Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) is proud to announce a ground-breaking new scholarship program called “Last Year Free” which will award free tuition to every man and woman enrolled in the Master of Theology (ThM) for the final 24 required hours of the program. All students enrolled in the ThM program during the fall 2016 or spring 2017 semesters will be eligible to receive the scholarship at the end of their degree program.
DTS believes all its degree programs provide a high level of training for various ministry opportunities. However, since the ThM is the longest degree program, DTS wants to focus targeted aid to ThM students to complete the program faster by easing the financial burden.
President Mark L. Bailey says, “Our ThM graduates have consistently told us two things: First, that DTS’s 4-year ThM program gave them a deeper level of training than what they would have gotten in a traditional 3-year MDiv program. And second, that the time and expense of four years of training is a real challenge. We don’t want money to be the reason a student didn’t come or can’t stay at DTS.”
To help overcome this financial strain, DTS’s donors have stepped up their giving in an extraordinary way to cover the final 24 hours of tuition for all ThM students that are enrolled as of fall 2016. Mark Yarbrough, Vice President of Academic Affairs, says, “We hope to send out a generation of ministry leaders who are not only saturated in Scripture and equipped for the church, but also free from the burden of debt. We want them to hit the ground running when they graduate, and we hope that having the final year's worth of tuition covered sends them out refreshed and ready to serve.”
Students with qualifying prior education—such as an undergraduate Bible degree (at ABHE and CCCU schools) or parachurch training—can also earn up to 30 hours of credit through DTS’s Advanced Standing program. Used together, the Last Year Free scholarship and Advanced Standing enables a student to earn a 120 hour degree by completing 90 hours of course work and only paying tuition for 66 credit hours.
Record Giving Leads to Increased Scholarships
For the past five years, DTS has seen record levels of giving which has helped increase DTS’s student scholarship endowment from 20 million to over 38 million dollars. The increased endowment has enabled the financial aid department to in turn increase the total amount of available scholarship money given to every student in every degree program each year from 2.2 million to over 3 million dollars. Additional giving over and above that will make the “Last Year Free” program possible.
Karen Holder, director of financial aid, says, “Every year, I get to hear amazing stories of how God meets the needs of our students. Right now, over 90% of our students graduate without taking out any additional debt, and I hope the Last Year Free program increases that percentage.” In addition to the Last Year Free scholarship, in recent years DTS has added new scholarships for part-time students and for online students as well as Full-Ride scholarships for those entering ministry as a second career and for MABC students. A full list of the 100s of available scholarships can be found at www.dts.edu/scholarships.
Record Enrollment and Student Growth
For the fall 2015 semester, DTS enrollment rose to a record 2,170 students which included strong growth at the Washington, DC campus and the Online Studies program. Nate McKanna, newly appointed director of admissions, says, “We can only attribute the growth to the grace of God and to our continued commitment to his word. I hope we continue to recruit men and women who want to know Jesus more deeply and share the good news about him with those around them.”
During the 24 hours of the “Last Year Free” scholarship, a student must take at least 6 hours of credit per semester at either the Dallas or Houston campus (not online or at an extension site). While current fundraising goals of the Centennial Campaign include the establishment of an endowment to help sustain the ThM Last Year Free scholarship in perpetuity, the scholarship is not guaranteed for any students planning to enroll after spring 2017. So, we urge you to apply today. For details on the “Last Year Free” program, please visit www.dts.edu/lastyearfree.