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A new way to CPA: Learning program aims to ease path to CPA licensure

New AICPA and NASBA initiative partners with Tulane University.
August 10, 2023

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will launch an innovative post-graduate program this fall in collaboration with the Tulane School of Professional Advancement (SoPA). The program blends rigorous online learning with on-the-job professional experience for college accounting graduates, offering a less costly and more flexible way to complete the 150-hour course credit requirement to become a licensed CPA.

The program is one initiative of the AICPA’s Pipeline Acceleration Plan to address the root causes of the decline in  the volume of accounting graduates and the number of candidates who subsequently take the CPA Exam.

The AICPA-NASBA initiative, called the Experience, Learn and Earn (ELE) program, is designed to help resolve some of the financial hurdles to college graduates’ pursuit of the CPA license by integrating relevant online study with work experience through a participating accounting firm. Tulane SoPA will pilot the innovative program during the upcoming academic year, with initial classes beginning in January, and there are plans to add other universities in short order.

The ELE program is designed for accounting majors who have completed their bachelor’s degree and core accounting classes but possess fewer than the 150 credit hours required for licensure. Here’s how the pilot is expected to work:

  1. Accounting graduates join an ELE-affiliated firm as a paid staff member.
  2. Program participants earn up to 30 university credits through self-study online courses, with firms agreeing to provide time during the week for course work in a balanced, flexible way.
  3. Credit-hour costs are set at highly affordable rates.
  4. Participating firms are expected to provide support and mentoring to help program participants work toward their CPA licenses.

Virginia firms: Are you interested? Learn more about the pilot at ExperienceLearnEarn.org. The program is scalable for firms of any size, and it’s customizable to fit your business and hiring needs.