Pumping Up the CPA Pipeline with AICPA Legacy Scholars Program
College can be very expensive – I’ve got reams of cancelled checks to my student loan provider to prove it - but it’s also the best way to increase one’s chances of economic mobility. A college degree is essential if you’re planning to earn a CPA license.
The AICPA has long been committed to ensuring that there is a strong supply of talented CPAs in the pipeline to help the profession continue to meet the needs of U.S. capital markets. One of the ways the AICPA does this is through our AICPA Legacy Scholars Program.
The program, established in 2011, awards recipients with a one-year scholarship. It uses on-campus service work to help them develop the soft skills, including leadership and communications, needed to thrive in the accounting profession. Scholarship recipients plan, promote and execute specific on-campus events each semester that promote the value of the profession to others. To date, more than 300 students have participated in the AICPA Legacy Scholars program
I sat down with Samantha Mitchell, who is closely involved in the day-to-day management of the AICPA Legacy Scholars program, to find out more details about the program and additional insights for students.
James Schiavone: What role do on-campus events play in the AICPA Legacy Scholars Program? Why are those important?
Samantha Mitchell: As recipients of one of the AICPA Legacy Scholarships, our Scholars not only receive financial support but they are building and strengthening their soft skills. Through the process of planning and executing on-campus events, the Scholars are developing their communication, time-management and leadership skills. Completing these projects will better position them for life after graduation by giving them experience many of their peers won’t have.
JS: How has the AICPA Legacy Scholars Program evolved over the years?
SM: Great question! We are always looking for ways to improve and enhance the program. One recent change was shifting the projects our Scholars perform to on-campus events that talk about the possibilities of a career in accounting and the benefits of the CPA. This change gave us the opportunity to unify the program, and allowed us to provide our Scholars with additional on-message resources to help their events be successful.
JS: AICPA Legacy Scholars are Student Affiliate Members of the AICPA – what does that mean?
SM: The AICPA is the leading professional organization for CPAs. Being an AICPA Student Affiliate Member means students are part of that network. They get access to content to help them reach their goal of becoming a CPA. Plus, they’ll have exclusive scholarship application opportunities, discounts on conferences and special products. And luckily for them, it’s free to any student currently enrolled at a 2- or 4-year college or university.
JS: Anything you would like to add?
SM: If you’re planning to pursue your CPA, want to enhance your soft skills and would like the support of the AICPA behind you – check out the AICPA Legacy Scholarship application! Applications are currently being accepted online. You can view the full details and eligibility requirements at ThisWayToCPA.com/AICPAScholars.
James Schiavone, Senior Manager – Public Relations, American Institute of CPAs