Paul Richard Cherney, 27, a certified public accountant and an internal auditor for the Student Loan Marketing Association here, died of cancer Monday at his parents' home in Arlington. He lived in Alexandria.

Mr. Cherney joined the staff of the association, a private corporation established by Congress to maintain a secondary market for guaranteed student loans, in 1979.

Before that, he was an accountant for two Washington accounting firms and an auditor for the United Mineworkers of America Health and Retirement Fund.

Mr. Cherney was born in Bethesda and reared in Arlington. He graduated from Yorktown High School, where he was a member of the varsity soccer team.

He also played varsity soccer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. In 1976, he graduated from the University of Virginia. He became a CPA in 1978.

Mr. Cherney had been active in Junior Achievement and won prizes for his watercolors and woodblocks. He was an honorary member of the University of Virginia's McIntire Accounting Society.

Survivors include his parents, retired Navy Cmdr. Boris E. and Barbara G. Cherney, a brother, Lawrence G., and a sister, Barbara C. Andrukonis, all of Arlington; another sister, Susan C. Henman of San Anselmo, Calif., and a grandmother, Maria Cherniavsky of Los Angeles.