CPA Group Expands Scholarships to Community College Transfers

By Corey Murray

As tuition at the nation’s four-year colleges continues to skyrocket, a national trade group representing the needs of the accounting profession has, for the first time, extended scholarship opportunities to two-year transfer students.

College is expensive. And the longer a student attends, the pricier it gets.

An associate degree might cost a few thousand dollars; a bachelor’s degree —  depending on where a student enrolls — will cost double, even triple, that. And that’s not including graduate school or the need for professional credentials after college.

Take accountants, for example. Many students who major in accounting enter the field with a four-year degree. Some, especially those who major in other fields — government, for example — choose to pursue a master’s in accounting and enter the field after graduate school. From there, the pursuit of a certified public accounting (CPA) license might also be in store. Then there is the matter of continuing professional education (CPE) credits to keep that CPA license current.

There’s no one way to look that doesn’t cost a student, or his or her family, depending on who is picking up the tab, a boatload of money. But as a new grant program from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) demonstrates, more aspiring accountants are starting at a community college as a way of softening the blow.

About the program: Intended for 2014–15, the AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship aims to help community college students transfer to four-year colleges to continue their pursuit of an accounting degree.

Writing for Accounting Web, reporter Deanna White described the program as a $1,000 grant awarded to “recipients who have earned an associate degree in business, accounting, finance, or economics and declared their intent to major in accounting at a four-year college or university.”

Program organizers say the scholarship was created because the AICPA has seen a rise in the number of students who choose a two-year college to begin pursuing a career in accounting or related field.

“Community college is popular for a lot of reasons, including the availability of classes, the location of campus, and the cost of tuition, just to name a few,” acknowledged Scott Moore, AICPA’s director of Student and Professional Pathways.

The two-year transfer scholarship is part of AICPA’s ThisWayToCPA National Scholarship Search, which includes more than 100 different scholarship opportunities for students.

Not alone

As tuition at the nation’s four-year colleges continues to rise, more organizations are extending benefits to community college students.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society, doles out $37 million in scholarships each year to community college students looking to advance their educations.

Community college students can learn more about these and other opportunities by visiting CollegeFish.org, a free online tool that helps community college students and others plan their educations and identify scholarship opportunities to help pay for college.

Corey Murray

is editor of the 21st-Century Center.

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