Grants and Scholarships

Institutional grants and scholarships are awards that are funded by the university to help students meet the challenge of funding their education at Soka University of America. All grants and scholarships listed on this page are awards that are gifted to the student and do not need to be paid back to SUA. These awards may be merit-based or need-based. They carry with them specific criteria and terms and conditions for renewal.

Soka University is very fortunate to have had the opportunity this year to provide all of our first-year class with at least one institutional grant or scholarship. One hundred percent of our continuing students who were eligible for need-based financial assistance received a need-based scholarship or grant. Students may combine more than one institutional scholarship to cover costs up to the cost of attendance.

Soka University Grants

Soka University Grants are available to all domestic, international, and dreamers who qualify.

In an effort to promote greater diversity and access to higher education, all admitted students to the BA in Liberal Arts program whose annual earned family income is $60,000* or less, and who have not graduated from college or completed more than 3/4 of their required coursework toward their first undergraduate degree (e.g., BA/BS) at the time of application to Soka, will receive Soka Opportunity Grant up to tuition (room and board fees will still apply). 

*Income includes wages, interest, dividends, capital gain, etc. Soka provides prorated awards for students who come from families with higher income levels and/or have significant assets.

Students who receive any combination of Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Cal Grant, and Soka Opportunity Scholarship funds will see a reduction in the actual Soka Opportunity Scholarship award by the amount(s) awarded through Pell, FSEOG, and Cal Grant. Soka’s policy is to apply these funds towards tuition charges before awarding the Soka Opportunity Scholarship. The end result is that the tuition will be fully covered by the combination of these funds.

Eligibility for the SOS is determined by your financial aid application. Domestic students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and international students should complete Soka’s Financial Aid Application for International Students.

Soka Grant is a supplemental need-based grant awarded by the Office of Financial Aid. Eligibility is determined annually by the Office of Financial Aid and is determined based on your financial aid application.

Scholarships

Soka University scholarships are available to all domestic, international, and dreamers who qualify. Eligibility requirements for outside scholarships vary, please check with each outside scholarship for criteria.

  • Soka offers a select number of full-ride scholarships to the top students of each entering class. The scholarship covers the entire “cost of attendance,” which includes not only the direct costs to the university such as tuition, room, and board, but also indirect costs like travel, personal expenses, books, and supplies.
     
  • Eligibility is determined by the dean of enrollment services based on your admissions application. All admitted students are given equal and automatic consideration for this award.
     
  • Renewable for up to eight semesters.
  • Students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements are awarded the Soka Merit Scholarship upon entrance to Soka University.
     
  • Eligibility is determined by the dean of enrollment services based on your admissions application. All admitted students are given equal and automatic consideration for this award.
     
  • Renewable for up to eight semesters.
  • The scholarship covers the entire “cost of attendance” which includes not only the direct costs to the university such as tuition, room, and board, but also indirect costs like travel, personal expenses, books, and supplies.
     
  • Each year, one Makiguchi Scholarship will be given to one international applicant who has graduated from high school in an African nation.
     
  • The student selected demonstrates a high level of academic achievement and outstanding character.
     
  • Eligibility is determined by the dean of enrollment services based on your admissions application. All admitted students are given equal and automatic consideration for this award. However, students must demonstrate a financial need to be considered.
     
  • Renewable for up to eight semesters
  • The scholarship covers the entire “cost of attendance,” which includes not only the direct costs to the university such as tuition, room, and board, but also indirect costs like travel, personal expenses, books, and supplies.
     
  • The Ikeda Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship program at Soka University of America. It is awarded annually to one student going into the sophomore class, the junior class, and the senior class for a total of three scholarships per year.
     
  • Eligibility is determined based on the academic accomplishment with experiences in leadership and service. The selection committee (dean of faculty and dean of students) makes final recommendations to the university president. This scholarship is announced in the summer preceding of each academic year.
     
  • Awarded for the duration of one academic year
  • This scholarship is named in honor of the late John D. Montgomery for his many years of service and dedication as a founding member of Soka University of America’s Board of Trustees. Montgomery was also the founding director of Soka’s Pacific Basin Research Center, a research institute dedicated to the study of social and economic development that reinforces the humanistic aims of the university and its mission of service to others.
  • The recipient of this $20,000 scholarship is chosen on the basis of academic merit and their record of service that best exemplifies the humanitarian goals and objectives of the university.
  • $10,000. Single year.
     
  • Each year, the Scholarship Committee selects the top five academic students from SUA’s freshman, sophomore, and junior classes to receive the Soka Academic Merit Scholarship for the following academic year. Although the Soka Academic Merit Awards are given only for a single year, awardees can be selected again in subsequent years. In cases where recipients are already receiving financial aid, the student’s financial aid package will be adjusted accordingly.
     
  • Selection is based on outstanding academic performance for that year and not on cumulative performance. A selection committee is formed each year making final recommendations to the university president, who announces the recipients of the Academic Merit scholarships in the fall of each academic year.

