Update to financial planning degree approved for WLU College of Business

In mid-February, West Liberty University announced the approval of a new financial planning undergraduate degree program by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).

WLU’s College of Business faculty — led by department chair and assistant professor of general business at WLU, Sherry Rocchio, MBA — spent over a year of planning prior to the approval.

CFP Board is based in Washington, D.C. and is a non-profit organization with the mission to benefit the public through granting, upholding and promoting the Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) certification. Currently, the board oversees more than 300 programs and more than 200 institutions at the college and university level.

According to a report released by the university, Douglas S. King, CFP®, chair of CFP Board’s board of directors said, “CFP Board is pleased to approve the program at West Liberty University as a CFP Board Registered Program.”

Dr. Ann Saurbier, dean of the Gary E. West College of Business said the college “is proud to announce this achievement that is so important to our students as they prepare for rewarding careers in the world of finance.” She also cleared up a confusion among many who believed the approval was for a new finance program. “This is not a new degree, but rather an update to the finance program degree,” said Saurbier. She explained that the revision allowed the college of business to “align our curriculum with the CFP Board to receive the CFP Board Registered Program designation.”

CFP Board approval means students in WLU’s Gary E. West college of business will sit for the CFP Exam upon graduation. Essentially, the college now aligns with “a set of strict standards that focus on continuous improvement in the financial planning industry. When embedded in the financial planning curriculum these standards focus, which focus on the ethical and professional competencies needed for effectiveness in the field,” explained Saurbier.

The approval for this program comes at a time where the finance planning industry is looking for professionals who hold a variety of certifications in addition to their degrees. “As a designated CFP Board Registered Program, the college of business therefore adds even more value to the financial planning major provided by this pathway to industry certification without any additional training, coursework or expense,” said Saurbier.

The updated program is beneficial for the current students in the business college as the CFP alignment offers courses that focus on the following areas: investment and portfolio analysis, wealth management, retirement, estate planning as well as the tax implication of these financial decisions. Saurbier commented, “as with the other majors offered by the West College of Business, this program integrates theory with applications ensuring students learn both the knowledge and the skills necessary for success in the workplace.”

Any student who is currently in or interested in accounting or financial planning would find this certification beneficial. “As the financial planning industry continues to develop within the complex and dynamic world we live in today, the emphasis on certifications as well as degrees is currently increasing. The West College of Business faculty are constantly assessing those industry requirements and evaluating those employment needs against our current curriculum,” said Saurbier. She continued explaining how the faculty within the college “see clear opportunities” to add value to the students and the community through the process of education and production of graduates with the “best set of qualifications for success at graduation.”

For more information about the CFP board registered program at WLU, visit the university’s release by following this link. Any questions regarding the content of this article should be directed towards Annalise Murphy by emailing [email protected]