By Deanna C. White
For today's college students, struggling under the crushing weight of ever-escalating tuition and staggering student loan debt, a scholarship is nothing short of a godsend.
But Ronald Dukes, one of the 2012-2013 recipients of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students, said the significance of the scholarship transcends merely offsetting college costs. It confirms that he has chosen the right career path, drives him to have a positive influence on the profession, and motivates him to serve as a role model for future generations of CPAs.
"To me, the value of the AICPA's minority scholarship doesn't lie solely in meeting a student's financial needs, but also in the many intangibles which outshine any other scholarship I've received", said Dukes, who is pursuing his Master of Accountancy at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. "This scholarship has provided me with inspiration and passion to impact a positive change in the accounting profession and to set an example for my peers to follow."
Dukes, who is also the recipient of the AICPA's Robert Half International Scholarship, was one of just eighty-four accounting students from across the United States awarded the 2012-2013 AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students by the AICPA Foundation this October.
This year, the program received 286 eligible applications. The recipients, who were selected through a rigorous process designed to ensure students possessed first-rate academic and leadership, included students in both undergraduate and graduate level accounting programs who maintained a minimum 3.3 grade point average. To qualify, all students must plan on pursuing the CPA licensure.
A complete list of the 2012-2013 AICPA minority scholarship recipients is available on the AICPA website.
States with the most scholarship recipients this year are Texas with ten, Florida with seven, and tied are New York and North Carolina with 6.
Scholarship funding is provided by the AICPA Foundation with contributions from the Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs, the New Jersey Society of CPAs, and Robert Half International.
In total, the AICPA Foundation awarded $254,500 to the scholars. The majority of students received individual awards of $3,000 to fund expenses related to their pursuit of an accounting degree. Thirteen students were selected as recipients of designated, special awards (see sidebar).
The application deadline for the 2013-2014 AICPA minority scholarship program is April 1, 2013.
The AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students program began in 1969 with the aim to increase the ethnic diversity within the CPA profession. Since the program's inception, the AICPA has awarded approximately $14.6 million.
Recently, the AICPA announced the creation of the National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion to serve as the champion of diversity within the accounting profession and increase the retention and advancement of underrepresented minorities to better reflect the clients and communities CPAs serve.
To learn more about the AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students and other scholarship opportunities, visit www.aicpa.org/scholarships.