October 11, 2011

Scholarship Funding is Key Component for Accountancy Students

The College of Business Administration School of Accountancy is known for high achieving students, and along with that, scholarship opportunities are a key component for both undergraduate and graduate students. Funds made available from both donors and the School, facilitate a broad base of support for accountancy students.

“Undergraduate scholarships, including funds provided by accounting donors, are awarded by the CBA Scholarships, Honors, and Awards Committee,” Dr. Paul Shoemaker, Director of the School of Accountancy and BKD, LLP Professor of Accountancy, said. “The School of Accountancy has awarded several scholarships for students in the University Honors Program, but primarily, the School involves itself with awarding graduate scholarships. Additionally, some accounting graduate students have received scholarships from the Graduate College.”

Shoemaker pointed out that MPA students can count on funding from the School to help with the cost of rising tuition. As a matter of fact, all MPA students automatically qualify for scholarships. The amounts of awards are based on merit (GMAT scores and GPA), and no applications need be completed.

“Individuals who want to earn the CPA credential are required to have 150 hours of education.  The MPA degree is a 150-hour degree.  The scholarships help offset the cost of the 30 graduate credits needed to earn the MPA degree and qualify for the CPA Exam.”

Students may earn the requisite 150 hours by taking 30 additional hours of undergraduate credits, and in some cases that includes a double-major.   Shoemaker emphasized that the offset costs of graduate credits through scholarships can equalize the cost between graduate and undergraduate credits, and students can earn the MPA degree at essentially the same cost of 150 hours of undergraduate credit.

Shoemaker explained that the advantage of the MPA degree can be important for some students.

“UNL's MPA degree automatically qualifies candidates to sit for the CPA Exam.  Candidates who have 150 credit hours but no MPA degree are required to have a rigorous audit of their transcripts to determine eligibility for the CPA Exam.  The MPA degree provides one less hassle to deal with.  Unfortunately, the salary premium for earning the MPA degree is minimal.  Most accounting firms don't care whether employees have 150 credit hours with or without a graduate degree.  Only if the student seeks a job later that requires a masters degree will it matter.”

Other scholarship opportunities can be found through the UNL Graduate College.

“The Graduate College offers Edgren Fellowships to out-of-state students that reduces tuition to 150 percent of the Nebraska resident tuition rate.  When these are added to the School scholarships, out-of-state students may be paying the equivalent of in-state tuition.  Chancellor's Fellowships and Richard H. Larson Fellowships are available from the Graduate College to supplement departmental funding.”

One additional scholarship source includes the Nebraska Society of CPAs, who provide scholarships annually to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.