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 am so blessed to have been selected as a 2021 PCAOB scholarship beneficiary. This scholarship played a big part in me graduating debt free with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Kent State University last year. It will also assist me as I start a Masters program this coming Fall. As I get closer to being CPA eligible, I am so grateful for the PCAOB's generosity in helping me achieve my career goals and life dreams.”

- Evangeline Agum, Kent State University 

“In March of the final semester of my undergraduate education, I was honored and thrilled to be notified that I am one of the University at Albany’s recipients of the PCAOB Scholarship. As an incoming professional in accounting, there was two things on my mind 150 credit and obtaining my CPA. After working for the majority of my college career this scholarship has allowed me to cut back on work and focus on my degree and studying for CPA exams and for that I am extremely grateful.”

- Markus Clausell, SUNY at Albany


“As a woman and as a member of the Latino community, my dream of becoming an accountant sometimes felt out of reach. Being a recipient of the PCAOB scholarship, however, has allowed me to not only follow this dream but also complete my master’s in accountancy debt free!  It’s hard to express just how honored and grateful I am to be a 2021 PCAOB Scholar."

- Elyse Portal, University of Louisville


“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, Southeastern Louisiana University


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 150 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.