The typical cost for an international accounting student to convert their degree to a US CPA degree is between $300-$500.
Looking into a career in accounting in the United States as an international student comes with its unique set of challenges, one of which is navigating the credential evaluation process through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
NASBA plays a crucial role in assessing international educational credentials to determine their U.S. equivalency, a vital step for those aspiring to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the U.S.
This article aims to demystify the costs associated with converting an international accounting degree through NASBA, helping you plan and prepare for your journey ahead.
- Understanding NASBA and Its Role for International CPA Degrees
- Types of Costs International CPA Students will Incur
- Breaking Down the Costs for International CPA Students
- International Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($225):
- Undecided Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination/Licensure ($350):
- Non-Accredited Domestic Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($250):
- Additional Education Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120):
- Change in Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120):
- Duplicate Report for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($0-$25):
- Credential Language Translation ($68 – $87 per page):
- Tips to Reduce Your NASBA International CPA Degree Conversion Costs
- Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding NASBA and Its Role for International CPA Degrees
NASBA serves as a central hub, connecting state boards of accountancy across the U.S. and facilitating the uniformity of practices and standards.
For international accounting students and professionals, NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES) is the pertinent department, specializing in evaluating educational credentials from institutions outside the U.S.
Types of Costs International CPA Students will Incur
The process of converting your international accounting degree involves several steps, each incurring specific costs. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand and budget accordingly:
Evaluation Fee: NIES charges a fee for evaluating your international educational credentials. This fee varies depending on the complexity of your case and the level of detail required for the evaluation. As of my last training data in September 2021, the fee ranged from $225 to $350, but it’s essential to verify the current rates on NASBA’s official website.
Translation Services: If your transcripts and documents are not in English, you will need to obtain professional translation services. The cost for translation services can vary widely based on the length of the documents and the language. Ensure that the translation service you choose is accepted by NASBA.
Courier and Mailing Fees: Securely sending your original or officially sealed documents to NASBA may incur courier and mailing fees, especially if you are sending them from outside the U.S. Budget for international shipping costs and ensure that your documents are tracked and insured.
Supplementary Education: Depending on the assessment of your credentials, you might need to complete additional coursework to meet the U.S. CPA educational requirements. The cost of these supplementary courses can vary significantly based on the institution and the number of credits you need to take.
Exam and Licensing Fees: While not directly related to the degree conversion process, it’s important to budget for the CPA exam and licensing fees, as they are integral to becoming a CPA in the U.S. These fees can amount to several hundred dollars, varying by state.
Professional Advice and Consultation: Seeking advice from an educational consultant or an expert in international credential evaluation can provide clarity and increase your chances of a successful evaluation. These professionals charge for their services, and their fees can vary.
Breaking Down the Costs for International CPA Students
International Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($225):
This cost is associated with the evaluation of international educational credentials to establish their U.S. equivalency for CPA Examination and/or licensure. The fee covers the detailed review of your academic records, calculation of GPA, and determination of degree equivalency.
The process ensures that candidates meet the educational requirements set by the specific state board of accountancy for which they are applying. Paying this fee is a necessary step for international candidates to validate their foreign education and proceed with their CPA journey in the U.S.
Undecided Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination/Licensure ($350):
This service is for candidates who are uncertain about the state in which they want to apply for CPA licensure or take the CPA Exam. The $350 fee includes a comprehensive evaluation of international credentials and a jurisdictional analysis to help candidates understand their eligibility in various states.
This can be particularly helpful for candidates who may meet the requirements in one state but not another, allowing them to make an informed decision on where to apply. The higher cost compared to the standard international evaluation reflects the additional complexity and research involved in assessing multiple jurisdictions.
Non-Accredited Domestic Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($250):
This evaluation is for candidates who have completed their education at a non-accredited institution within the United States. The $250 fee covers the process of assessing domestic educational credentials to determine their comparability to accredited institutions, ensuring they meet the standards for CPA examination and/or licensure.
