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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Education, Performing Arts Centers, Universities

Mission: The mission of Soka University of America is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.

Results: Soka University will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of its Aliso Viejo campus in 2016 and has already been ranked in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges in the Nation by US News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2015."

Target demographics: 60% US students, 40% internation

Direct beneficiaries per year: 450 students

Geographic areas served: Four year liberal arts college and graduate school

Programs: Soka University is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school in Aliso Viejo, CA. The university is ranked in the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the nation by US News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2015." Soka University offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio and study abroad for every undergraduate student. Founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, SUA is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs. About 60% of Soka University's students come from the US and 40% have come from more than 45 other countries. Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition. Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a proud volunteer at Soka University of America (SUA) for the last 10 years, co-chairing the gala committee for the last 8 where we raised over $6.1 million for scholarships since inception 10 years ago. From the first time I read about SUA, I was drawn to it's mission, i.e. to educate young men and women around the world who want to lead a contributive life. I do not know of any other university that has a similar reason of teaching the younger generation about humanistic principles along with academic rigor. As I got to know SUA I also came to appreciate its unique approach to teaching in small learning clusters where student to faculty ratio is 8 to 1. Imagine having the undivided attention of one teacher amongst 8 of you and your classmates thoughout your four years in college! The objective of such approach is to encourage every student to participate in dialogue with their teachers and colleagues, a more difficult undertaking in more traditional universities where you may be one in hundreds holding class in a large lecture hall. The more personalized approach definitely bodes well for learning in almost all instances. In addition, opportunities to stretch and grow both as scholars and people are numerous and open to all students. Such activities include a semester of study abroad in the country where the student is learning it's language, work side by side by professionals at the UN, assist nonprofits dealing with Aids in Africa, learn from renowned global thought leaders on various subjects that impact us here and the rest of the world. These are just a few examples of the quality of education one can get from SUA. The US News & World Report clearly agrees in its rankings of SUA in "Best Colleges 2014". SUA which was founded in 2001, tied for 41st place as Best National Liberal Arts College along wih 2 other colleges, one founded in 1795 and the other in 1837. Other awards include #1 in faculty resources and financial resources, #5 Best Value among National Liberal Arts Colleges (behind Amherst, Williams, Pomona, and Wellesley), #1 in proportion of international students, and #5 in etchnic diversity among National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a currently a second year student at Soka, and I really love this school!! This school has a very small class size, and I think this is the best environment for learning! Each professor knows my name and face, and if I have any questions regarding class materials or my paper, I can just go to my professors’ offices and talk with them. The class is based on discussion, and each student has an equal chance to share opinions! Students also have to learn one foreign language, and I started to learn French since I came here. A third year student has to go to study abroad for one semester, and I am really excited to go to France next year! If you want to experience study abroad, SUA is a great option! I am looking forward to learning more and enjoying next two years here at SUA.

Client Served

Rating: 4

The school is very student-oriented; the professors and the staffs in Soka University of America are very willing to teach and help the students with anything they need help with. Everyone is so friendly here and would respect each other. I have changed a lot since I came here. I have become more outgoing and cheerful.

16

Donor

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about SUA, their professors and their staff.

Our niece graduated this year and says she cannot express in words how much SUA has changed her life.

Those amazing changes are evident. Jaw-dropping for me is that she graduated with $1500 in student loans. That's right, $1500.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soka finds the most promising youth from every corner of the world, brings them together at their incredibly diverse and stunningly beautiful Southern California campus, and then fosters their unique gifts preparing them to truly live contributive lives. It is a most impressive academic institution of higher learning that is changing the world for the better!

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Soka University is a stellar organization committed to its mission of raising the next generation of leaders committed to making a positive impact throughout the world. I am proud to support them in their important work!

Review from Guidestar

4

Donor

Rating: 5

What could be better than a 15-year-old school making it to the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the country according to US News and World Report? Small class sizes; open access to faculty and administrators; and free tuition for families with less than $60K income. Beautiful campus.

We took a friend on a tour there and had lunch in the Bistro (dining hall). During the course of our meal, I introduced our friend to Danny Habuki, the president of the university. Afterward, he asked< "Who was that person?" When I told him that he was the president, he said, "During four years at my college, the only time I saw the president was at graduation."

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Liberal arts education here has helped me look at the world from many different points of view. I have also developed critical and creative thinking and communication skills, which are necessary for any kind of job. In addition, because of the diversity we have here and the small student body, I have met and worked with people of different race, nationality, and culture and learn from each other. I have made friendships beyond boarders. SUA has really helped me become more open-minded, courageous, and kind, which I believe, together with the knowledge I gain here, will help me create value and make positive changes in the world.

Review from Guidestar

1 Akemi A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently a first year student here at Soka and I am absolutely enjoying my new chapter as a college student. I knew Soka would let me learn about myself where other school wouldn't. I want to find what I am truly
passionate about through going to a Liberal Arts school and exploring myself. It has only been 4 months since I moved in and started my class, but what I want to do after I graduate is already molding together and I am excited how much I'm going to grow in the coming 4 years.

Review from Guidestar

Ya Chien C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before I came to Soka University of America, I was a person who is very not confident of myself. I had a hard time reaching out to my classmates and talking to them. I felt very comfortable being alone because I did not have to think about how to interact with other people and how they would judge me based on my actions. But after coming to this wonderful school, I became a totally different person. I feel very confident and like to be around people. I feel the caring and warmth from my classmates and upperclassmen. Whenever anyone on campus has a very tough time in his or her life, people will give him/her support. This school is small, so everyone knows each other well. Everyone is close to each other. Thanks to Soka, I have the opportunity to broaden my view and interact with people from all around the world.

Review from Guidestar

4 Jonathan43

Donor

Rating: 5

My mother was a pioneer woman in the field of chemistry and education. She received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr and in 1944 was the first woman to earn a PhD from Harvard University in field of chemistry. When she died my father and I decided to create a scholarship in her name. The logical choice would have been to endow it at either Harvard or Bryn Mawr. Coinciding with her passing my cousin (my mom’s favorite niece) left a position at Harvard University to teach at Soka University. Soka was a fledgling institution that held great promise. Founded on Buddhist ideals, it began with a great founding faculty, a curriculum that embraced global perspectives, and an ethos of rigorous course work. The scholarship to Soka was one of the best decisions we ever made. The university quickly flourished, received accreditation and began sending its graduates to top tier universities for graduate studies. Today one of my greatest joys is attending Soka University’s graduation and watching my mother’s scholarship recipient cross the stage – always a woman of whom my mother would be proud.

Review from Guidestar