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College Planning Made Easy: An FPA Certificate Program

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The four-year sticker price of college now exceeds $300,000 at some of our most prestigious institutions. As a result, we now have over 44 million student loan borrowers in America and our outstanding education debt now exceeds $1.7 trillion. With these concerns in mind, college bound families are actively seeking out advisors to help them with funding the costs of higher education while staying on track for retirement. However, training on financial aid and late-stage college planning has long been overlooked by most advisor education programs.

The FPA is proud to partner with College Aid Pro™ to bring you this late stage college planning certificate course to help advisors better understand how to assist their clients with the important decisions around higher education costs and demystifying financial aid. A deep dive into both the technical aspects of navigating the college funding maze, as well as practical conversations and exercises to help advisors connect with their clients and unpack the behavioral and emotional aspects wrapped up in this momentous investment in their children and higher education.

  1. Not just education, but real solutions to help families.
  2. A proven system to deliver expert college funding advice.
  3. Resources to guide families through the college funding maze.
  4. Practice management workflows to show you exactly what to do.


  1. Project a family’s financial aid and out of pocket cost at individual institutions
  2. Create a college funding plan and ensure students graduate with manageable debt without robbing retirement
  3. Understand the key differences in the federal and institutional formulas used to determine a family’s expected family contribution (EFC) need based financial aid eligibility
  4. Income and asset strategies to maximize financial aid offers
  5. How to analyze, compare, and appeal financial aid award letters
  6. Cash flow and tax planning strategies for college
  7. Understand the pending changes and planning opportunities as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act

Joe Messinger, CFP®, ChFC, CLU

Partner & Director of College Planning

Capstone Wealth Partners, LTD

Joe Messinger, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CFFC  is on a mission to end the student loan crisis one family at a time.  A proud graduate of Penn State University, Joe is Partner and Director of College Planning at Capstone Wealth Partners.  A fee only RIA based in Columbus, OH that specializes in financial planning for college bound families.  Joe created the innovative College Pre-Approval™ system to seamlessly guide families through the college funding maze and ensure that every student graduate with manageable student loan debt without robbing retirement.  

 In addition, Joe is co-founder and Director of Advisor solutions at College Aid Pro®, a groundbreaking financial aid planning software for advisors that is changing the way America shops for college and streamlining the college funding process.  

He is known as an industry thought leader in the area of college financial planning and practice management.  He regularly speaks at industry conferences for the Financial Planning Association (FPA), National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and the XY Planning Network (XYPN). His work has been featured in The Journal for Financial Planning, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News, and Bloomberg to name a few.

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Welcome! An Introduction from Joe Messinger
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Open to view video.
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CAP Advisor Workstation- One Month Free!
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Open to download resource.
College Planning Made Easy
Introduction to College Funding Landscape
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Open to view video.
The Mechanics of College Funding
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Open to view video.
The College Pre-Approval Process
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Open to view video.
How to Find Schools that Will be the Most Generous with Financial Aid
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Open to view video.
The Out of Pocket Cost
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Open to view video.
Paying For College Made Easy
Analyze and Appeal- A Deep Dive
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Open to view video.
Creating a Smart Lending Strategy
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
College Aid Pro In Action- A Case Study
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Open to view video.
Incorporating College Planning In Your Practice
Practice Management- A Deep Dive
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
Certificate Program Examination
Certificate Program Examination
26 Questions  |  2 attempts  |  17/26 points to pass
26 Questions  |  2 attempts  |  17/26 points to pass
Program Evaluation
Program Evaluation
7 Questions
Certificate of Completion
Certificate of Completion
Live Viewing: 4.5 CFP CE credits and certificate available
Live Viewing: 4.5 CFP CE credits and certificate available