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Financial Planning > College Planning

FPA Introduces College Planning Certificate Course

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The Financial Planning Association has introduced a college planning certificate course to help planners provide guidance to clients on paying for higher education.

The four-hour online course, offered in partnership with college planning platform College Aid Pro, aims to equip financial planners in helping clients navigate financial aid and important spending decisions for college-bound children.

College Planning Made Easy: An FPA Certificate Program, available on the FPA’s online learning center, will provide training to help planners:

  • Project a family’s financial aid and out-of-pocket costs at individual schools
  • Design a college funding plan that ensures students graduate with manageable debt without endangering parents’ retirement funds
  • Understand differences in federal and institutional formulas used to determine a family’s need-based financial aid eligibility
  • Project income and asset strategies to maximize financial aid offers
  • Analyze, compare and appeal financial aid award letters
  • Anticipate cash flow and tax planning strategies for college

The FPA noted the important role that financial planners can play in helping families pay for college, given the more than 44 million U.S. student loan borrowers and $1.7 trillion in outstanding education debt.

“At College Aid Pro, we know that all too often the college dream is becoming the college nightmare,” Joe Messinger, CFP, College Aid Pro co-founder, said in the statement announcing the course. “Families are overpaying for college, derailing retirement and getting in over the heads with student loans. Part of the problem is that late-stage college planning is an area that the financial planning profession has long ignored.”

The certificate course covers the technical aspects of higher education funding and offers exercises to help financial planners guide clients through the emotional side of the college selection process. It qualifies for 4.5 CFP continuing education credits and costs $199 for FPA members, $299 for non-members.