educational outcomes and support students of all backgrounds in their career journeys,” stated Tess Michaels, Stride Funding’s Founder and CEO. “Our partnership with Ascendium allows us to further this mission—benefiting more students, across more universities, with more affordable ISAs.”

For over 50 years, Ascendium has been on a mission to make learning beyond high school available to everyone. Richard George, Ascendium’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Our investment in students via Stride’s ISA fund is another step along our journey to help every student realize their potential. Ascendium remains committed to ensuring equality of opportunity across higher education, and we are excited to double down on our commitment to serving students from underserved backgrounds who are frequently locked out of the private student loan market.”

Ascendium joins other leading impact investors in supporting Stride Funding’s ISA fund, which offers ISAs for students in the final two-years of degree programs with strong-outcomes. Most notably, Stride does not require current income, a minimum credit score, or a cosigner when determining student eligibility—key points of differentiation versus private education loan providers who require cosigners in more than 90% of undergraduate loans.

“Students pursue higher education to achieve economic mobility and surpass the economic achievements of their family,” explained Stride Funding COO, David Kafafian. “By limiting college access to only those students who have access to 'creditworthy' cosigners, private lenders inadvertently stifle this pursuit, preventing students from underserved communities from gaining access to credit for the first time. This mission to support students without cosigners is at the heart of our product design and partnership with Ascendium.”

Stride’s end-to-end platform supports the full student experience, from application, underwriting, and origination, through to servicing and career support. “We offer every student job search tools and interview prep, alongside access to mentors to ensure they are supported throughout their career journey,” added Michaels. “This career support is essential to delivering on our mission to nurture student success and boost student outcomes.”

George added: “ISAs continue to be an outcomes-driven tool to make higher education accessible for students from diverse backgrounds. After reviewing the ISA landscape, Stride Funding’s reputation as an innovative and responsible industry leader became apparent, and we are excited to partner given their mission alignment and focus on creating access, affordability, and a seamless student experience.”

Learn More
Students seeking funding from Stride Funding can access the student application portal, where they can receive a quote in less than 10 seconds to determine if a Stride Funding ISA might be right for them.

About Stride
Stride Funding Inc. is a mission-driven company that helps students hit their stride – with flexible education funding. Unlike loans that lock students into rigid repayment structures, Stride offers affordable repayments based on future income. The company has been recognized as a visionary leader by FinTech and EdTech analysts for its innovative funding agreements and ongoing commitment to career support. Stride’s executive team includes professionals with experiences at SoFi, IBM, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Liberty Mutual; Stride’s board of advisors is composed of serial entrepreneurs and industry leaders. GSV Ventures, Slow Ventures, Strada Education Network, Juvo Ventures, Firework Ventures, and Flybridge amongst others have participated in previous funding rounds.

About Ascendium
Ascendium Education Group is the nation’s largest federal student loan guarantor, a leading postsecondary education philanthropy and a provider of student and employee financial wellness services. Ascendium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides information, tools and counseling to help millions of borrowers nationwide avoid default and keep the door to re-enrollment open. Ascendium’s philanthropic mission is to elevate opportunities to outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds so they can better achieve postsecondary educational and career success. To learn more, visit

Contact Information
David Kafafian
Chief Operating Officer
Stride Funding

Brett Lindquist
Vice President - Strategic Communications
Ascendium Education Group