Scholarship Programs for Student Accountants

Accounting Scholarships

Accounting is an expanding field with great job opportunities and lucrative career paths. The cost of the education required to become an accountant can however be overwhelming without some help.

So if you are studying accounting or are already enrolled in an accounting program, one option you should not overlook is applying for one of the abundant accounting scholarships available. Scholarships targeted toward the accounting profession are offered on the national, state, local and institutional level.  There are also scholarships through a variety of accounting firms, and accounting focused groups and organizations.

You should check with your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office for assistance identifying scholarships for which you may qualify. The web pages of the professional accounting associations are another good place to search specifically for accounting scholarship opportunities. Generally these sites will also provide the application form and information as to deadlines and eligibility criteria.

There are also several online scholarship identification websites which provide scholarship specific search engines that will pull information from large databases and sort the scholarship information according to criteria you specify. These sites can help you identify scholarship opportunities that meet your specific background, unique characteristic and needs. The scholarship identification sites are free so all you have to invest is your time. A few you might try are:

Each scholarship will have unique eligibility criteria, deadlines and applications. Generally the accounting specific scholarships will require the student to be enrolled full time or have been accepted into a full time accounting or finance related program. Some scholarships are targeted to specific groups of students such as women, minorities, students studying specific accounting specialties, students from specific states or localities or students studying at specific institutions. It is not unusual for the student to be asked to submit an essay along with their application. It is never too early to begin your search for scholarships; you don’t want to find the perfect opportunity only to discover you have missed the deadline to file an application.

Accounting scholarships range from full rides to $200 or $300 grant and from onetime awards to a four year commitment depending on the size and nature of the sponsoring organization. Because of the large number of accounting students applying for the national scholarships competition may be tough. But don’t let that stop you from applying.  Searching for a local or specialty scholarship for which you may be uniquely qualified for is another way to increase your chances of getting an award.

Some of the professional associations and organizations interested in accounting that award accounting related scholarships are:

  • The Government Finance Officers Association: Offers several scholarships targeting accounting and finance students preparing for a career in government finance including The Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship -  a $10,000 award targeted to graduate students enrolled in a master’s program and preparing for a career in government finance; The Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship - a $5000 scholarship available to undergraduate or graduate students preparing for a career in government finance; and the Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship – a  $5000  scholarship targeted to upper-division undergraduate or graduate minority students studying in a public administration, accounting, finance or another field with a focus on government or non profit management.
  • The American Society of Women Accountants:  Awards a number of scholarships to women studying accounting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting: Offers a few four year scholarships targeted to women studying in accounting. These scholarships are awarded based on financial need and can range from $2000 to $16,000 over the four year award period
  • The National Society of Accountants:  Offer scholarships of up to $1000 to thirty undergraduate accounting majors each year
  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA):  Sponsors over 130 scholarships targeted to minority undergraduate students with awards of between $1500 and $5000 and five Accountemps Scholarships awarded to undergraduate accounting majors based on academic achievement.  Also awarded by AICPA are ten John L. Carey, $5000 scholarships, awarded to graduate students studying for the CPA exam and 20 full time fellowships for minority doctoral students who have their CPA and are intending to go teach at the college level
  • Local Chapters of Beta Alpha Psi, The International Honorary Organization for Financial Information Professionals: Award scholarships ranging from $250 to $1000
  • The National Association of Black Accountants: Provides scholarships to African-American students who are members of the association. The awards range from $1000 to $6000
  • The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA): Awards scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need and community involvement targeted to accounting students of Hispanic heritage. The scholarships range from $1,250 - $10,000
  • The Derek Hughes National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO): Have $2000 scholarships available to business students with an interest in insurance and finance
  • And maybe the most unlikely entity to offer scholarships targeted to accounting - The Central Intelligence Agency: Offers undergraduate scholarships to students majoring in accounting of up to $18,000

The above list of organizations awarding accounting scholarships is not meant to be exhaustive but rather a sample of some of the national associations and organizations offering accounting scholarships. Hopefully it gives you an idea of the types of scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply. There are many more scholarships offered by local chapters of the professional associations, local accounting businesses and local foundations that you can search for by state or locality.  Add to the list provided here the additional opportunities you discover through your own research. Then get busy completing the applications, writing the essays and obtaining the references that will help you receive an award to offset your accounting education costs.

Once you have submitted your application and other required materials it is always prudent to follow up before the submission deadline to ensure the organization or committee you sent your materials to has received all the required materials for their consideration of your application. Good luck!

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