SARASOTA, Fla. (March 22, 2017) – In an effort to address Southwest Florida’s higher education needs and a changing labor market, USF Sarasota-Manatee is unveiling a scholarship initiative aimed at attracting more accounting students.
USF Sarasota-Manatee’s accounting program – the College of Business’ largest major – is one of the campus’ most successful programs with students landing impactful scholarships and graduates entering rewarding careers locally.
However, a recent surge in technology and science-based careers nationally has pushed more high school seniors to select college-degree programs that align with those fields.
USFSM’s scholarship initiative is designed to encourage local students to look closer at careers in accounting.
“Hopefully this will help counter what has become a trend in accounting student undergraduate enrollments at public universities across the country,” Dr. Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor, said.
The initiative comes as local employers assure USFSM that accounting degrees remain in high demand and will continue to be so for years to come.
USFSM has long enjoyed strong ties with many elite accounting firms locally, supplying both interns and knowledgeable graduates. In fact, 87 percent of USFSM’s accounting graduates attain jobs in their chosen field after graduation, outpacing similar placements by colleges elsewhere within the USF System.
Efforts to launch the accounting initiative started in January. The scholarship will be funded by several existing funds, including one backed by Sarasota-based accounting firm Kerkering, Barberio & Co. and another by the Florida Institute for Certified Public Accountants in Tallahassee.
Additionally, USFSM offers several scholarships and other tuition-assistance programs to aid students throughout their college careers to enable them to graduate with minimal or no student debt, including the Bright Futures Scholarship.
“Local businesses have always looked to us to help fill jobs in a variety of different career areas, but our connection with the accounting industry has always been extremely important,” said Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business. “Our accounting students are prepared to jump right into the workforce and many of them land careers right here in our community after graduation. We are committed to continuing that partnership between our campus and the local industry.”
USFSM’s accounting graduates are frequently sought by prestigious firms and remain the second highest paid of all USFSM graduates. In addition, accounting degrees can open doors to other challenging careers, including financial planning, tax and account management, and a variety of executive positions.
USFSM’s College of Business is recognized nationally. The college is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction earned by fewer than five percent of the world’s business programs.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our institution to expand access to higher education for the students who live in our community,” Dr. Osborn said. “By establishing this scholarship program, we are opening the door to students who may have never considered a career in accounting, but now will have the opportunity to enter a program with an extremely bright future, right here in our own backyard. We are fortunate to have strong support system within the accounting industry and we are glad that we are able to meet their needs for additional workforce-ready graduates.”
To learn more about USFSM’s many scholarship and financial aid programs, visit usfsm.edu/admissions.
About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, Venice and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.