Gifted student-athletes participating in one of the sports below may be offered an athletic scholarship in conjunction with other institutional, state, or federal aid.

  • Men’s and women’s soccer
  • Men’s and women’s cross country
  • Men’s and women’s swimming and diving
  • Men’s and women’s track and field
  • Women’s golf

Awards are offered and renewed at the discretion of the director of athletics and the directors of each sport. Students wishing to inquire about an athletic scholarship should contact the director of the sport they are interested in.

The following external resources are databases which provide thousands of scholarship opportunities:

Soka's Named Scholarships

Soka named scholarships are available for continuing Soka students and require an application. All Soka named scholarship applications are due April 10, 2020.

Image of Brian McCloskey.

Brian Daisaku McCloskey Scholarship

Brian overcame great challenges in his life in order to make the impossible possible.

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Evelyn Hodes Wilson Scholarship

Evelyn was, throughout her life, an active role model for countless women academics in science, a champion of women’s rights, and a promoter of education in the arts.

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Kevin Hodes and Bob & Jane Hodes

Two of Bob Hodes’ admirable qualities, in his grandson’s view, were an earnest devotion to both scientific research and the arts, as well as his courageous contributions to the causes of world peace and social justice.

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Carol Ann Hawaii Scholarship

Coming soon...

Scholarship for students who are Native Hawaiian or have attended at least three years at a high school, or home school, located on one of the Hawaiian Islands.  

Soka administered outside scholarships

These scholarships are administered by Soka but funding is provided from outside of the university.  

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Southern California Edison STEM Scholarship

Southern California Edison (SCE) is dedicated to recognizing students who want to be the “makers of tomorrow—the dreamers, inventors, guardians, and pioneers—those who dare to be great.” SCE has graciously funded a scholarship exclusive to Soka University of America students who have officially declared the Life Sciences or Environmental Studies concentration at Soka.

 

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Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Scholarship

For Latino/a students who lived in Orange County for the past three years and have graduated from an OC high school. To be eligible students must be a first-generation college students whose family’s income is less than $60,000. Students must complete a FAFSA or California Dream Application and must be enrolled full time at Soka to apply.

Federal and State Funding Opportunities for Domestic Students

Federal Pell Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need and do not have to be repaid. Funds are provided by the federal government and are awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. Students must complete a FAFSA to apply.

Duration of Eligibility (Lifetime eligibility used)

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited to the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. For more information, visit US Department of Education.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded on the basis of financial need and do not have to be repaid. They are funded by the federal government and are awarded by Soka to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need.

These programs are funded by the state of California and are administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). To be eligible a student must be a financial aid applicant, be a California resident and a US citizen, eligible non-citizen, or Dreamer.

The application deadline is March 2 of each year. Maximum awards for a student enrolled at Soka are set by the state government and are subject to change at any time. Students must be enrolled full-time to receive the full grant and enrolled at least half-time to receive a prorated amount.  

For more information please visit the California Student Aid Commission website.

The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) provides part-time employment to domestic students who need earnings to help meet their educational expenses while in school.

The program allows students to gain work experience and pay for a part of their educational expenses as they earn their award.

Funds for this program come from the federal government as well as Soka University of America and are awarded based on need.

Rather than receiving a check at the beginning of each semester, students receive their work-study award as earnings from their job in the form of a paycheck.

The work experience gained through this program can prove to be a valuable asset when seeking employment after graduation.

HOW TO APPLY

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) each year by the March 2 deadline and submit all requested documents by the deadline specified.
  • Answer “Yes” if interested in Work-Study on the FAFSA.

HOW AWARDS ARE DETERMINED

  • Based on financial eligibility.
  • Due to limited available funding, these awards are generally directed to students with relatively low Expected Family Contributions (EFC).
  • When awarding continuing students, preference is given to those students who have utilized their work-study award in the prior year.


Important Information About Work-Study Awards

  • The work-study program is based on financial aid eligibility; the amount will be listed on the “Financial Aid Award” page on the Learn Account.
  • Students must work to receive these funds.
  • This award allows students to gain work experience and pay for some of their educational expenses with a semi-monthly paycheck.
  • As a work-study recipient, students have the choice of obtaining a work-study job either on-campus or off-campus at a nonprofit agency.
  • The FWS award is the maximum amount student can earn, regardless of the number of positions they hold. FWS students may hold one on-campus job and one off-campus community service job or internship.
  • If students do not wish to utilize their work-study award, they may request to have it converted into a loan. Depending on their remaining eligibility, a student may be offered additional Federal Direct Stafford and/or Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan.
  • If students decline their work-study award, the Office of Financial Aid may terminate it and offer the funds to another eligible student.
  • If you are on study abroad for one semester, you may work during the semester you are on campus. Work-study funds cannot be paid while you are abroad.

