NIU students score high on CPA exam

By Steve Carasso

The high marks for NIU’s accounting program just keep rolling.

Results compiled since 1985 show that NIU has the highest percentage of candidates scoring passing results on the national Certified Public Accountant exam.

NIU accounting students lived up to their reputation in 1990. The latest statistics released by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy show that NIU students rank second in the nation on the May 1990 exam and seventh in the nation on the November 1990 exam.

The national passing average for the May 1990 exam was 20.3 percent while NIU’s passing average of 57.6 percent was nearly three times greater.

“Our students have obtained the highest passing percentages 10 times out of the last 12 exams,” said Debra Hopkins, director of the NIU CPA review courses. “NIU is the only Illinois university which ranked in the top 10 for 1990.”

Results are available for 1990 and not 1991 because the exam takes a long time to tabulate and grade, Hopkins said.

“The results from the May 1991 exam won’t be available until August 1992,” she said.

According to New Accountant magazine, the only other school that has made the top 10 list for undergraduate performance 10 out of 12 times is the University of Pennsylvania, which is home to the prestigious Wharton School of Business.

However, NIU is preparing more candidates for the exams. NIU sent 210 students to the 1990 exams while Pennsylvania sent 66. “The size of NIU’s program shows the great depth we have,” Hopkins said.

Over 1,000 students prepare for the CPA exams through NIU’s CPA review courses each year. “More than 75 percent are non-NIU participants,” Hopkins said.

There are many factors as to why a high percentage of NIU students pass the exams, according to Hopkins. “We have a good undergraduate program, a dedicated faculty and our students are hard working,” she said.

Another reason why our students are successful is because we have a strong CPA review team that is focused and we make it our business to help students prepare,” Hopkins said.

The recognition gained from being listed as number one is responsible for giving credibility to the accountancy program as well as the students enrolled.

“The high passing percentages show that our students can perform on a good level. This is beneficial in bringing recruiters and companies out to NIU to hire our students,” Hopkins said. “The companies know that our students have the technical material needed to perform in the workplace.”