Admissions

Last Year Free FAQs

Last Year Free (LYF)

What is Last Year Free (LYF)?
LYF is a special scholarship program for new and continuing students enrolled in the Master of Theology (ThM) program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. These ThM students are eligible to receive a full tuition scholarship for their final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program, whenever they reach that point in their degree program. See “Program Details” (below) for more information about other criteria for utilizing LYF funding.
Why offer a LYF scholarship?
DTS believes all its degree programs provide a high level of training for various ministry opportunities. 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.
Does LYF mean that DTS values the ThM more than other degrees?
Absolutely not! We believe strongly in the purpose of each DTS degree program and value the students who are enrolled in them. Each degree prepares students for specific and necessary areas of ministry. We are a better school for having the selection of degrees we offer. Since the ThM is nearly double the time and cost of most of the MA programs, we have provided targeted assistance to students enrolled in this program.
Is LYF a need-based scholarship?
No. LYF is available to every new and continuing student enrolled in the Master of Theology (ThM) program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. That said, students who do not have financial need can forego utilizing LYF funding, which allows the Seminary to pass the benefit on to another student.

Eligibility

Who is eligible for LYF?
All students enrolled in the ThM program during the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters are eligible for LYF. This includes new, continuing, or returning ThM students. This also includes any Master of Arts (MA) students who reclassify to the ThM. These students must (1) have their reclassification to the ThM program approved no later than December 1, 2017, and (2) enroll in the fall 2017 or spring 2018 semesters.
Does LYF apply to those who enroll in the ThM program summer 2018 or later?
No. Currently, LYF applies only for ThM students enrolled in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. We hope to offer it again for the 2018-2019 academic year, but this all depends on funding made possible through gifts to the Seminary.
Are students enrolled in the accelerated advanced standing ThM program eligible for LYF?
Yes. All students enrolled in the ThM program during thefall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters are eligible to receive the LYF scholarship.
Are Master of Arts (MA) students eligible for LYF?
No. LYF is a scholarship for students who are enrolled in the ThM program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. MA students would need to reclassify to the ThM. These students must (1) meet with an academic advisor before November 1, 2017, (2) have their reclassification to the ThM program approved by the Admissions Committee no later than December 1, 2016, and (3) enroll in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters.
Are alumni eligible for LYF?
Yes. Alumni who wish to pursue the ThM are eligible for LYF if they enroll in the ThM program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) for more information.
I graduated from DTS but want to turn in my previous degree to complete the ThM. Will my old courses count toward the ThM?
Previous DTS courses (1) required for the ThM program and (2) completed during or after spring 2000 semester will count toward the ThM program. Students may be asked to commit to an ambitious degree completion program. Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) for more information.
I graduated from DTS. I want to keep my previously earned degree and complete the ThM. Will my old courses count toward the ThM?
You can reapply for the ThM degree if you are an alumnus of DTS. If you retain your previous degree (excluding the certificate), previously completed courses completed during or after spring 2001 that match ThM requirements will count toward both degrees (i.e., your completed degree and the ThM you are pursuing). Both degree require a minimum number of total credit hours:
  • ThM + 2-year MA=150 hours
  • ThM + 3-year MA=165 hours 

Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) for more information.

Am I eligible for LYF if I withdrew from DTS but want to return to complete the ThM?
You meet initial eligibility for the LYF program if you submit an admissions application for the ThM by November 1, 201, and are accepted and enrolled in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters.
I withdrew from DTS but want to finish the ThM. Will my previously completed DTS courses count toward the ThM?
Previous DTS courses (1) required for the ThM program and (2) completed during or after spring 2000 semester will count toward the ThM program. Students may be asked to commit to an ambitious degree completion program. Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) for more information.

Program Details

When can I use the LYF scholarship?
All eligible ThM students can use the LYF scholarship for the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of their degree program, regardless of when they reach that point in their program. This includes courses taken in fall, spring, summer, and winter sessions, as long as a student takes at least six or more required  credit hours (i.e., hours that satisfy degree requirements) in live courses on the Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC campuses per semester.

