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The accounting graduate of the future.

Accounting educators and employers of accounting graduates need to study carefully the demographics of their regions. Over the next several years, the characteristics and availability of accounting students and new accounting graduates will vary markedly from state to state. In some areas of the West and South, accounting departments are expected to be overrun with applicants while in other areas, particularly the Northeast, accounting programs may need new and creative ways to attract enough good students to justify their existence.

Two-year schools will play a pivotal role in the number of people majoring in accounting. An ever-growing percentage of the population is likely to start at junior colleges. Unfortunately, these students are much more likely than university students to drop out short of a degree; those who do complete baccalaureate degrees will take longer than four years.

The 1989 book Shaping Higher Education's Future: Demographic Realities and Opportunities, 1990-2000 by Levine, Arthur and Associates presents some important facts about the demographic changes of higher education:

* The number of college graduates during the next 20 years will depend heavily on the percentage of minority students completing a university education. The survival of some traditionally white universities will depend on their attracting and awarding degrees to minorities.

* Higher education institutions are overrepresented in the areas of the deepest population declines--the Northeast and Midwest. Since the growth in the college-age population will be from groups typically less able to afford schools at great distances from their homes, some promising students may not find space in quality programs.

* Because top students usually seek the best education available, the more elite public and private institutions are receiving greater numbers of applicants than ever before.

Applications to law and medical schools remain high through good and bad economic times and ups and downs in the college-age population. Research shows the level of interest in all graduate degrees is at an all-time high (61%) among freshmen students.

When compared to those of the 1980s, the future accounting graduate will be older and more likely to be from a minority group, will have started college at a two-year school and will have worked while in school.

Universities and employers will need to take account of these facts when planning to attract and retain these people.
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Title Annotation:Accounting Education
Author:Elam, Rick
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Attracting the best candidates.
Next Article:Integrating ethics into the accounting curriculum.

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