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Lisa Richardson, Member Service Manager, Society of Louisiana CPAs Reviews Scholarship Opportunities for Louisiana Accounting Students
Interview with Lisa Richardson, Member Service Manager, Society of
The Society of Louisiana CPAs (LCPA) offers several scholarships to Louisiana accounting students throughout the state. To learn about the scholarships available, we spoke with Lisa Richardson, Member Service Manager of the Society of Louisiana CPAs.
With more than 6,200 members statewide, the LCPA has been the leading advocate for Louisiana Certified Public Accountants in public practice, industry, government and education. Since 1911, the society has made an effort to unify CPAs in Louisiana by encouraging members to maintain a high standard of professional and moral behavior.
ACFD: Who is the audience for your scholarships?
LR: Fifth semester accounting majors, or the equivalent, in Louisiana. We do try to set aside one scholarship for a PhD candidate, so if a PhD candidate applies, we may give a little bit more weight to that application, just because we’re trying to support the efforts to increase the PhDs in the accounting education profession.
ACFD: What specific schools do you target?
LR: Part of the requirement is to be enrolled in a four-year program, so we do target the four-year schools, where you would get a bachelor of science in accounting. We do not, at this point, target community colleges.
ACFD: What are the other eligibility requirements for your scholarships?
LR: All applicants must:
- Be Louisiana residents
- Be Enrolled in an accounting program
- Be a fifth semester student
- Have a GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale both overall and in accounting
- Get sponsorships by two accounting faculty members
- Write a one-page essay—the question on the application changes every year.
There are short answer questions that they have to fill out too, in addition to the basic questions. Some of the questions we ask are not typical for scholarship applications, in that they’re short answers. We ask them some questions that are a little bit different, like, ‘What is your understanding of the role of the Louisiana Society of CPAs?’ and ‘How can the profession attract more students?’
ACFD: How do students apply?
LR: In the fall semester, we send out an email to every accounting faculty member in the state, whether they are full-time or adjunct—if they’re anywhere teaching accounting in Louisiana, we catch them. We send them the information to download the application. Most of them forward that information directly to the students. At this point, we don’t have an online application format. You have to download either a PDF and fill it out by hand or we have a word file that you can download and fill out, then send in. Right now everything is by paper, not online.
ACFD: What is the deadline?
LR: The deadline is January 16.
ACFD: What amount do you offer for each scholarship?
LR: It depends. We have four named scholarships—memorial scholarships. Three of those are typically our largest scholarships, and depend on how much money is generated by those endowments, because some of those endowments are quite large. Those scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,500. We give four of those each year. Then, we typically have another 15 or so that are from our general foundation. Those range from $750 to $1,200. The Education Foundation, which is our general foundation, has an endowment as well, but we also solicit donations all year long. Those scholarships are based on the interest generated from the general endowment, as well as those contributions.
ACFD: What are some of the qualities you look for in applicants?
LR: Our criteria are GPA, extra-curricular activity, how they answered some of the short answer questions. 50 percent of each student’s grade is based on their essay. That’s how the grades are weighted. Regarding the GPA, they will weigh someone’s extra-curricular and work activities. If someone has a little bit of a lower GPA but is working full-time, they take all of that into account. They do look for someone who is in need. They look for a variety of things.
ACFD: What are the overall goals of the Louisiana Society of CPAs?
LR: Clearly we are here primarily for our membership and to protect the profession, to protect their designation and also to provide their education so they can be the best in their field. We’re also dedicated to keeping the pipeline full of future CPAs and helping them get the education they need and take the exam.
Plagiarizing your application essay will lead to automatic disqualification. According to Richardson, there has been a noted increase in scholarship candidates submitting plagiarized material. The Louisiana Society of CPAs is highly diligent in making sure that all application material is original.