Preparation for the CFP® Certification

Photo by TheTaxHaven, Licensed under Creative CommonsThe Benedictine University Certificate in Financial Planning Program is designed to meet the active schedules of working professionals. Our program is designed for both the experienced and the newcomer to financial management. Benedictine University is registered with the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. to fulfill the education requirements of the CFP® certification.

Why should you consider becoming a Certified Financial Planner™? The answer is opportunity and growth. According to research by Aite Group as reported on the CFP website:

  • Individual professionals with CFP® certification generate 40 to 100 percent more proceeds than those without certification. Those in a team environment with CFP® certification generate 30 percent more.
  • Professionals with CFP® certification are more likely to have lasting clients on a regular basis where they are able to manage 45 percent of the clients' assets for an AUM-based fee.
  • CFP® professionals with less than ten years of experience are twice as likely to earn $215,000 annually. 35 percent of professionals with certification with more than ten years of experience earn that much, compared to 23 percent of professionals without certification.
  • Of clients who worked with a financial advisor with CFP® certification, 87 percent were satisfied or very satisfied compared to those who worked with an advisor without certification where only 72 percent were satisfied.
Online

The Online format of the CFP program is available on your schedule, with no specific start dates. Tuition is $5,250 which includes all course e-textbooks, on-demand classes, Q bank and core lecture video access. 

Classroom

Offered at our main campus in Lisle, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona the classroom format connects you directly with other students and your instructors. Tuition is $5,400 with textbooks and materials at an additional cost (estimated to cost $500). Classes typically start in January and September of each year.

Program Overview

Program Overview

There is a need for Certified Financial Planners today, more than ever. Helping people manage investments and reach financial goals is a job that requires professional skills and knowledge. Benedictine University's Certificate in Financial Planning is designed for those looking for a career in the financial, banking, accounting and insurance fields as well as working professionals seeking a career change.

Earn the Credentials that Matter

The CFP® mark is the best-known credential for financial planning professionals. Benedictine University's Certificate in Financial Planning program is registered with Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards Inc. to fulfill the education requirements of the CFP® certification.* The program is designed for professionals in the financial field as well as those seeking a career change.

Kaplan Schweser Partnership

Benedictine University and Kaplan Schweser have formed a partnership to offer the CFP Certification Program. Kaplan Schweser is the leading provider of financial planning and education materials. Kaplan Schweser has helped more than 13,000 financial professionals pass the CFP® Certification Examination.

Classroom

Students who successfully complete the certificate program either in classroom or online will be eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.Classes meet every other week on Friday evening and all day Saturday for nine consecutive months. Classes typically start in January and September of each year. 

Online

Online is self pace and generally completed in 9 months. Students are free to accelerate their learning rate or take up to 90 days to complete a course. There are 7 courses in the online program. 

Certificate

Upon successful completion of Benedictine University Certificate in Financial Planning, students will receive a certificate of completion from Benedictine University.

Student Withdraw from Classroom Program


Students, who withdraw prior to the start of the first class, will receive a 90% refund.
All withdrawals after the start of the first class receive no refund, but a student
may request to enroll in the next program offering. The Program Director has
discretion to determine whether a student can be re-enrolled. Send withdrawal
and refund requests to Ronald Finnigan at Rfinnigan@ben.edu.

In the event a program is cancelled by Benedictine University, students will be
refunded their full tuition.


Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, Benedictine University will charge
a returned check fee of $50. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement
payment must include the additional $50 and be in the form of cash, money
order, or credit card.


Waiting List for the Classroom Program 

If you are interested in placing your name on our waiting list due to the class
being full, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes
available, we will contact you. If interested, we will register you and collect
your payment at that time.


Cancel a Program

If Benedictine University cancels a program due to low enrollment or unforeseen
events, you will receive a full refund. Benedictine University reserves the
right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.


Tax Consideration

Course fees and expenses maybe tax deductible. Please consult your
accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs do not generate 1098-T
forms.

 

Curriculum
Benedictine University's Certificate in Financial Planning is offered in a classroom format (six courses over nine months) or online format (seven courses at self-pace). The curriculum for classroom and online are the same. Course descriptions and schedules are listed below for each location.

Classroom Format Overview


Course 1: General Financial Principles, Professional Conduct & Regulation and Risk Management, Insurance, and Employee Benefit Planning

48 hours

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of becoming a financial professional. It will include matters on concepts of time, value of money, education and retirement funding, and insurance planning. Students will also receive an overview of specific areas in the field such as income tax planning, investment planning, retirement planning and estate planning.

Course 2: Investment Planning

36 hours
Investment strategies, portfolio allocation theory and application, debt and equity securities, and portfolio management strategies will be introduced. Students will also learn the importance of determining a client's risk tolerance and goals, then managing an investment portfolio with a client's risk level, and achieving financial goals.

