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How CFP® Professionals Are Helping Advance the Financial Planning Programs at Their Alma Maters

CFP® professionals are supporting their alma maters through activities like teaching, mentoring and engaging the broader community for support. As they give back to their alma maters, they are helping grow the next generation of financial planners.

August 11, 2023

Many remember their college years as a special time of personal and professional growth. The knowledge acquired through coursework and other college experiences can help one find a career and calling, giving one a broader understanding of the world and the ways one can make an impact. And the interactions with fellow students and faculty often lead to lasting friendships that provide a lifetime of support and growth.

It’s not surprising that many think of their alma mater with pride and appreciation. Some are even eager to give back to the institutions that gave so much to them.

That holds true for many in the financial planning profession.

CFP® professionals around the country are supporting their alma maters through a range of activities. They are teaching financial planning courses, mentoring students in CFP Board Registered Programs, interacting with college students and faculty to increase awareness of the value of financial planning and the rewarding careers available in financial planning, and engaging broader community support for the programs. As they give back to their alma maters, they are helping grow the next generation of financial planners.

CFP® professionals play a crucial role in helping our program provide tangible, practical guidance on what it means to be a financial planner and how best to prepare our students for the workplace.

— Jesse Lineberry, CFP®, MS

The Importance of Registered Programs for the Financial Planning Profession’s Future

The more than 330 CFP Board Registered Programs across the U.S. play an important role in the growth of the financial planning profession. They are the profession’s academic foundation, teaching the CFP® certification curriculum that equips students with the tools they need to succeed as a financial planner. And they directly support the development of the profession’s talent pipeline.

“Achieving our goal of ensuring every American has access to competent and ethical financial planning advice requires a thriving network of Registered Programs with the capacity to attract and train the next generation of financial planners,” said David Nanigian, Ph.D., MBA, CFP®, CFP Board’s Director of Education.

Registered Programs also make an impact beyond the students enrolled in their programs.

“Most students don’t even know what financial planning is,” said Jason Howell, CFP®, CPWA®, CSRIC®, an adjunct professor of financial planning at George Mason University and former president of the alumni board at George Mason’s School of Business.

“Students come to financial planning because it sounds like a personal finance course,” said Howell. “With every topic, I’m able to speak to the profession based on my career. All of this helps to color their imagination on what exactly a career in financial planning is.”

Patrick Marcinko, CFP®, associate financial advisor at Bogart Wealth, notes that the earlier students learn about financial planning, the better. “It’s important to establish and maintain financial planning as a topic within the foundations of business classes,” said Marcinko. “We need to be having conversations about all the different career paths in finance, and financial planning needs to be a part of that conversation.”

Registered Programs benefit greatly from the wisdom and experience of CFP® professionals. For CFP® professionals interested in supporting their alma mater and guiding the next generation, the most common ways include teaching, mentoring and engaging the broader community for support.

CFP® Professionals Share Practical Experience and Insights Through Teaching Roles

The practice of financial planning often involves educating clients about financial topics and strategies, and that experience can prepare financial planners to teach students at Registered Programs. Many CFP® professionals begin teaching at their alma maters through connections in the professional world or by re-engaging with faculty after they are established in their career. Adjunct professor positions allow CFP® professionals to teach courses while continuing their financial planning practices.

Teaching is my way of giving back to the profession. It’s something I think of as my responsibility.

— Christopher Rand, Ph.D., CFP®, CLU

Christopher Rand, Ph.D., CFP®, CLU®, Managing Partner of Fides Wealth Strategy Group, Personal CFO of The Wealth Consulting Group and instructor at San Diego State University and UC Berkley, says that a frequent piece of feedback from his students is how they appreciate the real-world perspective he can share.

“What stands out to students is my insight on how we do things, how we utilize the software, the way we present a financial plan or package it,” said Rand. After spending some time in the financial advice ecosystem, Rand’s students often come back and share what learnings were valuable to them early in their career.

Teaching activities can be shorter-term as well. Program directors and other campus leaders are typically eager to incorporate the perspective of active professionals into their curriculum, such as through guest speaker roles.

