An accounting major continues to be a good option for students who are seeking a highly employable degree in a secure career field. Based on a report of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, in 2011, national enrollment in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree accounting programs reached an all-time high of 225,000 students.
Earning Prospects for Accounting Majors
The popularity of the major is no surprise as Accounting Web reports that the average starting salary for accounting graduates in 2013 was $53,300, which is an increase of 7 percent from $49,700 in 2012. To put this salary in context, according to Forbes, in 2013, the top four majors with the highest earnings were engineering ($62,600), computer science ($59,100), business ($55,100), and communications ($44,600). In 2013, therefore, an accounting degree commanded a salary slightly less than a business degree and significantly higher than a communications degree.
It is clear that an accounting degree can prove a good return on the financial investment of going to college. However, concerns may remain as to how to finance an accounting degree. In addition to federal and state aid, a prospective accounting student would do well to consider accounting scholarships.
One of the best aspects of scholarships is that they do not need to be repaid. Further, they are prestigious because they reflect recognition for academic achievement, although some scholarships may be based primarily on need. Many colleges, in creating a financial aid package, will automatically consider applicants for existing scholarships at the college. However, it is important for student applicants to contact colleges directly to learn if there are any scholarships that require a separate application from the standard admissions application.
When it comes to scholarships, students need to be as knowledgeable as possible about all opportunities. It is also important for students to cast a wide net in their scholarship research efforts. Students who have made an early decision to pursue an accounting degree can look for accounting degree-specific scholarships but are well advised to also look for general scholarships that can be applied to the accounting major.
Scholarships are based on numerous factors including course of study, academic merit, need, and/or state residence. Scholarships range in award levels up to full tuition and possibly even include room and board.
It is important to note that some universities have honors colleges. These honors colleges often offer generous scholarships and aid packages to admitted students because of the competitiveness of admission. The following scholarships represent a small sample of available opportunities:
- The Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship
- Adelante! Fund MillerCoors Brewing Company Scholarship (for Latino students)
- Nellie Martin Carman Scholarship Fund (for Washington state residents)
- Equilar Scholars Program (for UC Berkeley students)
- Surety Industry Scholarship (for minority students)
- KSCPA High School Merit Scholarships (for Kansas colleges)
- City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College (offers prestigious scholarships to admitted students)