PCAOB Scholars Program

Since 2011, the PCAOB has administered a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate accounting students enrolled in accredited U.S. colleges and universities. The PCAOB Scholars Program is mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and is funded through monetary penalties collected as part of PCAOB enforcement actions.

The PCAOB Scholars Program seeks to benefit students who are likely to become auditors and to make a difference to students who might otherwise choose a different career path.

The scholarship is awarded through a nomination process, on which more information is provided below.

Spotlight on PCAOB Scholars

I found myself at a crossroads. I considered whether I should get a job or should I further my education. I was at a very similar decision point earlier in my life and did not want to feel like I had to again forego education in order to get a job. So, I decided, against all odds, to pursue a master’s degree and become a CPA, for that is my desire and dream. This is where I must wholeheartedly thank the PCAOB. Graduate school is expensive, and there are not any federal grants given. The only option for me would be to obtain additional student loans, which would still not have been sufficient to cover all expenses such as tuition, books, fees, and living expenses. I knew that to be successful in graduate school I would not be able to maintain a fulltime job, so even with student loans, the situation presented a hardship. When I was told by the director of the master’s of accounting program at NC State that I was the recipient of the PCAOB scholarship, I was extremely grateful and excited. I knew that the scholarship would help to make my dream a reality."

- Lorraine Johnson

The PCAOB scholarship has proven to be a greater blessing than I could have imagined when I received the opportunity to apply last summer. Thanks to this opportunity, my dream of pursuing a master’s degree in accounting debt free is looking like a reality, despite having to unexpectedly replace my vehicle and laptop. After pursuing this goal for the past five years, adequate appreciation is hard to express. The PCAOB Scholarship has truly been a dream-preserver."

- Aaron Rosedale

“The academic scholarship I was rewarded from the PCAOB was a huge blessing and allowed me to finish my last two semesters at MSU to earn my BBA – Accounting. I had been paying for college with Pell Grant funds, but it took me a little longer to earn my degree, so for my last two semesters I was having to figure out what I was going to do to be able to finish my degree. Fortunately during that time, Dr. Patton presented me with the opportunity to apply for the PCAOB’s Academic Scholarship. Thankfully I received it and was able to graduate this past weekend.” 

- Angela Perry

“The PCAOB scholarship was a major contributor to my continued education. I know I would have continued through my master’s program but during the aftermath of [Hurricane] Irma there were times when I thought I may have to change directions and focus on my family and home. The PCAOB scholarship allowed me to continue my education without the worry and fear of investing in my education in a time when my family was trying to recover from Irma and rebuild our home. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity provided to me and am excited to continue to move forward in my education and carve a place for myself in the accounting community.”

- Courtney Crowley

Former Board Member Hamm visits with PCAOB scholar Courtney Crowley in Tampa.

“Going into my senior year, my financial aid was dwindling to nothing. This scholarship allowed me to spend more time to focus on my studying and not have to deal with the financial burden. Your scholarship was the biggest blessing, and I am totally appreciative of the opportunities you provide to young aspiring accountants. The award I received from the PCAOB is a perfect stepping stone to catapult my career.”

- Brandon Richardson

Scholarship Program Administration

The Board utilizes an outside administrator to assist with program management and execution. This includes contacting eligible educational institutions, collecting nominations, and disbursing funds, as well as certain customer service functions.

PCAOB scholarships are one-time awards and cover the following qualified educational expenses:

  • Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the institution
  • Fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses at the institution (note: these items must be required of all students in a given course).

The funds may NOT cover room and board, travel, research, or optional equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment or attendance.

Checks will be made payable to the Nominated Student’s Nominating Institution and mailed to the nominated student with a financial aid cover letter describing permitted uses.

Selection of Nominating Institutions

With the exception of certain Group 3 institutions discussed below, all U.S. colleges and universities that are regionally accredited and AACSB accredited with respect to accounting or business programs, and which report conferral of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in accounting, will be considered Eligible Institutions and stratified in three groups. Certain regionally accredited institutions without AACSB accreditation may be considered Eligible Institutions in Group 3 as defined below.

Subject to availability of funds, Eligible Institutions who meet the criteria for Groups 1, 2, or 3 will be considered Nominating Institutions and will be invited to submit a nomination.

  • Group 1 will include all regionally accredited institutions with AACSB accredited accounting programs which reported conferral of accounting degrees to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
  • Group 2 will include the top 50 regionally accredited institutions with AACSB accredited business (but not accounting) programs, as determined by the total number of undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees conferred in the most recent five years for which data is available (as reported in IPEDS).
  • Group 3 will include the largest regionally accredited and AACSB accredited accounting degree-granting institution for each state not represented in Groups 1 and 2, or the largest regionally accredited accounting degree-granting institution if a state has no AACSB accredited institution, as determined by the total number of undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees conferred in the most recent five years for which data is available (as reported in IPEDS). 

Student Eligibility Criteria

Students must be selected and nominated by their institution. Students eligible to become a PCAOB Scholar must:

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate accounting program at U.S. colleges or universities identified as a Nominating Institution above
  • Start classes on or after August 1 with respect to the applicable academic year
  • Demonstrate interest and aptitude in accounting and auditing as evidenced by an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher or being in the top 1/3 of their overall class
  • Demonstrate high ethical standards
  • At the time of nomination, 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.)
  • Demonstrate financial need (Defined as being eligible to receive a Pell Grant or requiring other Federal financial aid for a significant portion of the expected or actual billed cost of attendance, as determined by the institution)

The PCAOB Scholars Program is merit-based, but the PCAOB encourages educational institutions to give special consideration to students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in the accounting profession.