Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

James Young
James Young

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News Release

Contact: Joe King, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-4299

February 6, 2009

NIU ranks 12th in nation on CPA exam pass rate

DeKalb, Ill. — Graduates of the accountancy program at Northern Illinois University ranked among the top 1 percent in the nation for pass rate on the 2007 certified public accountant licensing exam.

According to statistics released in January by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, 58.33 percent of NIU graduate students who sat for the exam passed all four sections. That was the 12th best pass rate (tied with Texas A&M) out of a pool of more than 2,000 institutions with graduates taking the test.

Overall, the percentage of those who took and passed all four sections was 7.1 percent. NIU was the only college or university in Illinois to rank in the top 20.

“We are very proud of the performance of our graduates on this test, and of the faculty who helped prepare them for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Jim Young, chair of the Department of Accountancy in the NIU College of Business.

The NIU accountancy program has a long history of graduates performing well on the examination. NIU graduates posted pass rates among the top 10 for much of the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, NIU graduates had the 24th best pass rate in the nation in 2006, including the second best pass rate on the audit portion.

The key to that history of success, says Young, has been maintaining a strong faculty who keep up with the rapidly evolving field of accountancy.

“Passing that examination is an important milestone for anyone entering the field,” said Young. “We strive to stay on top of changes in the industry and to provide our students with a well-rounded education that will help them succeed.

We emphasize how to ask the right questions, how to get to the right answer and how to present data properly. Not surprisingly, those skills translate well for this exam.”

The latest results help solidify the reputation of the program as one of the top offerings in the NIU College of Business, said Dean Denise Schoenbachler.

“After so many years of excellence, it would be easy to take for granted the quality of the faculty and students in our Department of Accountancy,” said Schoenbachler. “But achievements like this one make you truly appreciate the magnitude of their accomplishments. The Department of Accountancy is truly a source of pride for the college and the university.”

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