Ohio Northern ranks among top college programs for CPA pass rates

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Ohio Northern University has earned a spot among top college accounting programs in the U.S. for its success in helping CPA exam candidates pass the exam. 

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“We're really excited and thrilled that they've noticed and picked up on our hard work and what we do with our students,” said Christy Beaschler, assistant dean of the college of business administration at ONU. 

According to Accounting Today, NASBA publishes CPA pass rates for various sizes of schools, but it only measures single section pass rates. So, professors Charles Davis, Timothy Lindquist and Joseph Ugrin created the CPA Success Index, an analytic combining NASBA data that estimates students’ progress toward completing all four parts of the CPA Exam in 18 months. 

The school has an undergraduate and graduate program for a master’s level of accounting. Beaschler said that even in the core classes in the undergrad program students are prepared for elements of the exam. The exam emphasizes Excel and data analytics, and she said that’s reflected in ONU’s core classes. 

“And although we may not have a true CPA review class in our undergraduate program, elements of the exam are integrated in every upper-level accounting class that we have,” she said. “Professors take it to heart.” 

Ohio Northern’s smaller size allows it to give students individualized attention, which Beaschler said has been key. Once students join the MSA program, Aaron Hatem, director of the MSA Program, said as many resources as possible are provided to prep for the exam, including access to Becker CPA Exam review, along with Gleim and UWorld Roger CPA Review. 

Man smiling for camera.

Hatem praised the faculty at the undergraduate and graduate level for creating a solid foundation for students to move forward in their accounting education while recognizing many have the goal of earning their CPA. 

“Professors go to great lengths to make sure that the students are prepared in a very functional and practical way,” he said. 

Students are given real-life experience whenever possible, such as “church audits.” 

“We've got four or five local churches that we help do their audits after students have done audit theory, and they get some practical experience with that,” Beaschler said. 

Understanding that the accounting world can be competitive, Hatem said Ohio Northern has “always gone to great lengths to make sure that we're providing our students with experiences that will distinguish them.” 

He mentioned a partnership with the Association to Certified Fraud Examiners to give students the opportunity to become CFEs through the graduate course and a partnership with an entity that allows students to become certified valuation analysts. 

“We’re going to do anything we can do to provide as many resources as we possibly can while they’re with us,” Hatem said. “So, when they leave, we can aid them in their pursuit to become CPAs.”