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Kansas State University

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When it comes to the certified public accounting examination, K-State ranks high nationally in passing rates for some first-time candidates taking the rigorous test.

According to recently released 2008 uniformed certified public accounting exam results, K-State ranks seventh nationally on passing rates for one section of the four-part test taken by first-time candidates with advanced degrees. Nearly 86 percent of these K-State graduates passed the exam's regulation section, said Richard Ott, head of K-State's department of accounting and the Grant Thornton Faculty Fellow.

K-State also is tied for ninth nationally in the percentage of all candidates with advanced degrees passing the exam. K-State had a 70 percent passing rate in 2008.

"I am very proud of the excellent showing our 2008 CPA candidates made in the national CPA exam rankings," said Yar Ebadi, dean of K-State's College of Business Administration. "These results demonstrate the strength of our accounting faculty and the quality of our students. I commend both our faculty and graduates for their outstanding success."

Individuals must pass the uniformed certified public accounting exam to qualify for licensure as certified public accountants in the U.S. and its territories. Ott said most people take the exam shortly after earning their degree.

The computerized exam has four parts: auditing and attestations; business environment and concepts; financial accounting and reporting; and regulation. Students can take one part at a time, but they must pass all four parts within an 18-month window. Each test has a time limit, ranging from four and one-half hours for the auditing and attestations part, to two and one-half hours for the business environment and concepts part.

"The CPA exam is one of the 'three E's' -- education, examination and experience -- that are required for licensure as a CPA," Ott said.

More than 85,000 people took the exam in 2008.

In the state of Kansas, K-State ranked second among all schools with a 50.54 percent passing rate among all candidates without advanced degrees taking the exam, and K-State ranked third, with a 52.27 percent passing rate, among schools in Kansas for performance on the exam by all candidates with advanced degrees. The candidates from the schools ahead of K-State had considerably fewer graduates take the exam.