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Collaboration creates online financial planning course for the public

Published December 10, 2014
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Urbana, Ill. – A collaboration between the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and University of Illinois Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. will result in a free online financial planning course that will begin in spring 2015.

Although not designed to replace any portion of the education requirement for CFP® certification, this course (known as a Massive Open Online Course or MOOC) will include basic elements of financial planning as well as provide an introduction to the career of financial planning – and specifically CFP® certification – as a potential career opportunity. The course will feature seven modules that reflect the core elements of financial planning, such as debt management, investments, budgeting, and retirement planning. One of the modules will be devoted to the benefits of becoming a financial planner and how to earn the CFP® certification.

“This partnership between the University of Illinois and CFP Board reflects our commitment to finding ways to educate the public about the values of financial planning and help them with their own financial lives,” said Charles R. Chaffin, CFP Board’s Director of Academic Programs and Initiatives. “At the same time, this free course is a great way for a large number of people to learn more about how they can make financial planning a career.”

In addition to Chaffin, U of I Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics Nicholas D. Paulson and University of Illinois Extension Consumer Economics Educator Kathy Sweedler are developing the course.

“The online course format will allow us to package curriculum in an engaging format and talk about financial issues in a way that’s practical and real-world,” Paulson said. “We will use role playing to bring financial scenarios and decisions to life. The course will also give students guidance and examples of how to manage their money and prepare for their futures.”

The U of I has worked with CFP Board in the past and offers a bachelor’s degree in financial planning. Students study finance and economics as they apply to individuals, households, and small businesses in the course of accumulating and using financial resources. All students who graduate with a degree in financial planning from U of I’s Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics are eligible to sit for the CFP® certification exam.

The free online course will be open to the general public and will be available through Coursera, an education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses free of charge.