Direct Loan Program
A Direct Loan is a low-interest loan funded with monies from the U.S. Treasury which students may borrow while attending school and begin repaying once they graduate or drop below the half-time status of taking at least 6 hours per semester.
Congress establishes the interest rate, which is currently 6.6% for loans disbursed after July 1, 2018. The interest and principal repayments are deferred as long as the student remains on at least half-time status in an approved degree program and provided the loan was issued after July 1, 1987.
Financial Aid is available to assist students and their families by providing options suitable for their financial status. For more information on the specific forms of financial aid available, contact the office at 800–992–0998.
4 Step Process to Request a Loan:
- Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): You may apply on-line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. Please use the provided link to access the site directly. You should not have to pay anything to submit the application. The school code for DTS is G03562. A Student Aid Report (SAR) is generated upon completion of the FAFSA. Be sure to make all the necessary corrections (as applicable, according to the comments section of your SAR). DTS will receive a copy of your SAR electronically if you have submitted our school code. Your loan cannot be processed until all specified corrections are made. The DTS Financial Aid Office strongly encourages applicants to select the option to allow the FAFSA to retrieve your IRS data. Doing so will save you time by eliminating the need for DTS to request additional tax forms from you at a later date if selected for verification.
- Submit a Loan Request Form: The form is available online at https://students.dts.edu/financial/federal-direct-unsubsidized-loan/. The form is only available online. No paper applications will be accepted.
- Complete an Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN): The form is available online at https://studentloans.gov. Once completed, an eMPN is valid for up to ten years.
- Complete an Entrance Counseling: If this is your first time borrowing at DTS, you must complete an Entrance Counseling at http://studentloans.gov. This needs to be completed, even if you have borrowed loans at a different school. Entrance Counseling only needs to be done one time while you are using loans at DTS.
After all required items have been submitted (complete, with no required corrections), your loan will be ready for DTS certification, the process of determining your eligibility for funds. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing. You will be notified by email when your Direct Loan has been certified. You will also be notified by email when the funds arrive at DTS. Contact Financial Aid with questions: FinancialAid@dts.edu or 214-887-5087.
Direct Loans Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to complete a new loan request form each semester that I want to borrow?
No. In order to maintain compliance with Department of Education guidelines, students who wish to borrow should only complete one loan request form per school year. If a student wishes to use student loans during more than one semester, he or she should indicate so on their initial loan request form. Per Department of Education guidelines, the total amount of approved loan must be divided equally between each semester that a student indicates they would like to use loans. For example, if a student wishes to borrow $10,000 total for the year and would like to use loans during the Fall and Spring, he or she would receive $5,000 for each semester. Likewise, any change requests made by the student must adhere to this rule. For example, if this student wishes to increase their Spring disbursement by $1,000, then their Fall disbursement must also be increased by $1,000.
What is an Unsubsidized Direct Loan?
A low-interest loan funded with monies from the U.S. Treasury which students may borrow while attending school and begin repaying once they graduate or drop below the half-time status of taking at least 6 hours per semester (3 hours for PhD).
Graduate students are only eligible to borrow unsubsidized funds. The borrower is responsible for paying all the interest accrued on an unsubsidized loan.
What are the Direct Loan eligibility requirements?
- Enroll in a Degree Program (Certificate students are not eligible to borrow.)
- Register for 6 or more hours in each semester (3 hours for PhD) for which you are requesting a loan disbursement
- Maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), including completing the minimum number of hours required for your degree program each year:
- ThM 16 Credit Hours*
- MA/BC 13 Credits Hours*
- STM 12 Credit Hours*
- All other Master of Arts programs 10 Credit Hours*
- Master of Biblical and Theological Studies 6 Credit Hours*
*Per academic year, defined as fall, spring, and summer
Example: ThM students must successfully complete 16 credits in Fall 17 / Spring 18 / Summer 18 to be eligible to borrow in 2018-2019.
Do extension site students qualify for Direct Loans?
Currently, Direct Loans are only available at the Houston, Atlanta, PGI and Washington DC Extension Sites (in addition to the Dallas Main Campus). Students taking only online classes are also eligible to borrow. (Students taking classes at any other location are not eligible to borrow.)
What is the interest rate of Direct Loans?
Effective July 1, 2018, Direct Loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.6 percent.
What are the Direct Loan borrowing limits?
Students may be eligible to borrow up to $20,500 per year, without exceeding the Cost of Attendance during any loan period. Federal guidelines limit borrowers to a combined total of $138,500 in graduate and undergraduate loans.
The Financial Aid Office continues to encourage our students to utilize loans as a last resort in financing their education. Students are encouraged to borrow wisely so that debt will not be prohibitive in pursuing any ministry opportunity which may become available following graduation.
What are the deadlines to submit Direct Loan paperwork/applications?
