Vanguard University of Southern California


Vanguard University is a private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies equipping students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. A strong commitment to cultural diversity, racial reconciliation, and gender equality is a consequence of Vanguard being deeply grounded in the faith tradition that brought the University into existence. Moreover, these core values continue to define the institutional vision that pulls the Vanguard community forward toward its mission and educational targets and goals. Within this Christian context of inclusiveness, the University aims to provide a quality educational experience by cultivating the Spirit-empowered life in Christian experience and service; promoting academic excellence that integrates faith and life; and providing professor-mentors in a dynamic community environment.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Vanguard University of Southern California
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-9601


Phone: 714-556-3610


Organization details

EIN: 956002998

CEO/President: Michael J. Beals

Chairman: John C. Martin

Board size: 27

Founder: Harold K. Needham, D.W. Kerr, W.C. Pierce

Year founded: 1971

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Vanguard University will become a nationally recognized leader in Christian higher education by cultivating academic excellence, character development and global perspective as seeds of greatness in the life of every student.

Mission statement

Vanguard University exists to pursue knowledge, cultivate character, deepen faith, and equip each student for a life of leadership and service.

Statement of faith

As a Christian comprehensive university of liberal arts and sciences, informed by its evangelical persuasion and Pentecostal heritage, Vanguard University affirms the following confession of faith. We believe:

The Bible to be the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God.

That there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

In the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his virgin birth, in his sinless life, in his miracles, in his vicarious and atoning death, in his bodily resurrection, in his ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in his personal, future return to this earth in power and glory to rule over the nations.

That the only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ.

That regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation.

That the redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides healing of the human body in answer to believing prayer.

That the baptism in the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 2:4, is given to believers who ask for it.

In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy life.

In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation.

Transparency grade

This ministry has not been assigned a transparency grade.

To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating294 of 61832 of 85
Fund acquisition rating259 of 61823 of 85
Resource allocation rating504 of 61878 of 85
Asset utilization rating164 of 6183 of 85

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$5,089,501$3,361,914$3,244,739$2,879,304$5,073,455
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$5,930,072$5,211,308$3,643,508$9,620,282$11,564,963
Long-term investments$5,583,390$3,371,464$4,467,422$1,071,901$383,049
Fixed assets$36,712,539$35,135,166$36,681,345$35,065,931$29,334,541
Other long-term assets$3,055,291$5,473,200$3,616,975$3,628,037$3,430,593
Total long-term assets$45,351,220$43,979,830$44,765,742$39,765,869$33,148,183
Total assets$51,281,292$49,191,138$48,409,250$49,386,151$44,713,146
Payables and accrued expenses$3,591,731$2,939,572$3,035,749$4,486,852$2,656,265
Other current liabilities$3,581,485$2,703,712$2,724,737$3,013,525$1,719,169
Total current liabilities$7,173,216$5,643,284$5,760,486$7,500,377$4,375,434
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$2,252,984$2,326,726$2,532,729$2,644,764$2,732,843
Total long-term liabilities$15,625,025$18,773,448$21,563,443$22,471,283$24,269,973
Total liabilities$22,798,241$24,416,732$27,323,929$29,971,660$28,645,407
Net assets20182017201620152014
Temporarily restricted$7,138,535$4,134,704$3,988,711$8,145,171$7,475,499
Permanently restricted$0$0$0$0$0
Net assets$28,483,051$24,774,406$21,085,321$19,414,491$16,067,739
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$6,735,059$5,821,255$2,070,680$3,330,291$4,644,915
Program service revenue$64,597,569$62,033,528$60,060,242$61,065,921$62,045,176
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$206,148$123,015$98,945($74,701)$10,688
Other revenue($15,786)$78,537($83,606)($446)($576)
Total other revenue$64,787,931$62,235,080$60,075,581$60,990,774$62,055,288
Total revenue$71,522,990$68,056,335$62,146,261$64,321,065$66,700,203
Program services$49,862,514$47,010,821$43,985,823$43,364,969$43,951,653
Management and general$16,523,998$16,655,919$15,907,968$17,132,538$16,231,904
Total expenses$67,260,518$64,340,078$60,452,696$60,957,800$60,725,700
Change in net assets20182017201620152014
Surplus (deficit)$4,262,472$3,716,257$1,693,565$3,363,265$5,974,503
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$4,262,472$3,716,257$1,693,565$3,363,265$5,974,503

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


During the summer of 1920, Harold K. Needham, D. W. Kerr, and W. C. Peirce opened a school to prepare Christian workers for the various ministries of the church. The new institute, Southern California Bible School, moved from Los Angeles to Pasadena in 1927. In 1939 it was chartered by the State of California as a college eligible to grant degrees, and it became Southern California Bible College-the first four-year institution of the Assemblies of God. In 1943 the college received recognition by the government for the training of military chaplains. It moved to the present campus in 1950. The name was changed to Southern California College nine years later when majors in the liberal arts were added to the curriculum. Regional accreditation and membership in the Western Association of Schools and Colleges were granted in 1964. In 1967 the college received recognition and approval of its teaching credential program from the California State Board of Education. In June 1983 the Graduate Studies Program received approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A Degree Completion Program was started in 1994 for adult learners. On July 1, 1999 university status was achieved when Southern California College registered with the Secretary of State's Office as Vanguard University of Southern California and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as several certificate programs. In addition to its founding president, Harold K. Needham, Vanguard University of Southern California has had the able leadership of eight presidents: Daniel W. Kerr, Irvine J. Harrison, John B. Scott, O. Cope Budge, Emil A. Balliet, Wayne E. Kraiss, Murray W. Dempster and Carol Taylor. Vanguard inaugurated its tenth president, Dr. Michael J. Beals, on February 7, 2014. For a century, Vanguard University has been a leader in educational innovation within its denomination, preparing students for all types of ministry. As a Christian university, Vanguard is constantly seeking to expand its influence and service through education that provides excellence without compromise for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Program accomplishments

Ranked one of the top 10 colleges in the west by The U.S. News & World Report since 2010, The Princeton Review also named Vanguard University a 2014 "Best in the West" College. Additionally, Vanguard is named in the 2012-13 Christian Colleges of Distinction and made the Forbes list of best universities. Vanguard University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).