Course 3: Tax Planning

36 hours
Students will be introduced to the federal income tax system. Students will also learn taxation avoidance and minimization alternatives. Included topics in this course will be: gross income inclusions, exclusions, deductions, exemptions/credits, income taxation of individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC's, and corporations – including S corporations.


Course 4: Retirement Planning

36 hours
This course will present an overview of the Social Security, disability, and health care programs. The comprehensive study of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, tax-advantaged plans, and employee benefits will be introduced to students.


Course 5: Estate Planning

36 hours
This course will provide an introduction to estate planning and the taxation of estates, tax implications of gifts and bequests, and taxation avoidance and minimization techniques.


Course 6: Capstone Case Course in Financial Planning

45 hours*
This course requires students to resolve a case that will involve these five major areas of personal financial planning:

  • Fundamentals and Ethical Considerations and insurance and Employee Benefits
  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Income Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
Classroom will present a recommended financial plan based on data provided in the Capstone Case. The Capstone Case Course is an excellent preparation tool for those entering the financial planning field as professionals, as well as case-type questions that will be on the CFP® Certification Examination.


Online Format Overview


Course 1: General Financial Principles, Professional Conduct & Regulation

24 hours

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of becoming a financial professional. It will include matters on concepts of time, value of money, education and retirement funding. Students will also receive an overview of specific areas in the field such as income tax planning, investment planning, retirement planning and estate planning.

Course 2: Risk Management, Insurance and Employee Benefit Planning

24 hours
Students will be introduced to risk management concepts, differences in insurance programs, funding, and employee benefits programs and planning.

Course 3: Investment Planning

36 hours
Investment strategies, portfolio allocation theory and application, debt and equity securities, and portfolio management strategies will be introduced. Students will also learn the importance of determining a client's risk tolerance and goals, then managing an investment portfolio with a client's risk level, and achieving financial goals.

Course 4: Tax Planning

36 hours
Students will be introduced to the federal income tax system. Students will also learn taxation avoidance and minimization alternatives. Included topics in this course will be: gross income inclusions, exclusions, deductions, exemptions/credits, income taxation of individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC's, and corporations – including S corporations.

Course 5: Retirement Planning

36 hours
This course will present an overview of the Social Security, disability, and health care programs. The comprehensive study of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, tax-advantaged plans, and employee benefits will be introduced to students.

Course 6: Estate Planning

36 hours
This course will provide an introduction to estate planning and the taxation of estates, tax implications of gifts and bequests, and taxation avoidance and minimization techniques.

Course 7: Capstone Case Course in Financial Planning

This course requires students to resolve a case that will involve these five major areas of personal financial planning:

  • Fundamentals and Ethical Considerations and insurance and Employee Benefits
  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Income Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
Admission Requirements and Tuition

Admission Criteria

Those wishing to participate in the certificate program must have a four-year degree to obtain CFP® designation. Applicants must submit a current resume denoting a four-year degree. Any requests for exceptions to the above admissions requirements must be made in writing to Ronald Finnigan, Program Director at rfinnigan@ben.edu or (630) 829-1383.

Admission Criteria

         A four-year degree from an accredited university*

         Computer literacy

         Access to a computer throughout program

         A valid email account

         Fluency in English, including reading and writing

         Complete registration

         Resume denoting a four-year degree submitted prior to start of program

       

Benedictine University reserves the exclusive right, at its discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of any student or applicant.Students are not matriculated Benedictine University students and university student privileges do not apply.

*Students with a degree earned from a university outside the United States will need to verify eligibility of their institution with the CFP Board before applying for this program. A request for exception to the four-year degree admission requirement must be made in writing to the Program Director. Approval of exception is at the discretion of the Program Director.

How To Apply

Application for the Certificate in Financial Planning can be accessed by clicking this link (a new window will open). In order for your application to be considered complete, you must email a copy of your current resume denoting a four-year degree.

Dates and Times

Classroom: Classes generally start in January and September every year. Classes typically meet every other weekend except over holiday weekends. Each course meets Friday evening & all-day Saturday for 36 weeks. All sessions are conducted at Benedictine University. Parking is available.


Online: Online classes are available with no particular start date or times. Students are free to set their own schedule. 


Tuition Payment

Classroom 
Payment may be paid in full $5,400 or in a course-by-course basis at $900 per course. The cost for textbooks is additional (approximately $500). 

Payment information will be sent to you after your registration has been received and accepted. 

Online
Payment may be paid in full $5,250 or on a course-by-course basis at $750 per course. The tuition payments includes all educational material (e-textbooks, on demand classes, Q bank and core lecture video access).
Payment information will be sent to you after your registration has been received and accepted. 

Payment Options

This program is noncredit (not degree applicable); therefore, it is not eligible for federal education loans. To ensure ease of payment for different circumstances, we strive to be flexible when working with individuals. Payment may be made in full or on a course-by-course basis prior to the start of each course. The most common methods of payment are:

Employer Reimbursement

Many companies offer employee reimbursement for continuing education because it directly affects job performance, keeps the company up-to-date, and boosts employee morale. If you work at a company who will pay for your continuing education, be sure to get prior approval. After registering, you may either make a payment on the company credit card, with a company check or purchase order, or with your own funds and then file for reimbursement. Although these are the most common methods of company payment, talk to your supervisor or HR department to find out the requirements for your company.

