Accreditation and Regulatory Oversight

Higher Learning Commission

The College for Financial Planning is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1994 (HLC). Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the HLC is an independent organization responsible for accrediting degree-granting and postsecondary educational institutions. To obtain accreditation status, an educational institution is rigorously evaluated with respect to five quality standards:

  • Criterion 1. Mission
  • Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  • Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
  • Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  • Criterion 5. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources, and Planning

As part of institutional accreditation evaluation by the HLC, an institution must provide documentation of monitoring, planning, and continuous improvement processes for each standard. The Higher Learning Commission identifies two accreditation “pathway” options. CFFP has selected the Standard Pathway Model, this pathway sets a 10-year accreditation cycle that includes a comprehensive evaluation at the 4-year point and a full comprehensive evaluation for accreditation reaffirmation at the 10-year point. CFFP’s most recent full accreditation affirmation review took place in the 2019–2020 academic year. The next comprehensive evaluation will take place in 2023–2024. See HLC Accreditation Status for CFFP.

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)

The Higher Learning Commission recognized the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) to set and monitor its accreditation standards for distance education programs. NC-SARA, a nonprofit organization, maintains an agreement among member states, districts, and territories (including all states except California) to establish comparable national standards for offering postsecondary distance education courses and programs in other member states. Colorado has been accepted as a participant in SARA through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Each member state’s department of education approves their in-state institutions for SARA participation. The College for Financial Planning has full authorization from the Colorado Department of Higher Education to operate in the state of Colorado and is an approved SARA institution. Please see the NC-SARA website for additional information.

Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE)

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) collects information from institutions offering degrees or degree credits to ensure they meet the criteria and requirements specified in the Degree Authorization Act and determine the authority of an institution to operate in Colorado. The College for Financial Planning must report enrollments and completion data annually for the following programs: Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS), Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional (ABFP), Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA), Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor (APMA), Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS), Chartered SRI Counselor (CSRIC), Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP), Wealth Management Specialist (WMS), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Education Program, Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning, and Master of Science in Financial Analysis. A primary requirement is that the institution is accredited by a regional, national, or specialized accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and awards institutional accreditation. The College for Financial Planning is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) has authorized the College for Financial Planning to operate in the state of Colorado under the Degree Authorization Act.

North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and numerous states have enacted regulations or legislation addressing the use of “senior” designations used by financial planning practitioners. The purpose of these rules has been to separate designations that have credible requirements and academic rigor from those that have less stringent or no requirements.

The College for Financial Planning supports these actions on the part of regulators and legislators. We are proud to state that, based upon the College for Financial Planning’s status as a regionally accredited institution of higher education, all designations earned at the College are either approved, exempt, or receive preferential treatment in all the regulations and legislation thus far enacted at the state and national levels. (Note: the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist designations may not be used in conjunction with selling insurance products to senior citizens in California.)

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE)

The College for Financial Planning is registered with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) to offer online courses in the state of California. The state of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) for those who are eligible.

The State of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to relieve or mitigate economic loss suffered by a student in an educational program at a qualifying institution, who is or was a California resident while enrolled, or was enrolled in a residency program, if the student enrolled in the institution, prepaid tuition, and suffered an economic loss. Unless relieved of the obligation to do so, you must pay the state-imposed assessment for the STRF, or it must be paid on your behalf, if you are a student in an educational program, who is a California resident, or are enrolled in a residency program, and prepay all or part of your tuition. You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF assessment, if you are not a California resident, or are not enrolled in a residency program.

It is important that you keep copies of your enrollment agreement, financial aid documents, receipts, or any other information that documents the amount paid to the school. Questions regarding the STRF may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 1747 North Market Blvd., Suite 225, Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 574-8900 or (888) 370-7589.

To be eligible for STRF, you must be a California resident or are enrolled in a residency program, prepaid tuition, paid or deemed to have paid the STRF assessment, and suffered an economic loss as a result of any of the following:

  • The institution, a location of the institution, or an educational program offered by the institution was closed or discontinued, and you did not choose to participate in a teach-out plan approved by the Bureau or did not complete a chosen teach-out plan approved by the Bureau.
  • You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution within the 120 day period before the closure of the institution or location of the institution or were enrolled in an educational program within the 120 day period before the program was discontinued.
  • You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution more than 120 days before the closure of the institution or location of the institution, in an educational program offered by the institution as to which the Bureau determined there was a significant decline in the quality or value of the program more than 120 days before closure.
  • The institution has been ordered to pay a refund by the Bureau but has failed to do so.
  •  The institution has failed to pay or reimburse loan proceeds under a federal student loan program as required by law, or has failed to pay or reimburse proceeds received by the institution in excess of tuition and other costs.
  • You have been awarded restitution, a refund, or other monetary award by an arbitrator or court, based on a violation of this chapter by an institution or representative of an institution, but have been unable to collect the award from the institution.
  • You sought legal counsel that resulted in the cancellation of one or more of your student loans and have an invoice for services rendered and evidence of the cancellation of the student loan or loans.

To qualify for STRF reimbursement, the application must be received within four (4) years from the date of the action or event that made the student eligible for recovery from STRF. A student whose loan is revived by a loan holder or debt collector after a period of non-collection may, at any time, file a written application for recovery from STRF for the debt that would have otherwise been eligible for recovery. If it has been more than four (4) years since the action or event that made the student eligible, the student must have filed a written application for recovery within the original four
(4) year period, unless the period has been extended by another act of law. However, no claim can be paid to any student without a social security number or a taxpayer identification number.

CFP Board Registered Program

The College for Financial Planning’s CFP® Education Program is a CFP Board Registered Program.