This evaluation is crucial because many state boards require applicants to have attended accredited institutions. The evaluation verifies the validity of the education received, despite the lack of accreditation.
Additional Education Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120):
When candidates have completed additional coursework or obtained additional degrees after their initial evaluation, this service evaluates the new education. The $120 fee covers the assessment of the additional transcripts and the update of the evaluation report to reflect the most current education information.
This is often necessary for candidates who needed to take additional courses to meet state board requirements. Ensuring that all education is accurately evaluated and reported is crucial for maintaining eligibility for the CPA Exam and licensure.
Change in Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120):
This service is for candidates who have previously had their credentials evaluated for one jurisdiction but wish to switch to another. The $120 fee covers the re-evaluation of the educational credentials to ensure they meet the requirements of the new jurisdiction. This is often required when candidates relocate or decide to pursue licensure in a different state.
The evaluation ensures that candidates remain compliant with the educational standards of their chosen jurisdiction.
Duplicate Report for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($0-$25):
This cost is for obtaining additional copies of the evaluation report. The fee ranges from $0 to $25, depending on the specific circumstances and the number of copies requested. Duplicate reports might be necessary for candidates who have lost their original report, need to provide copies to multiple state boards, or require additional copies for their personal records. Ensuring you have the necessary copies of your evaluation report is vital for a smooth application process.
Credential Language Translation ($68 – $87 per page):
This service is for candidates whose original educational documents are not in English. The fee per page ranges from $68 to $87 and covers the professional translation of transcripts, diplomas, and other necessary documents.
Accurate translation is crucial for NASBA to conduct a proper evaluation of the educational credentials. Providing clear, accurate translations ensures that the evaluation process goes smoothly and that there are no misunderstandings regarding your educational history.
Tips to Reduce Your NASBA International CPA Degree Conversion Costs
Planning and Budgeting
With a clear understanding of the costs involved, it’s crucial to plan and budget accordingly. Start by researching and gathering all necessary documents, translating them if necessary, and then proceeding with the evaluation application. Be proactive in seeking guidance and clarifying any doubts you may have about the process or the associated costs.
Seeking Financial Assistance
If the costs associated with converting your international accounting degree pose a significant financial burden, explore options for financial assistance. Some educational institutions offer scholarships, grants, or payment plans that could help alleviate the financial strain.
While the process of converting your international accounting degree through NASBA and pursuing CPA licensure in the U.S. can be costly, it’s important to view it as a long-term investment in your future. The CPA credential opens doors to numerous career opportunities and has the potential to significantly increase your earning potential over time.
Navigating the financial landscape as an international accounting student seeking to convert your degree through NASBA requires thorough research, careful planning, and a strategic approach.
By understanding the associated costs and budgeting accordingly, you can make informed decisions and invest confidently in your future success. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards and opportunities that come with achieving CPA status in the U.S. are well worth the effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the evaluation fee refundable if my credentials do not meet the U.S. CPA requirements?
The evaluation fee is generally non-refundable, even if your credentials do not meet the U.S. CPA requirements. It’s crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and meet the prerequisites before submitting your application.
Can I expedite the NASBA evaluation process for an additional fee?
NASBA offers an expedited service for an additional fee, which can significantly reduce the processing time of your application. Check NASBA’s official website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information and costs associated with expedited services.
Are there any hidden costs I should be aware of?
While NASBA provides a clear breakdown of the fees associated with their services, it’s essential to budget for potential additional costs, such as translation services, courier fees, and any supplementary education you may need. Ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of all possible expenses to avoid any surprises.
What should I do if I cannot afford the costs associated with converting my degree through NASBA?
If the costs pose a significant financial burden, explore options for scholarships, grants, or financial aid. You might also consider reaching out to professional organizations related to accounting and finance, as they sometimes offer support to international students pursuing CPA licensure.
Remember, the path to becoming a CPA in the U.S. as an international student is a journey that requires perseverance, dedication, and strategic planning. By understanding the financial aspects and preparing accordingly, you can navigate this journey with confidence, paving the way for a successful and rewarding career in accounting.