Soka University offers free tuition

SCHOOL OF DIVERSITY

Kelley Marble

Soka University of America, located in Aliso Viejo has approved a new tuition policy for the 2008-09 academic year.The Soka’s board of trustees agreed to grant a range of incoming high school students from all over the world free tuition, not including housing costs. The housing prices can also be reduced by financial aid.

The free tuition is available to all students who are enrolling in the Liberal Arts program and whose family income is $60,000 a year or less. Tuition at this private University for the ’08-’09 school year would normally cost $23,434, while housing is $9000.

Soka is a four-year liberal arts college offering courses that average 13 students per class. Other perks the university offers is a laptop computer and a semester abroad during the junior year. All of this is included in the tuition costs.

According to the school’s website, approximately 80 percent of their students receive some type of financial aid.

This new policy will help to attract students from all around. About half of Soka’s students are from the United States while the remainder is a diverse group covering 30 other countries.

Admission requirements according to the website include high school records, extracurricular activities, leadership and special talents, two written personal statements, two academic recommendations, and scores from either Scholastic Assessment Test or the ACT test.

An applying student must maintain minimum GPA of 2.7 or a B- average on a 4-point scale or a minimum average of 80 points on a scale of 100.

“Any student admitted starts as a freshman,” Soka’s spokeperson Wendy Harder said. “We have a very tight four year cirriculum that we haven’t yet figured out how to mold to transfer students. Amonst the agenda we have for our students includes an abroad program that takes place during their junior year with us”

One of the more appealing attributes that Soka has to offer is the fact that it is a private college, but welcomes all nationalities and religions.

The schools curriculum is not based on religion, although Soka was founded on Buddhist teachings of human rights and peace.

Another college that has offered this same concept is Stanford University, who is offering free tuition to families who annually make $100,000 or less or room and board costs for family who make $60.000 or less.

“Our whole goal behind this program is to reach out to top students who haven’t yet felt or known that the door was open for them to go to a private college,” Harder said. “It’s important for students all around the world to know that they have a chance to recieve a great education.”

With the tuition for California colleges possibly raising for the ’08-’09 academic, these different oppurtunities offer relief on not only students and their parents, but also the economy according to Chris Vaeth at Tuition Relief Now.

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