Tax Benefit:* If you receive educational benefits from your employer, you may exclude up to $5,259 each year from your taxes. Job-related schooling does not count against the $5,250 exclusion cap. Educational assistance of less than that amount should not be included in the compensation statement received from your employer (IRS, p970/ch11). It is the students responsibility to fully understand the tax benefit; please check with your company representative. 
Personal Investment

Professional development may be something you need to invest in to move forward in your career. It is important to realize it is an investment because it will open up new opportunities in your current position, or one you desire to move in to.

Tax Benefit:* The IRS offers a lifetime learning credit which covers continuing education courses taken by employees for a 20% credit up to $10,000 of tuition in one year; subject to certain limits (IRS, p970/ch03). It is the students responsibility to fully understand the tax code and individual benefits.

Workforce Development Centers

It may be possible to take advantage of government funded programs through Workforce Development Centers and enroll in professional development programs. Some who are in a job transition use this opportunity to refine their skills in a familiar area, while others choose to learn a new skill set that can make them more marketable to potential employers.

The first step is meeting with a counselor in a Workforce Development Center to determine what benefits you may be eligible for through the Center. Then, get the counselor's approval to enroll in the program. and contact us to let us know you are working with one of these centers. Your counselor will forward to Benedictine University the necessary official authorization and payment information.

FAQ
What is the time commitment required for study outside of the classroom?

Students should expect to spend 1-2 hours for each hour of in class instruction, depending upon previous experience and education.

How long does the program last and how much does it cost?
Classroom 

The classroom format meets every two weeks on Friday evening and all day Saturday for 9 consecutive months.The tuition for the program is $5,400 plus books (budget approximately $500.00). 

Online

The online format is self-paced. The tuition for the online program is $5,240 and includes all e-books and materials.

Payment may be made prior to the start of each course or in full. Students securing loans or paying by company purchase order must receive funding approval and must notify Benedictine University of such approval prior to the program start date.

 

Why should I choose Benedictine University's Certificate in Financial Planning program?

This is an accelerated program that allows students to meet the CFP Board's education requirement to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination in nine months. This program is a joint partnership between Benedictine University and Kaplan Schweser. Kaplan. Schweser is the leading provider of review materials and courses for the CFP® Certification Examination. Combined with Benedictine University's commitment to education, students entering this program can be assured of the best education available. 

What is the process of attaining CFP® certification?

According to the CFP website, in order to attain CFP® certification, you must comply with requirements in education, examination, experience and ethics:

Education

The education requirement can be fulfilled by successfully completing Benedictine's Certificate in Financial Planning program. Once you become CFP® certified, you will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Examination

The CFP® Certification examination is given three times per year in March, July, and November. Based on the most recent Job Topic Study, the CFP Board issues a topic list covering the areas a candidate should be prepared to answer at the evaluation level or lower.

Experience

In order to receive CFP® certification, the candidate must meet certain experience requirements, including a bachelor's degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university, and three years of related work experience. The related work experience must be completed in the 10 years preceding the exam or five years after the exam.

Ethics

CFP® certification recipients are required to abide by the CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards. In addition, CFP® certificate recipients are required to disclose to the CFP Board if involved in a criminal or civil proceeding.

How do I receive my class books?
Classroom:
Information on ordering text book and calculator will be emailed to you at the time of your registration.   The class syllabus, campus location, parking, and general orientation will be emailed to you 10 to 14 days prior to the start of the first class.

Online:

The online tuition includes an e-textbook for each course. No additional purchase is required. 

What requirements must be met to earn a certificate from Benedictine University?

A minimum score of 70 for each course and tuition paid in full. 


Do you provide assistance with employment?
No, Benedictine University is only approved to offer the required education component by the CFP board. Completion of this program does not guarantee success on the CFP exam itself or employment.

* Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP (with flame logo)®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements

  • Benedictine University is registered with the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. to fulfill the education requirements of the CFP® certification.  Benedictine University does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING™, and certification marks. CFP certification is granted only by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience, and examination requirements.
  • All programs are offered on a non-credit basis and are not transferable to a degree.
  • Pre-requisites of education and/or experience may be required for some programs prior to enrolling
  • The curriculum for all programs is based upon the legal system, processes and industry application within the United States.
  • Completion of this program does not guarantee success on the CFP exam itself or employment.
Courtesy of the CFP® Board
Contact Information
Ron Finnigan, Program Director
Phone: (630) 829-1383, Email: rfinnigan@ben.edu

Learn More About the CFP®
For more information on becoming a Certified Financial Planner™, visit www.cfp.net.