How to Utilize Federal Work-Study

  • Print a copy of the “Financial Aid Award” page—this is the official notification of the student’s FWS award amount; the hiring department and/or Human Resources Office may want to view this.
  • Apply for a job. Jobs listings are available via the Portal provided by the Office of Career Services.
  • Once a student applies for a job, the hiring department will contact the student to schedule an interview.
  • Once hired, the student must complete the necessary paperwork with Human Resources.
  • Students are to work the hours as scheduled with their employer but may not exceed 20 hours per week.
  • Students will receive a paycheck semi-monthly for the hours they worked.

Tips for Finding a Position

  • Contact the Manager of Community Services/Internship for Community Service opportunities to be paid via FWS.
  • Job listings are available through the Portal under Human Resources/Student Employment.

Terms of Your Employment

  • You may begin your work-study employment on the first day of the semester.
  • Students can work up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session and can work up to 40 hours per week (the maximum) during vacation periods.
  • Hourly rates comply with minimum wage laws and vary depending on the type of work, experience, and capabilities.
  • Work-study awards may not be extended from one academic year to the next.
  • Work-study is paid generally (after employment commences) semi-monthly by direct deposit.
  • Students may not begin working until the hiring department and the student has completed all of the appropriate documents.
  • If you are working off-campus, you must submit a timesheet to be paid.
  • If you are terminated from your position for disciplinary reasons, the Office of Financial Aid may withdraw your federal work-study award. 

Undergraduate Loan Opportunities

“How to fund education” is often the first major financial decision a student will make. With or without the help of family and friends, deciding whether or not to borrow student loans and in what amounts, can be a difficult and stressful process.

Student loans are funds that must be repaid over a period of time.  They are offered to cover educational costs that are not covered by scholarships or grants.  Student loans are funds that are applied to direct and indirect educational costs. The lender may be the US Government, Soka University of America, or a private lending institution such as a bank. You may choose whether or not to borrow or decline your loans.

The Office of Financial Aid at Soka offers full counseling to students who have completed a financial aid application or a FAFSA.  We encourage students to review their financial aid package as a whole and determine how much they can afford to pay out of pocket, how much can be paid with a payment plan and lastly, how much they will be able to afford to pay back in the future if they decides to borrow funds now. We are here to help students make sound financial decisions even before they decides to attend Soka.

Soka University of America participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the US Department of Education. These loans are available through the US government and are only available to eligible US citizens or eligible permanent residents. The loans are guaranteed by the US government without the consideration of a credit check. These loans are more commonly referred to as Stafford Loans and are available, depending on eligibility, as Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Stafford Loans have both annual and yearly limits.

Subsidized Loans - are awarded based on financial need.  Interest accrued while the student is in school is paid by the federal government and is therefore an interest free loan until the student graduates, drops below halftime enrollment, or is not enrolled in school. After a grace period of six months from the time of graduation or last day of attendance, interest begins to accrue.  

Unsubsidized Loans - are available to students regardless of income and assets, and has no interest subsidy.  Interest will accrue from the time of disbursement.

For the most current information on eligibility, interest rates, repayment options, etc. please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Soka University of America participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the US Department of Education. These loans are available through the US government and are only available to eligible US citizens or eligible permanent residents. The loans are guaranteed by the US government and require the consideration of a credit check.

These loans are government-insured loans that are made through a lender to the parents of dependent students. Parents may borrow PLUS loans up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid awarded. There is no interest subsidy for this loan. Repayment begins within 60 days of the loan disbursement. The standard repayment period for this loan is 10 years.

For the most current information on eligibility, interest rates, repayment options, etc. please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

International and Dreamer students interested in applying for a Soka Loan will be required to annually submit financial documents for review by the Financial Aid Office. Soka Loans, if granted, will not exceed the cost of attendance minus other aid for a single academic year. Student eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Application.

Loan information: 

  • Lender: Soka University of America
  • Loan servicer: Heartland Campus Solutions - Educational Computer Systems, Incorporated (ECSI)
  • Interest rate is set each July by the Office of Financial Aid
    • The interest rate varies by year
    • Interest does not accrue while in school or during the grace period
  • No loan fee.
  • Dependent students may borrow up to $20,000 or up to cost of attendance minus other financial aid (whichever is less) per year
  • Independent students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid (whichever is less) per year
  • Must complete Entrance Counseling, Master Promissory Note, and Self-Certification Form
  • Three Loan Disclosures are sent to the student prior to disbursement

Repayment Information: 

  • Six-month grace period
  • The grace period begins after you graduate, withdraw, or enroll below half-time (6 units)
  • Repayment begins on the day after your grace period ends
  • 10 Year Standard Repayment Plan
    • The minimum payment is $50 per month
    • The monthly payment amount is based on the total loan borrowed
    • The maximum repayment period is 10 years
  • Not required to make loan payments while you are in school and in your grace period
  • Can prepay some or all of your loans without any penalty
  • Late charges will be applied to late payments

Contact Us

Office of Financial Aid 
1 University Drive 
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

(949) 480-4342 | finanicialaid@soka.edu

Office Hours

We are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our offices are located on the second floor of Founders Hall. To schedule an appointment, please email financialaid@soka.edu