Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, monetary penalties imposed by the PCAOB must be used to fund merit scholarships for students in accredited accounting degree programs. The Board has established the PCAOB Scholarship Program to provide a source of funding to encourage outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to pursue a career in auditing.
The Board has hired Scholarship America of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to administer and manage the program on behalf of the PCAOB, including contacting eligible educational institutions, providing customer service, and disbursing funds. On an annual basis, the PCAOB will select, with the help of Scholarship America, educational institutions and invite them each to nominate, by the deadline, an eligible student as a recipient of the PCAOB Scholarship. The scholarships are one-time awards made payable to the educational institution for eligible expenses such as tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Awards will be mailed directly to nominated students with a cover letter describing the scholarship and its permitted uses.
Accredited U.S. colleges and universities that award bachelor's or master's degrees in accounting, and report the number of degrees awarded using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, are eligible to be selected to nominate students for the scholarships. Eligible institutions will be divided into two groups; Group A includes the one hundred institutions with the highest total of master's degrees in accounting conferred during the preceding five academic years for which data is available, and Group B contains all other institutions that offer bachelor's or master's degrees in accounting.
The PCAOB, with Scholarship America's help, will select institutions to provide student nominations by using a statistical selection process that follows protocols for fairness and impartiality. Seventy-five percent of the scholarships will go to students attending institutions in Group A and 25 percent will be awarded to students who attend institutions in Group B. Schools selected as nominating institutions in a given year will not be considered for selection for the next five years or until all institutions in the respective group have been selected, whichever occurs first.
The program is merit-based and students eligible to receive a PCAOB Scholarship must:
The PCAOB supports the development of a diverse accounting profession and encourages educational institutions to give consideration to students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in the profession, in determining student nominations.