Free college in Orange County?

What a deal! “Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo announced today that tuition will be free for students of families with an annual income of $60,000 or less,” according to the L.A. Times.

Soka University, Aliso Viejo sits on a 103-acre site just 1 1/2 miles from the Pacific Ocean…if you are a bird. (It’s seven miles if you are driving.) The campus is surrounded on 80% of its border by Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, which is open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Founded on the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, SUA is open to students of all beliefs and is committed to diversity in its academic community.

Here are a few more excerpts from the Times article:

The new tuition policy, which begins with the 2008-2009 academic year, applies to students in the bachelor of liberal arts program. Room and board fees will still apply.

Daniel Y. Habuki, president of the liberal arts school founded by Japanese Buddhists, said he hoped the offer would “open doors” for high school students who hadn’t considered attending a private university because of cost.

“Soka University is proud to be one of the few private colleges in California that has been able to offer this exceptional opportunity to outstanding students whose families might not otherwise be able to support their educational dreams,” Habuki said in a news release.

Tuition at Soka for the 2008-2009 academic year will be $23,434, and room and board is $9,000. About 80% of students receive some form of financial aid.

I found Soka’s “Mottos and Principles” on their website:

Mottos

  • Be philosophers of a renaissance of life
  • Be world citizens in solidarity for peace
  • Be the pioneers of a global civilization

Principles

  • Foster leaders of culture in the community
  • Foster leaders of humanism in society
  • Foster leaders of pacifism in the world
  • Foster leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity

I hope that Santa Ana students will take advantage of this fantastic offer from Soka. I have been on that campus more than once, for various meetings. It is a truly beautiful campus. One of their teachers, James Spady, used to live in Santa Ana and I had the pleasure of working with him on a committee formed by Santa Ana Councilmember Michele Martinez. If Spady is typical of the teachers there, I can assure you that students will learn a lot at Soka.


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