PCAOB Scholars Program

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 provides that funds generated from the collection of PCAOB monetary penalties must be used to fund a merit scholarship program for students in accredited accounting degree programs. The PCAOB Scholars Program therefore has been created to identify students eligible to become a PCAOB Scholar and award funds through the students’ educational institutions. 

Scholarship Program Administration

The Board will hire an 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 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.