New financial program added to College of Business


James Stuck

Shaw-Smyser Hall will be home to the newest program addition to the College of Business (CoB), Personal Financial Planning.

Samuel Beaumonte, News Reporter

Earlier this month, the College of Business (CoB) held a student info session where it gave out two scholarships to students in attendance and announced its newest academic program: Personal Financial Planning (PFP).

The session included a panel of financial planning professionals who shared both their experiences and modern opportunities in the industry.

“The program got started with a conversation with one of our alumni, Jeff Hensler,” said Carlo Smith, the chair of the department of finance and supply chain management. “He brought it to our attention as a field in need of professionals.”

Smith will be the head of the new PFP degree program, and was integral to bringing the info session together.

During the info session, one of the main points was that a career in financial planning is regarded as the third-best business job by U.S. News and World Report.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projected job growth of 30 percent through 2024.

CWU’s “the only university offering a PFP degree in Washington,” said Hensler, who works as a senior investment strategist at Northwest SCS. “It’s very unique and hopefully it’ll draw people all over the Northwest if not the West Coast.”

Currently, the average age of financial planners is 59, according to Hensler.

The profession is currently facing a huge shortage, which won’t abate given estimates for when others in the field start retiring.

“Generally, the people you see going into this industry want to help people,” Smith said. “You’re really helping people plan for their financial future. The value in that is tremendous to students.”

While talk of the major’s development started years ago, credit caps limited the amount of courses that could be offered, so the College of Business is currently working towards getting validation for students with the title of “Certified Financial Planner” or CFP.

“To be able to use their certified mark you need to hit certain points,” Smith said. “Once we get their approval, our students can sit in on the CFP evaluation board. It’s really kind of a validating organization.”

Smith said that two students who attended the info session are currently receiving scholarships towards the program.

The first foundation course, PFP 310 will be available next fall.

The CoB has worked to include courses from the Family and Consumer Sciences while reducing the required core classes of business to better suit majors who want to focus on assisting families.

“When it was in the advisory board we talked about building interpersonal relations,” Hensler said. “It’s not just counting cash flow now, it’s about interpersonal skills. There’s a lot of ways you can go with this degree.”