Let’s Have a Pissing Match Over the Best CPA Exam Schools in the Nation

Many years ago, I used to get TPTB to fork over the $200 for NASBA’s Candidate Performance book and share all kinds of stats on the exam like which schools were far superior to others and which schools should just give up on teaching accounting altogether. Y’all seemed to like this dick measuring contest and of course it led to what remains one of my favorite pieces we’ve ever published in our 10 years: Confirmed: It Sucks To Be The One Wake Forest Grad Who Failed BEC. I wonder how that guy is doing these days. Hey guy, if you read this give me a shout.

Anyhoo, eventually NASBA got pissed that I was putting all their data out there and politely asked me to knock it off so I did. While it’s been several years since you guys have gotten extensive data out of us, NASBA does still release a teaser to accompany the release of the Candidate Performance book (which you can buy here should you be really really into exam stats or have some weird CPA exam fetish).

Here’s what we know. Utah continues to dominate as the state with the overall highest pass rate — an impressive 66% — with my people in Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) coming in a respectable second at 61.1%. The rest of the Top 10 works out thusly:

  • Oregon 58.5%
  • Colorado 58.2%
  • Iowa 57.7%
  • North Carolina 57.6%
  • Nebraska 57.4%
  • Massachusetts and South Dakota (tie) 56.3%
  • Minnesota 56.1%

I imagine you mathletes are looking at that list going “Adrienne, your drunk ass forgot one of the Top Ten, that’s only nine.” NO ACTUALLY, I WAS GETTING TO THAT. Four states tied for last place, with Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Michigan all coming in with a pass rate of 55.7%.

What else? Oh, here’s a fun fact: New Mexico gets bragging rights as the jurisdiction with the oldest average candidate age of 32 years, whereas Iowa boasts the youngest at 25.5. Can we extrapolate anything from that information? Not really. Maybe a deep dive into state-specific statistics might shed some insight there but, well, you know, I’m still in the punishment corner with NASBA on that.

Lastly, I wanted to share the Top Ten first-time pass rate schools with you because, well, I found it surprising. Who tops the list? Wake Forest? BYU? Nah, bro. Detroit Mercy.

That’s right, a school with just 11 CPA exam candidates came in first with a 95% pass rate and an average score of 87.5. You go, University of Detroit Mercy. Here’s the rest of your Top Ten and their respective pass rates.

  • Rice University 90.8%
  • Emory University 89.9%
  • Brigham Young University 89.2%
  • University of Virginia 89.0%
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison 87.2%
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville 87.0%
  • Beth Medrash Govoha 85.7%
  • Georgetown University 85.2%
  • University of Florida 84.8%

Of the Top Ten, Brigham Young sent the most candidates at 263, while University of Detroit Mercy and University of North Carolina at Asheville tied for the least at 11.

Feel free to brag accordingly.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.


Notice: Undefined index: orderby in /home/goingconcern/public_html/wp-content/themes/public-opinion/base/functions.php on line 844

Related articles

EY Thinks It Is the Harvard of the Big 4

Big 4 CEOs comparing their firm’s acceptance rates to those of an Ivy League school is soooo 2012. And soooo 2015. Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen used to do it all the time, proclaiming Deloitte as the Harvard of the Big 4. But the whole “we’re more exclusive than Harvard” boasting had quieted down some […]