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College For Financial Planning Celebrates Half-Century Mark

The College for Financial Planning in Centennial, Colo., is celebrating a key milestone in its history: its 50th year in existence.

Since its founding, the college has graduated more than 195,000 students. It began offering classes in 1972 to 35 students.

“We are proud to continue and advance the legacy of our founders, which was rooted in competently and ethically helping Americans meet their financial planning needs,” college President Dirk Pantone said in a news release. “Our alumni and students—whether they graduate from our programs in CFP certification, professional designations, or master’s degrees—support that heritage by applying their knowledge and putting clients’ interests first as they help them achieve their desired goals.”

Since its founding, the college has developed its Certified Financial Planner certification program. In addition to developing a professional certification of competent and ethical advice, the college expanded its offerings to include two master’s degree programs in personal financial planning and financial analysis; 10 professional design programs; and 300 education programs.

About one-third of all CFP exam takers complete their education requirements through the college, Pantone said.

“With a history of providing 30% of the qualified students to sit for the CFP certification examination, and a pass rate 10% above the national rate, we would consider the college to be a success,” he said in the email. “However, there are challenges that we must address in our next 50 years. First, we need more CFP certificants in the industry to meet the needs of consumers, especially with the growing number of retirees. Second, and more important, is diversification of CFP Certificants to match our entire population.”

In 2020, the College introduced a diversity scholarship program, which offers up to 60 scholarships annually to qualified individuals from underrepresented communities who are pursuing the education requirement necessary to attain CFP certification. The college also partners with the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning to offer 10 scholarships annually to individuals from underrepresented populations. Each of the scholarships covers the full cost of the College’s Premium CFP Exam Prep Review.

Pantone said that the financial advice profession is constantly evolving academically and professionally.

“The original CFP education program did not address domestic partnerships, behavioral finance, and socially responsible investing, so we introduced design programs to provide that specialized training to advisors,” he said. “These and other topics are crucial to understanding today’s investing world, and the college continues to be the frontrunner in addressing the needs of our students to support their clients.”

In recent years, the college created a design for sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments and a program focused on behavioral finance. Last year, the college collaborated with Merrill Lynch to develop a new designation for wealth advisors serving the specialized financial needs of professionals in the sports and entertainment industries, which will be available to all financial advisors later this year.

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