More than 64,000 students graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting in the 2006-2007 school year, the largest number of accounting graduates in at least 36 years, according to a report by the American Institute of CPAs.

The total pool of newly minted accountants is 19 percent greater than in the 2003-2004 school year, when the AICPA last conducted a survey of accounting grads. The gender ratio is fairly close at 52 percent female and 48 percent male.

Over 203,000 students enrolled in accounting programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, a 19 percent increase since 2004. The demands of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance have led to substantial hiring increases by public accounting firms, the primary employers of new graduates.

Hiring by firms in 2006-2007 shot up 83 percent over the previous three years, according to the report. Sixty-seven percent of the firms that responded to the AICPA survey anticipate they will continue to increase their hiring.

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