"CFP“® professionals play a crucial role in helping our program provide tangible, practical guidance on what it means to be a financial planner and how best to prepare our students for the workplace,” noted Jesse Lineberry, CFP®, MS, who serves as the Director for Virginia Tech’s CFP Board Registered Program. “CFP® professionals also play an important role in helping our faculty articulate how rewarding and impactful the financial planning profession can be.”

“Teaching is my way of giving back to the profession. It’s something I think of as my responsibility,” noted Rand. “By providing education, we can influence the next generation financial planners.”

CFP® Professionals Make Personal Connections Through Mentoring

Mentoring, even informally, is another great way for CFP® professionals to support their alma maters by connecting with students and providing guidance and inspiration for pursuing financial planning careers.

In his role at George Mason University, Howell worked closely with the dean of the university’s School of Business to launch the Registered Program as part of its commitment to workforce development and diversity. The program works closely to connect students with CFP® professionals so students can gain a greater understanding of career paths in the industry.

Patrick Marcinko, CFP®, associate financial advisor at Bogart Wealth, who graduated from Virginia Tech’s Financial Planning and Wealth Management program, regularly mentors undergraduate students through the university’s Financial Planning Association student chapter, answering questions about what a career in financial planning can look like, the intricacies of the CFP® exam and the job interview process.

“CFP® professionals help our faculty articulate to prospective students how rewarding and impactful the financial planning profession is,” said Lineberry. “It's critical that students recognize the scope of our profession and how the knowledge they're accumulating can be used to positively impact their community.”

“One thing that I think isn't getting broadcasted enough is that there are so many career paths now where you can have a few years to get your footing and build a strong foundation while also gaining hands-on experience,” noted Marcinko. “The path to becoming a CFP® professional is viable for college graduates, and that path can potentially be very lucrative.”

Engaging the Broader Community in Supporting Registered Programs

CFP® professionals can also play an essential role in engaging community support for the Registered Programs at their alma mater, by connecting faculty and students with businesses looking for talent, and by reaching out to the broader campus and community to generate awareness of the importance of financial planning and desirability of financial planning careers.

“The financial planning community in San Diego is very interested in engaging with and hiring students,” said Rand. “Students are welcomed with open arms at trade functions, and I consistently hear from colleagues who are alumni that they look for students from the program to hire as they know the students graduate with appropriate training for a career as a CFP® professional.”

Lindsey Lewis, MBA, ChFC®, CFP®, director and chair of the American College Center for Women in Financial Services, regularly speaks at events and classes at her alma mater, the financial planning program at Utah Valley University (UVU). At UVU, Lewis spearheaded the effort to create a formal alumni board with the mission of mentoring students, fostering industry connections and continuously engaging alumni to serve as industry liaisons. Alumni also can play an important role in engaging other alumni in the program.

Lewis and the UVU alumni board also developed fundraising efforts to support the university’s programs and scholarships, hosting an annual “4.01k Race to Retirement” to raise funds, as well as awareness around a variety of personal finance topics. Community events — whether on campus or off — can have the double impact of helping people improve their financial literacy while generating awareness of the financial planning profession and its importance.

How CFP® Professionals Can Get Involved With Their Alma Maters

Getting involved with your university program will remind you of why you became a CFP® professional.

— Jason Howell, CFP®, CPWA®, CSRIC®

This article addresses only a few of the ways CFP® professionals can support the Registered Programs at their alma maters. In addition to volunteer activities, many Registered Programs also benefit from financial contributions that support scholarships and other program enhancements.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Registered Programs at your alma mater, the first step is to indicate your interest and ask how you might help. Start by reaching out to the program directors, alumni boards or local Financial Planning Association chapters.

“Oftentimes spending an evening speaking at a student event or hosting a mock interview session can have an immense impact on students,” noted Lineberry. “Volunteering an hour or two each academic year can go a long way in making any program successful and helping you gain access to the next generation of financial planning talent.”

While getting involved with your alma mater can seem daunting at first, Howell emphasizes the importance of sharing an industry perspective at the university level, especially since many colleges do not yet have financial planning programs.


While there are more than 300 CFP Board Registered Programs at 224 institutions around the country, there are many more colleges and universities that do not have a financial planning program. A searchable listing of all current Registered Programs is available at

If your alma mater doesn't currently have a CFP Board Registered Program and you are interested in helping change that, please reach out to Phil Dawson, CFP Board's Director of College and University Relations, at