Student-to-faculty ratio: 20:1
Tuition: For MBA, $745 per credit unit (the MBA consists of 48 credit units, for a total cost of $35,760); for certificate, $550 per credit unit (the certificate consists of 24 credit units, for a total cost of $13,200).
FPA student chapter: No
Profile:Cal Lutheran offers the country's largest MBA program (by enrollment) with a financial planning focus. This intensive boutique program tends to attract seasoned professional students. More than 80% enroll in the online option, and many already have CFP designations. "The MBA resonates well with a lot of our students' clients, especially those with closely held businesses," says Harry Starn, the program's associate director. Located down the street from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Cal Lutheran has gained praise from directors of other planning programs nationwide for its rigor and immersive teaching. The program graduated 34 students last year. "We do fill a niche," says the program manager, Cindy Grether, "but I think we are still kind of a big secret out there." Students can transfer credits for up to five courses taken at many University of California campuses, including Berkeley, Davis and Los Angeles.
COLLEGE FOR FINANCIAL PLANNING
Greenwood Village, Colo.
CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): M.S. financial planning, personal financial planning certificate, CFP certification program
Enrollment: 30,000 in all programs, including 4,200 in the CFP program and 130 in the master's in financial planning program
Faculty: 15 full-time, 20 adjunct
Student-to-faculty ratio: For master's program, 9:1; varies for online courses
Tuition: For M.S. in financial planning, $380 per 1-hour credit; for personal financial planning certificate, $1,140 per 3-hour credit; for CFP certification program, $4,485.
FPA student chapter: No
Profile: The for-profit College of Financial Planning, founded in 1972, occupies a historic position in the profession; it was founded at a time when there were no dedicated programs or teaching materials for financial planning. It now claims one of the largest enrollments of students studying for a degree or certificate in financial planning at any one time: 4,330. It offers an array of distance learning, full-time and certificate programs. Since its inception, the college claims to have produced 65,000 CFPs. Its other programs cover a multitude of planning- related subjects, including retirement planning, portfolio analysis and financial analysis. Recently, the college has integrated e-books and tablet-based instruction into its classes. "We want [students] who truly believe in pursuing financial planning as a profession," Jim Pasztor, a working planner who is the school's chairman, has said. The college says 86% of its students who sat for CFP exams in 2011 passed.
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): Undergraduate, master's, Ph.D. and graduate certificate
Enrollment: 40 undergrads, 40 certificate, 40 master's, 33 Ph.D.s.
Faculty: 5 full-time, 5 adjunct
Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
Tuition: For an undergraduate (3-credit) course, $805 for a Kansas resident, $2,015 for out-of-state student; for an M.S. course, $1,455; for a Ph.D. course, $1,530; for a graduate certificate, $1,455 per course or $5,828 up front for the entire program.
FPA student chapter: Yes
Profile: Since registering its undergraduate degree program in planning in 1993, Kansas State has added a certificate, a master's degree and a doctorate to the program. The courses cover a variety of subjects, from financial therapy to client communication. The university seeks out instructors who are leaders in the field. "When we look for adjunct professors, we look for those [with] a specific skill," combined with teaching ability, says assistant professor Ann Coulson. "Many adjuncts have experience in the field, but it's another thing to be able to translate that to students." K-State students put themselves on the map this year by winning the 2012 National Collegiate Financial Planning Championship; they have placed in the top three in seven of the last 11 years of the competition, which is sponsored by the CFP Board, Ameriprise and the FPA. "We're proud of our students," Coulson says, "because they work hard and live up to our expectations."
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person):2 online (M.S. and certificate, through Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance membership); 7 on site (B.S. in human environmental sciences with an emphasis in personal financial planning, M.S. or Ph.D. in personal financial planning, post-baccalaureate certificate; PFP minor with an agricultural economics B.S., PFP minor with a finance B.S. or B.A, and PFP M.S. with a law degree)