With recent reports showing that the average student loan debt for a graduating senior is topping out at around $30,000, college students and their families need all the help they can get to offset the escalating costs of college tuition.
And for many of those students, earning their associate’s degree at a community college before transferring to a four-year school is a popular option.
This year, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has launched a new scholarship, the AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship, to help pave the way for transfer students to achieve their goal of becoming a CPA.
The AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship, which was created for the 2014-15 academic year, provides $1,000 to recipients who have earned an associate’s degree in business, accounting, finance, or economics and declared their intent to major in accounting at a four-year college or university, according to the AICPA.
“The AICPA recognizes that education is not one-size-fits-all, and everyone takes their own path to becoming a CPA,” said AICPA Director of Student and Professional Pathways Scott Moore. “By expanding our scholarship program to provide tuition assistance for students transferring from two-year colleges, we’re acknowledging the hard work of these future CPAs.”
Moore said the AICPA decided to expand its existing scholarship program in this area because the association has seen a trend of accounting students transferring to four-year schools after starting at community colleges.
“Community college is popular for a lot of reasons, including the availability of classes, the location of campus, and the cost of tuition, just to name a few,” Moore said. “Because there is a large population of minority students attending community colleges, the AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship is offered in concert with the AICPA’s National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion.”
The AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship is just one of the more than 100 scholarships, totaling more than $300,000, the AICPA will award for the 2014-15 academic year.
The transfer scholarship joins the AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship, AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship, and the AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students in comprising the AICPA Legacy Scholars program.
Established in 2011, the Legacy Scholars program awards recipients with a one-year AICPA scholarship and offers students benefits beyond their academic careers through the AICPA Legacy Scholars Alumni.
Scholarship recipients in the Legacy Scholars program perform eight hours of community service per semester. The service activity must relate to accounting, serve the community, and be meaningful to the student, according to the AICPA.
Former AICPA Legacy Scholar Ronald Dukes, a recipient of the 2012-13 AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students, said the scholarship was critical in helping him achieve his dream of becoming a CPA. It did more than merely defray college costs, Dukes noted. It confirmed he had chosen the right career path and motivated 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 earned his master of accountancy degree at Villanova University in Villanova, 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.”
The AICPA also recently announced that beginning this year, undergraduate- and graduate-level accounting students will be able to apply online for scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year.
Students can learn more about AICPA scholarships at ThisWaytoCPA.com, and apply online no later than April 1, 2014, for the following four scholarships:
- AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship
- AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship
- AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students
- AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship
Moore encouraged students to take advantage of ThisWayToCPA’s National Scholarship Search, which features more than 100 different accounting scholarship opportunities, as well as reviews the scholarships offered through the AICPA Legacy Scholars program.
For more information on AICPA scholarships, contact the AICPA by e-mail.
About Deanna White
Deanna Arteaga is a professional freelance writer and public relations specialist who for the past six years has covered CPA industry trends for AccountingWEB. She also writes about CPA firm marketing, higher education and professional development for CPAs, and workplace trends in the accounting profession. She has more than 20 years of journalism and public relations experience, including her tenure as a former newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago where she covered breaking news, municipal politics, and state legislative issues.