Located outside of Tampa, Florida, Saint Leo University is a private liberal arts college with a Catholic background. Founded in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida, the school is the oldest Catholic university in the state and continues to offer an education that’s grounded in its religious principles. Students will benefit from a curriculum that depends on six core values: excellence, community, respect, personal development, responsible stewardship and integrity. Despite its Catholic roots, Saint Leo enrolls students of all religious and non-religious backgrounds at its physical campus in Saint Leo as well as through its online college.
Online education has played an important role at Saint Leo University since its inception in 1998. The school has an enrollment of about 16,000 students, most of whom take classes online. In fact, the school has an undergraduate enrollment of just 2,290 students at its physical campus. All of the school’s academic programs are available to students regardless of where they study. With a physical campus in Florida, 17 distance education centers and an online system, Saint Leo offers students greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and earning a degree.
The school has a longstanding history of making education available to veterans and military personnel. According to the university website, it is “one of America’s largest and most committed providers of higher education to the U.S. military.” G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education rate the school as one of the most military-friendly colleges in the country. In addition to these accolades, U.S. News and World Report places Saint Leo at a tie for number 71 on its list of the best schools in the Southern region for 2016.
Saint Leo University Accreditation Details
As an institution, Saint Leo University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university’s School of Business also holds accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, and the MBA Sport Business program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. Saint Leo is a member of several academic organizations as well, including the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education, the National Catholic Education Association and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, among others.
Saint Leo University Application Requirements
Saint Leo University has a rolling application process and offers six start dates throughout the year. Undergraduate students will fill out an online application regardless of the program they’re interested in and submit the following documents to the school via mail:
- A $45 nonrefundable fee
- A high school diploma or GED
- All official transcripts
- Official scores from relevant standardized tests
- Proof of professional training if applicable
Graduate students follow a different route depending on the program to which they’re applying. The five categories of online graduate studies are business, criminal justice, education, social work and theology. Business applicants, for example, will need to do the following:
- Submit an online application
- Pay an $80 nonrefundable fee
- Provide a resume
- Submit professional recommendations from two people
- Provide a Statement of Professional Goals
- Fill out a form to release official transcripts to the school
- Submit a GMAT score
Students who want to enroll in the Master of Accountancy program are required to submit a GMAT score, and they need to earn a score of at least 500 in order to be considered for the program. Other stipulations for individual graduate programs may apply.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Non-military undergraduate students at Saint Leo pay $470 per credit hour for a bachelor’s degree; military personnel pay $250 per credit hour. At the graduate level, tuition rates vary based on individual programs. For example, the Master of Accounting program costs $515 per credit for military students and $695 for civilian students. Some programs cost the same regardless of military status. Various fees also apply to individual degrees, such as an international credential evaluation fee of $235.
To help pay for college, students can apply for institutional scholarships at the undergraduate level, grants, and federal and private loans. Graduate students are not eligible for scholarships at Saint Leo, but the university does encourage students to seek out scholarship opportunities outside of the school.
Master of Accounting
Students at Saint Leo University have two options for graduate studies when it comes to accounting: a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting or a Master of Accounting. This section will focus on the latter, which focuses on technical competencies and financial reporting for individuals who are already working in the field or who aspire to become professional accountants. The degree is offered entirely online for greater flexibility. Upon completing the program, graduates will have met the 150-hour education requirement needed to become a CPA. Graduates of the Master of Accounting program will be able to:
- Prepare taxes according to current tax law
- Study and evaluate financial statements as they relate to firm valuation
- Critically evaluate issues related to accounting and resolve these issues using relevant methods
- Fix financial reporting issues for businesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies at the national and international levels
- Assess and evaluate legal issues within a business context
- Recognize ethical dilemmas and work toward appropriate solutions
The MAcc program requires 30 credit hours, but students without an accounting background will need to complete nine additional prerequisite courses before pursuing the regular courses. These prerequisites cover topics such as accounting principles, information systems, auditing, and business law.
Provided that students have completed these prerequisite courses before starting the MAcc program, graduate candidates will need to take 24 credit hours of accounting courses and six hours of non-accounting courses. The non-accounting classes cover managerial economics and corporate finance. For the accounting portion of the degree, candidates will study fraud examination, contemporary issues in auditing, accounting theory, and advanced cost accounting, among other topics.
Citing a report by the American Institute of CPAs, the university notes that “the MAcc continues to be the dominant degree for accountants at the graduate level.” In 2011, 82 percent of accountants with a master’s degree who were hired by CPA firms held MAcc degrees. At Saint Leo University, graduate candidates will study a curriculum that has been developed to meet the standard CPA certification requirements.