Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS)

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on January 25, 2024

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What Is a Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS)?

A Certified College Planning Specialist is a professional who specializes in helping families plan and prepare for the costs of college education. They provide guidance on college savings plans, financial aid options, scholarship opportunities, and other related topics.

They have undergone rigorous training and certification to offer expert advice on college planning and have earned a certification in college planning from a reputable organization.

Additionally, a certified college planning specialist can help families navigate the financial aid process, which can be challenging for many families. They can simplify the process of college planning by providing families with a clear understanding of the various options available.

Qualifications of a Certified College Planning Specialist

An individual must meet certain qualifications that demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and ethical standards in the field of college planning.

Certification Requirements

The specific certification requirements may vary depending on the certifying organization, but generally include completion of a comprehensive training program, passing an exam, and adhering to ethical standards.

The training program covers various topics, such as college savings plans, financial aid options, scholarship opportunities, and college admissions. The exam tests the individual's knowledge of these topics and their ability to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Adhering to ethical standards ensures that the individual acts in the best interest of the families they serve.

Training and Education

A certified college planning specialist must have extensive training and education in college planning. This may include completing a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as finance or education, and pursuing additional education or certifications in college planning.

In addition, a certified college planning specialist must stay up-to-date on changes to college planning regulations and industry trends.

Professional Experience

Tasks involved in the professional experience of a certified college planning specialist can range from creating college savings plans for families, helping them with financial aid applications, to offering direction on the availability of scholarships.

Professional experience demonstrates that the individual has a practical understanding of the college planning process and can apply their knowledge to help families achieve their college planning goals.

Services Offered by a Certified College Planning Specialist

A certified college planning specialist offers a range of services to assist families in planning and preparing for the costs of college education.

College Savings Plans

Certified college planning specialists can help families develop a college savings plan that is tailored to their specific needs and goals. They can provide guidance on different types of savings plans, such as 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.

They also help families choose the best option based on their financial situation. Additionally, they can assist families with setting up the savings plan and monitoring its progress over time.

Financial Aid Options

A certified college planning specialist can help families understand their financial aid options, such as grants, loans, and work-study programs.

They can provide guidance on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and help families complete the application accurately and on time.

Additionally, they can assist families with reviewing and comparing financial aid offers from different colleges to help them make informed decisions about which college to attend.

Scholarship Opportunities

These professionals help families identify and apply for scholarships. They provide guidance on different types of scholarships, such as merit-based and need-based scholarships, and help families understand the eligibility requirements.

Moreover it is also their role to assist families with preparing scholarship applications, essays and comply with all other requirements.

College Admissions Assistance

Working with a certified college planning specialist can provide guidance on the college admissions process. They can help families understand the different types of colleges and universities, and assist with researching and selecting potential colleges.

Additionally, they can provide assistance on the college application process, including completing applications, writing essays, and preparing for interviews.

Student Loan Repayment Plans

A certified college planning specialist can help families understand the different repayment options, such as income-driven repayment plans.

They provide assistance with selecting the best option based on the borrower's financial situation and offer guidance on loan consolidation and loan forgiveness programs.

Services Offered by a Certified College Planning Specialist

Benefits of Hiring a Certified College Planning Specialist

Hiring a certified college planning specialist provides several benefits to families:

Expertise and Credibility

One of the primary benefits of hiring a certified college planning specialist is their expertise and credibility.

A certified college planning specialist has undergone rigorous training and certification to offer expert advice on college planning.

This provides families with assurance that they are receiving accurate and reliable information about the college planning process.

Cost Savings

Another benefit of hiring a certified college planning specialist is cost savings. By working with a specialist, families can save time and money by making informed decisions about college planning.

A specialist can help families identify scholarships and financial aid opportunities, which can reduce the overall cost of college.

Additionally, they help families develop a college savings plan that is tailored to their specific financial situation, which can help them avoid costly mistakes.

Personalized Service

A certified college planning specialist provides personalized service to each family they work with. They take the time to understand the family's goals and financial situation, and develop a customized plan to help them achieve their college planning goals.

This personalized service ensures that families receive the support and guidance they need to make informed decisions about college planning.

Long-Term Relationship

Working with a certified college planning specialist can also provide families with a long-term relationship.

A specialist can provide ongoing support and guidance throughout the college planning process, from developing a college savings plan to repaying student loans.

This relationship can provide families with peace of mind knowing that they have an expert they can turn to for advice and support.

Benefits of Hiring a Certified College Planning Specialist Expertise and Credibility

How to Find a Certified College Planning Specialist

There are several resources available to help families locate a qualified professional who can meet their needs.

Referrals From Friends and Family

If someone you know has worked with a specialist and had a positive experience, they may be able to provide a recommendation. This can be a good way to find a specialist who has a proven track record of success.

Online Search

There are several organizations that have directories of certified specialists that can be searched online.

Some of these organizations are the National Institute of Certified College Planners (NICCP) and the American Institute of Certified College Financial Consultants (AICCFC).

Professional Organizations

Finally, professional organizations can be a good resource for finding a certified college planning specialist.

Organizations such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) have directories of certified financial advisors, including those who specialize in college planning.

Final Thoughts

A certified college planning specialist is a professional who specializes in helping families plan and prepare for the costs of college education. They provide guidance on college savings plans, financial aid options, scholarship opportunities, and other related topics.

To become certified, the individual must meet certain qualifications, including completion of a comprehensive training program, passing an exam, and adhering to ethical standards.

Hiring a certified college planning specialist has several benefits, including expertise and credibility, cost savings, personalized service, and a long-term relationship.

To find a certified college planning specialist, families can ask for referrals from friends and family, conduct an online search, or consult with professional organizations.

A certified college planning specialist can provide families with the guidance and support they need to navigate the complex college planning process.

Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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