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 ACT, Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa, 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 ACT, 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 that will be paid directly to the educational institution for eligible expenses such as tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Recipients will receive written notification of their selection as well as notification when the funds have been provided to the school.
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, and Group B contains all other institutions that offer bachelor's or master's degrees in accounting.
The PCAOB, with ACT'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 twenty-five 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:
- Be enrolled in a bachelor's or master's degree program in Accounting
- Demonstrate interest and aptitude in accounting and auditing
- Demonstrate high ethical standards
- Not be a PCAOB employee or a child or spouse of a PCAOB employee. (Note: This includes all full-time and part-time employees of the PCAOB, including interns, and independent consultants who are natural persons.)
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.