Thus, eligible students within the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of their program in the fall 2016 semester can utilize the LYF scholarship beginning fall 2016. For students beginning the ThM in fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters, the LYF scholarship will be waiting for them when they reach that point in their ThM program, even if that’s several years down the road.
What are the program criteria?
Students enrolled in the ThM program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters automatically satisfy initial eligibility. Once eligible students reach the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program, they must:
  • Apply for LYF each semester by completing the financial aid application,
  • Have and maintain a 2.5 GPA, and
  • Be and remain in good standing with the Seminary. 
If these criteria are satisfied, the LYF scholarship will cover tuition for the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program, as long as a student takes at least six or more required credit hours (i.e., hours that satisfy degree requirements) in live courses on the Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC campuses per semester
Do I lose the LYF benefit if I don’t take at least six (6) credit hours per semester?
No; however, LYF does not cover the cost of tuition for any semester in which a student does not take at least six (6) credit hours. Therefore, it is to the student’s advantage to take at least six (6) credit hours a semester.
What if I need to complete less than six (6) credit hours in my final semester?
LYF will cover tuition for students who need to complete less than six (6) credit hours in their final semester, a long as the courses are live in Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC.
Can I use LYF for online courses or independent studies?
No. LYF only covers tuition when a student takes six or more required credit hours (i.e., hours that satisfy degree requirements) in live courses on the Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC campuses per semester.

For example, consider a student who has entered into the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of his/her ThM program. If he/she takes six (6) credit hours on the Dallas campus and one 3-hour online course, LYF would only cover the six (6) credit hours taken on the Dallas campus. He/she would be responsible for the online course tuition.

However, if he/she chooses to take twelve (12) credit hours or fifteen (15) credit hours on the Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC campuses, LYF would cover the tuition in full.
Does LYF apply to hybrid courses (i.e., courses with live and online components)?
It depends. If the Dallas, Houston, or Washington DC course counts toward a student’s ThM residency requirement, LYF applies. If the course does not count toward residency, LYF does not apply. Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) for residency information on specific courses.
Does LYF cover tuition for the thesis, internship, or ministry residency?
Yes. Due to the fact that students often complete the thesis, internship, and/or ministry residency in their final year of study, LYF covers it. However, this does not include any continuation fees. All other courses to which LYF applies must be live courses taken on the Dallas,  Houston, or Washington DC campuses.
Does LYF cover fees?
No. LYF only covers tuition for the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program. Students are responsible for fees and other costs (e.g., books, etc.).
Under what circumstances could a student lose the LYF scholarship?
A student may lose the LYF scholarship if he/she:
  • Does not maintain a 2.5 GPA,
  • Reclassifies out of the ThM program at any time,
  • Withdraws from the ThM program at any time, or
  • Does not remain in good standing with the Seminary.
Will the LYF cover tuition for an eligible course that I fail?
The LYF scholarship only covers tuition once for an eligible course. After that students are responsible to cover the tuition cost for that course.

Application Process

How do I utilize LYF when I reach the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program?
Students enrolled in the ThM program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters automatically satisfy initial eligibility. However, to utilize the LYF scholarship students need to complete a financial aid application by the deadline the semester before they reach the final twenty-four (24) required credit hours of the ThM program. Visit the Financial Aid webpage or contact the Financial Aid (financialaid@dts.edu) office for more information on financial aid application deadlines and the application process.
Do I need to complete the financial aid application each semester?
Yes. LYF funding is not automatically applied to a student’s account. DTS will apply all applicable need-based scholarships before applying the LYF scholarship. In order to assess this and a student’s interest in utilizing LYF funding, we need each eligible student to complete a financial aid application by the deadline for each semester they need funding. Contact the Financial Aid office (financialaid@dts.edu) for more information about the applciation process.

Scholarships, Direct Loans, and Financial Aid

Will Master of Arts (MA) degree scholarships be decreased?
No. Scholarships for MA students will not decrease as a result of the LYF scholarship.
How does LYF affect the other scholarship(s) that I receive?
DTS will apply all applicable need-based scholarships before applying the LYF scholarship. In order to assess this and a student’s interest in utilizing LYF funding, we need each eligible student to complete the financial aid application each semester they wish to utilize the LYF scholarship.
Can I still apply for direct loans while receiving LYF benefits?
Yes; however, satisfactory academic progress (SAP) must be maintained. SAP is satisfied when students take at least sixteen (16) credit hours per academic year.

Contact Information

Who do I contact if I have general questions about LYF or need help planning my remaining courses?
Contact the Advising Center (lastyearfree@dts.edu) or visit the Advising Center webpage.
Who do I contact if I have scholarship, loan, or financial aid questions about LYF?
Contact the Financial Aid office (financialaid@dts.edu) or visit the Financial Aid webpage.