PCAOB Scholarship Program

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.

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.

Scholarship Program Administration

The Board utilizes outside vendors to assist with administration and management of the program on behalf of the PCAOB. This includes contacting eligible educational institutions, collection of nominations, disbursement of funds, and certain customer service functions.  

Selection of Nominating Institutions

Regionally 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 150 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.

On an annual basis, using a statistical selection process that follows protocols for fairness and impartiality, educational institutions will be selected to provide student nominations. 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. Exceptions to this ratio will be made when necessary to maintain one nominee per nominating institution. 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.

Student Eligibility Criteria

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 at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university;
  • Demonstrate interest and aptitude in accounting and auditing;
  • Demonstrate high ethical standards; and
  • 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.