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October 18, 2016

California State University, Chico's CPA Exam Pass Rate Ranks Among the Best in the State

Hannah Hubbard, accounting senior, studies for her finals on the second floor of Meriam Library Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)
Hannah Hubbard, accounting major, studies for her finals on the second floor of Meriam Library.

A month after U.S. News named California State University, Chico one of the top public schools in the West Region, the Northern California institution’s academic reputation has received another boost.

According to a recent report by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, 51.4 percent of CSU, Chico candidates passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam in 2015, one of the highest pass rates achieved by any “access university” in California.

An access university accepts all resident high school and community college transfer students from its assigned region who meet minimum course work and grade standards and/or standardized tests score benchmarks set by the CSU. An access university is also relatively affordable.

Accounting Department Chair Tim Kizirian said that CSU, Chico’s 2015 performance on the CPA exam is higher than some notable California universities. CSU, Chico's CPA exam pass rate ranked higher than UC Davis (50.7 percent), UC Irvine (48.8 percent), UC San Diego (48.8 percent) and Santa Clara University (48.3 percent).

“What’s most exciting about the results is the list of universities with whom we cluster,” said Kizirian. “We have a history of results to show that the current performance numbers are not an anomaly. These are objectified results, not a one-off outcome.”

Included among the highest CPA exam pass rates are the University of Southern California (59.1 percent), UC Berkeley (56.6 percent), Loyola Marymount University (56.3 percent), UC Santa Barbara (54.5 percent), UC Los Angeles (53.5 percent) and the University of San Diego (52 percent).

Kizirian credits CSU, Chico’s strong performance on the CPA exam to the accounting department’s excellent faculty, hardworking students and cutting-edge curricular pathway. Rising academic standards and an emphasis on the fundamentals also contributed to the results, he said.

“Our program sticks to fundamental, mainstream accounting. We have seen many accounting programs fall by the wayside when they trade in the fundamentals for some kind of trendy, temporary niche,” said Kizirian.

CSU, Chico accounting students are required to take nine upper level accounting courses, which is more than most other schools require. That coursework prepares students for the accounting profession and provides them with a strong foundation from which to succeed on the CPA exam.

“We require a greater number of fundamental accounting courses, making for a well-rounded student who will thrive in the accounting profession,” said Kizirian. “For example, we require a corporate tax course, where at other schools it might be an elective. I think our curriculum is spot on. The formula is simple. Teach accounting, and the accounting learning will happen.”

The percentage of accounting students within CSU, Chico’s College of Business has grown to 15.1 percent this year, up from 10.8 percent last year.

“We’re competing with big-name private and impacted schools, as well as UC’s,” said Kizirian. “We have a 100 percent career placement rate. We take students who are willing to work hard and we move them into rewarding careers that make us proud.”

Tim Kizirian
Chair for the Department of Accounting

Sean Murphy
Public Affairs


Read the story via Chico State News here.