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New York Life Gives American College $5M for Ph.D. Program

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New York Life announced Monday that it has awarded The American College $5 million to set up a new 12-course Ph.D. program in business administration—the only one of its kind—so that advisors can hone their skills in financial literacy and retirement planning.

The American College will begin accepting applications for the Ph.D. program in October.

Chris Blunt, president of New York Life’s Insurance Group, said in a statement that “New York Life is proud to establish this much-needed doctorate program to enhance the services provided by financial professionals.” The doctoral program, he said, will include an “unrivaled curriculum of financial literacy and retirement planning, designed to create world-class scholars whose research and teaching will provide financial professionals with the advanced information needed to better serve the people who are counting on them.”

Blunt went on to note the crucial need for professional advice as Baby Boomers, who number about 77 million and who started turning 65 years old last year, “are facing a retirement that has drastically changed from the retirement of generations before them.” Without the promise of a pension and the certainty of a “healthy” Social Security benefit, Blunt added that “many retirees need to more actively manage their income and pre-retirees need to better prepare for retirement,” and that “many are in need of financial guidance and seek a knowledgeable professional.”

Dr. Larry Barton, president and CEO of The American College, said in the same statement that graduates of the doctorate program will “create and disseminate the results of advanced research” in the area of financial services and retirement planning. “This new knowledge could have a profound impact on consumers and help millions of Americans achieve financial security during their golden years,” he said.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and meet other qualifying requirements. Once students are accepted, the college says it will identify two cohort groups, each made up of 15 people, who will move through the coursework together on a mutually supportive basis. One cohort group would begin studies every six months, and the first residency is scheduled for July 2013.

Doctoral scholars will participate in three one-week residencies at The American College’s campus in Bryn Mawr, Pa., as well as at least one intensive debrief with faculty prior to their dissertation defense. Students are required to complete one course per quarter online over 12 quarters in addition to the residencies.

In late August, The American College announced it had developed a new designation, called the Retirement Income Certified Professional, or RICP.

In 2007, New York Life donated $2 million to establish the New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College to help address the demand for income solutions among retired Americans.

Those interested in the Ph.D. program can contact Nancy Krapf at 610-526-1202 or visit


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