Author  DRBU Staff

Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU) announced today that it is expanding its scholarship program for the 2021–2022 academic year so that economic hardships brought on by the pandemic do not deter students from obtaining a degree. The first and only accredited four-year college in Northern California’s Mendocino County, DRBU has two degree programs centered around reading and discussion of classical primary texts at its Ukiah, California campus: Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Master of Arts in Buddhist Classics. Both have a strong emphasis on Asian core texts and the integration of contemplative exercises—features that set DRBU apart from other liberal arts colleges. Available for both the DRBU undergraduate and graduate programs, the scholarship program covers the cost of attendance, including tuition and on-campus housing, for the duration of the academic program. Applications are now open for Fall 2021 and are due on May 15, 2021; applications received after this date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

“Students and their families are being forced to rethink their higher education options, facing the difficult decision of postponing college or forgoing it altogether,” says President Susan Rounds. “DRBU’s scholarship program is part of our commitment to help our students meet their demonstrated financial needs so that income or financial hardship does not divert students from their academic goals.”

Since its inception, DRBU has never let affordability be a student’s determining factor to enrolling. Over 85% of both undergraduate and graduate students receive financial aid from DRBU, and every student has graduated without taking on loans or accruing debt. With DRBU’s goal to provide every admitted student the opportunity to attend, the university is an affordable alternative for a fulfilling liberal arts college education for local and international students alike.

“I came to DRBU with the intentions of improving myself and expanding my knowledge of the world,” says Warren Chew, BA student 2022. “I did not anticipate how my service scholarship would contribute to my growth. It has led me to reevaluate how I help my community and to understand the value of contributing when I see a need. I will carry this learning lesson in gratitude with me, long after my time at DRBU ends.”

“In the last academic year, we’ve seen our students have an increased need for financial support, with 90% of them needing financial aid,” adds Wayne Chen, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. “The scholarship program has allowed DRBU to foster socioeconomic diversity within its student population.”

Prior to the pandemic, DRBU maintained low operating costs due to in-kind donations, primarily in the form of instructional and administrative functions performed by DRBU faculty and staff who are monastics. Based on their vows of renunciation, monastic faculty and staff members donate their salaries back to DRBU. Additionally, DRBU maintains a flat and modest salary structure for all of its staff. The president, for example, earns essentially the same salary as a new professor.

Since 2010, DRBU has operated as a start-up in the design, development, and implementation of its new programs. Its mission and educational vision have attracted faculty and staff with strong qualifications and professional experiences, who are dedicated to maintaining the current salary structure. This, and the generous support of donors, has afforded DRBU the flexibility to continue its growth and to offer generous financial aid to its students.

The recent expansion of the program is an outgrowth of the University’s Disaster Relief Scholarships, which launched in 2019, for students affected by catastrophic disasters such as the Mendocino Complex Fire, Camp Fire, and Hurricane Harvey. All financial aid recipients are expected to participate in the DRBU work-study program. Applications for financial aid and the scholarship program are open online at