Celebrating 50 years

Our History

The financial planning movement experienced a historic moment in December 1969 when 13 men gathered in Chicago and outlined the first steps to further the idea that people could benefit from a profession that integrated knowledge and practices across the various areas of the financial services industry. Resolutions were made to create the International Association for Financial Planners (IAFP) and the College for Financial Planning.

Founded in 1972, the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company has a 50 year heritage in financial planning education. Shortly after its founding, the College introduced the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, which is now the world’s most recognized and respected financial planning credential with more than 90,000 certified professionals.

Five decades after the the launch of our CFP® Certification Professional Education Program that led to the creation of the CFP® certification, our offerings now also include Master of Science degree programs in Personal Financial Planning and Financial Analysis as well as professional designation programs that provide more in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry with specializations in asset management, retirement planning and personal financial planning. These specializations include launching groundbreaking designation programs related to behavioral finance, domestic partnerships and sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments.

The ongoing expansion of our education offerings is a reflection of our commitment to responding to the needs of the evolving  financial services industry and supporting professionals looking to add to their skillset, advance their careers and create better outcomes for their clients.

Since the first graduating class in 1973, more than 195,000 financial professionals are alumni of the College.

Notable Moments in College History

The College for Financial Planning® is founded in 1972. Shortly after its founding, the College introduced the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification. The College’s first office was a small suite. Growth prompted the first move to a location affectionately known as the little house on the prairie, a two-story residence where the College’s 15 staff members served a student body of 1,300.


To provide assistance to financial support staff members, the Foundations in Financial Planning℠ program was created. Today this designation is known as FPQP®.


The College and Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., became separate entities, with the College providing education and CFP Board of Standards supporting the CFP® certification itself.


An advanced studies program, which became the Master of Science in 1994, was introduced.


The AAMS® and CMFC® designation programs were created as part of a partnership with the Investment Company Institute (ICI).


The College purchased the American Institute of Retirement Planners and developed the CRPC® and CRPS® programs.


An all-new Master of Science Degree Program in Financial Analysis was launched in early 2003 and in fall 2003, the College introduced the financial industry’s first live online course.


The College introduced the AWMA® designation in early 2005.


The College launched an alumni association to celebrate its 100,000 graduates and in the summer the Master of Science in Finance was released.


The ADPA® and APMA® designations were introduced in the fall.


In February, the College announced a partnership with ExamFX to provide training for the FINRA Series 63, 6, 65, 66, 7, 24, and 26 license exams.

In September 2014, the College partnered with NAIFA to unveil an all-new LUTCF® program set to debut in 2015.


In January, the College launched digital badges for its professional designation holders. A digital badge allows potential employers, clients, or partners to verify the credential and be well-informed about the value of the credential and what it certifies.


In July 2018, Kaplan Professional Education closed its acquisition of the College for Financial Planning. Education programs in financial planning, asset management, wealth management, and retirement planning including our CFP® certification program, professional designation programs, and Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning are offered under the name College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company.

Also in November 2018, the College introduced the CSRIC® designation program.


The College launched the ABFP℠ designation program in December.


The Master of Science in Financial Analysis program opened for admission again with coursework aligned with the learning outcomes of the CFA Institute’s CFA Program.