The Financial Aid Office must receive the results from the FAFSA, with verification if necessary, your Loan Request Form, confirmation of a valid Entrance Counseling & eMPN, by April 1 for the Summer semester, May 31 for the Fall semester, and November 1 for the Spring semester. Once ALL of the above requirements are received, please allow 4-6 weeks for processing.
If you miss these deadlines, you may still apply for a Direct loan at any time throughout the year, however, you will need to make other arrangements for the payment deadline until the loan monies have arrived. To avoid delays that may occur if your FAFSA results require verification, students are strongly encouraged to allow FAFSA to retrieve IRS data.
What is the Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN)?
The MPN is a legally binding contract signed by the borrower when obtaining a loan. The MPN can be completed electronically for a Direct Loan, and, once completed, is valid for up to ten years. You will NOT complete a new eMPN every year. It is only required the first time you borrow in the Direct Loan Program.
How will the loan monies be disbursed?
Your total guaranteed loan amount, minus any fees, will be disbursed to the school in one or more disbursements depending on the loan period you select. Loans requested for one semester will arrive as one disbursement. Fall/Spring loans will be divided into two equal disbursements. Fall/Spring/Summer loans will be divided into three equal disbursements.
If, after funds arrive, you have a credit on your student account, a refund will be available to you about two weeks after the money posts to your account. Your refund will be issued by the Business Office. Paper checks will be mailed. Refunds can also be deposited directly into bank accounts for those who register on CampusNet for an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
When does repayment begin?
Loan repayment begins 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status. The amount of each payment depends on the repayment plan in which you choose to participate.
What is Direct Loan entrance and exit counseling?
Entrance and exit counseling is required by the Department of Education and provides you with important information regarding your Direct Loan. You must complete entrance counseling before you can receive your first loan disbursement and exit counseling upon graduating. In addition, exit counseling must be completed if you take a leave of absence, drop below half-time status, or withdraw.
A hold will be placed on your account until the counseling requirements have been met. Additional information regarding how to meet your entrance counseling requirements will be provided with your Direct Loan award letter.
Return of Funds Policy for Title IV Aid (Direct Loan) Recipients Who Withdraw
Currently the only Title IV aid funds DTS awards are the Direct Loan unsubsidized loans. When a student withdraws from DTS before completing 60% of the semester, the student has not “earned” all of the federal financial aid and a Return of Title IV Funds Calculation must be performed.
The Department of Education mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the portion of federal aid they have “earned” up to the time of withdrawal.
Title IV funds disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned by the Seminary and/or the student to the federal government. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to the Seminary, government, or both.
The following steps will be followed when determining the amount of Title IV federal aid to be returned upon withdrawal:
- Determine percentage of enrollment period completed by student. Divide the number of days attended by the number of days (less any schedule breaks of five days or more) in the enrollment period.
- Calculate the amount of earned Title IV aid. Multiply the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the total Title IV aid disbursed. If the calculated percentage of the enrollment period exceeds 60%, then the student has earned all Title IV aid for the enrollment period.
- Determine amount of unearned aid to be returned. Subtract the amount of earned aid from the total amount of federal aid disbursed.
- Return of Title IV funds by institution and student:
- Amount of Unearned Aid Due from the School – DTS will return unearned Title IV aid up to an amount that is equal to the total institutional charges for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of the Title IV aid that was unearned. The return of the unearned aid will be return as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date DTS determined the student withdrew.
- Amount of Unearned Aid Due from the Student – The student’s portion of aid to be returned is not immediately required to repay the loan. The terms of the original loan repayment agreement (mpn) will apply.
Unearned Title IV Funds will be returned to the unsubsidized federal direct loan program.
Post-withdrawal disbursements will be made as soon as possible but no later than 180 days after the date the school determines the student withdrew and in accordance with requirements for disbursing Title IV funds.
Written notification to the student providing the opportunity to accept all or part of a Post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV loan funds will be sent within 30 days of the schools determination that the student withdrew.
Written notification of student’s eligibility for a direct Post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV loan funds in excess of outstanding current (educational related charges) will be sent within 30 days of the school’s determination that the student withdrew.
Post-withdrawal disbursement to student for earned Title IV funds in excess of outstanding current (educational related) charges will be made as soon as possible after the date the school determined the student withdrew but no later than 180 days.
Notification to student of outcome of late request for a Post-withdrawal disbursement to the student (request received by school after the specified period and school chooses not to make disbursement) will be made as soon as possible.
If a student withdraws from all classes, the student is encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office before doing so. The consequences of withdrawing from all classes can be explained to you at that time. A balance due to DTS could result when all classes are withdrawn, scholarships lost due to withdrawing, and unearned aid is returned.
The Seminary reserves the right to amend the Title IV Return of Funds Policy at any time in order to comply with Federal regulations.