Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) is the nation’s largest student loan guarantor as well as a leading higher education philanthropy and provider of student success services for postsecondary institutions. Founded in 1967, Ascendium provides information, tools and counseling to millions of borrowers nationwide, helping them avoid the consequences of default and keeping the door to re-enrollment open.
Since 2006, Ascendium’s philanthropy program has committed more than $325 million in grant funding aimed at exploring, validating and scaling evidence-based strategies for overcoming systemic obstacles to completion of postsecondary education, particularly for students from historically underserved populations. All of Ascendium’s operations are grounded in the belief that every individual has potential to contribute meaningfully to their community and society. We work to unleash that potential through the power of higher education, and to eliminate barriers that stand in the way of its fulfillment.
“Ascendium was founded in 1967 to meet Wisconsin’s needs of the then-newly created federal Higher Education Act (1965), which provides grants, loans and work study jobs to make postsecondary education available to all. For over 50 years, we’ve stayed true to our mission of improving lives through higher education. Our success is thanks to the dedication and support of all our employees, in Madison and across the country.”
— Richard D. George, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Wisconsin State Legislature recognized the organization in 2017 for its 50th anniversary, community impact through philanthropy, and exemplary service to federal student loan borrowers; CEO Richard D. George earned a Lifetime Service Award from the Council for Opportunity in Education, and the 2015 Wisconsin Idea Award from University of Wisconsin Colleges.