Pioneer and Innovator in Financial Planning Education, College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Press Contact: Gregory Ten Eyck,, 954.515.3026

Centennial, CO (January 26, 2022) ⁠— Few institutions of higher education were founded on as clear a purpose as the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company. Now 50 years since its founding in 1972, the College is reflecting on the impact of its mission to develop and deliver premier, student-centered education and cutting-edge research to advance the field of financial planning and enable its students to make a difference in their clients’ lives.

A resolution to create the College came from a meeting by the 13 founders who sought to advance the financial planning profession. In 1972, the first group of 35 students enrolled in the College’s inaugural Certified Financial Planners (CFP) course to be trained in principles that integrated knowledge and ethical practices across the various areas of the financial services industry for the benefit of clients.

This led to the creation of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, which is now the world’s most recognized and respected financial planning credential with more than 90,000 certified professionals in the US. Over the years, the College, certified by the Higher Learning Commission, has expanded its offerings to include two Master’s degree programs (Personal Financial Planning and Financial Analysis) as well as 10 professional designation programs and has graduated more than 195,000 financial professionals. While there are now over 300 CFP Board Registered education programs, still about one-third of all CFP® exam takers complete their education requirements through the College to be eligible to sit for the exam.

Among the noted alumni of the College are Alexandra Armstrong, the first person in Washington, D.C. to earn a CFP; George Kinder, widely viewed as the father of the life-planning movement; and Jonathan Guyton, principal of Cornerstone Wealth Advisors credited with popularizing the concept of dynamic income withdrawals.

College President Dirk Pantone, said, “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. 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 financial goals.”

The College continues to support progress in the profession with initiatives to nurture diversity and inclusion. 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. Additionally, the College partners with the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning to offer 10 scholarships annually to individuals from underrepresented populations which covers the full cost of the College’s Premium CFP® Exam Prep Review.

The College also has responded to the changing needs of the financial services industry through expanding its professional designation program offerings, many of which provide stackable credit toward the CFP® certification program to support ongoing advancement in financial services. In recent years, the College created a designation for sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments (Chartered SRI Counselor℠) and a program focused on behavioral finance (Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional℠). 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—the Sports & Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management Advisor℠—which will be available to all financial advisors later this year.

Pantone says, “As we look ahead, the College has a clear vision for continuing its mission. We remain committed to innovation for our educational programs as well as supporting careers in financial planning that ultimately expand access for more Americans to receive qualified and ethical planning advice. We’ll continue to support the ongoing educational needs of post-graduate advisors who are already in the profession while also reaching out to high school and college students to consider financial planning careers.”

The College’s website has a 50th Anniversary timeline of the landmark events in its history. For more information, visit