Frequently Asked Questions

What GVSU courses do I need to meet the CFP Board's requirements?

For students who begin taking courses on 1/1/12 or later, these six courses are required:

  1. FPC 301: Insurance Planning and Employee Benefits
  2. FPC 302: Investment Planning
  3. FPC 303: Personal Income Tax Planning
  4. FPC 304: Retirement Planning
  5. FPC 305: Estate Planning
  6. FPC 306: Capstone Course in Financial Planning

FPC 306 must be the last course taken. The five other courses are prerequisites. Otherwise, the order in which you take courses doesn't matter.

Those students who began taking courses prior to 1/1/12 are not required to take FPC 306.

Can I transfer courses to meet your requirements?

Students may transfer a maximum of two of the six required courses in the certificate program. Transferred courses must meet the following requirements:

  • Courses must be from an accredited college or university or from another CFP Board-Registered Program.
  • The courses must have been taken no more then 3 years prior to your registration date in our CFP program.
  • College courses must be offered at the upper division baccalaureate level or higher.
  • Courses must cover substantially the same subject matter as the course for which it is substituted.
  • Students must have earned at least a B- in the course to be transferred.

Students who wish to transfer a course should submit a transcript along with information about the course (such as a course outline or copies of exams).

Note that we do not waive courses based on passing state or SEC licensing exams or work experience. State license exams are at a far lower level than the work required in the certificate program and the CFP® Certification Examination. Prior work experience is too difficult to assess as to depth, breadth, and currency. The organized academic approach is preferable for the purpose of fulfilling the educational requirements that are based on coverage of specific topics.

What are the requirements to obtain CFP certification?

You must complete a CFP Board-Registered Program. At Grand Valley, that means successfully completing our six required courses. You may then sign up to take the 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination. After you pass, you must meet the ethics standards and work experience requirements.

Candidates for certification must have a bachelor's degree, in any discipline, from a regionally-accredited U.S. college or university in order to obtain CFP® certification. The college degree requirement is a condition of initial certification; it is not a requirement to be eligible to take the CFP® Certification Examination and does not have to occur before sitting for the exam or fulfilling the work experience. Please refer to CFP Board's website at

Can I be admitted into the program without a bachelor's degree?

A bachelor's degree is required to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination (see Q2 above), and we normally require a bachelor's degree for students entering our program. However, exceptions might be made on a case-by-case basis under circumstances such as:

  • A student is working on a bachelor's degree and is nearly finished.
  • A student wants to complete all the courses to obtain the knowledge, but does not intend to become a Certified Financial Planner®.

All exceptions will be determined by the program director.

Where can I buy the required textbooks?

All required materials for our classes can be purchased online - a textbook list is available upon request. Some of the texts may be available from other sources. Instructors supplement the texts with their own notes and handouts.

You must also have a financial calculator, i.e., one that can calculate both IRR and NPV. Most students prefer the TI BA II PLUS, the HP 10B or 12C, or the Victor financial calculator. Note that the CFP Board does not allow the use of alpha-numeric calculators (TI 83s and TI 84s are not allowed, for example) during the national exam.

How large are the classes?

Enrollment varies, but generally there are 10 students.

Do these courses qualify for continuing education credit requirements for Michigan insurance licensees?

No. At one time, all of our courses qualified for CE credit, but they no longer do.

How long does it take to complete all six courses in your certificate program?

Most of our students take one course per session and finish in a year. However there is flexibility, and the completion time can vary from one to four years depending on individual student needs.

Who teaches your classes?

All classes are taught by either Seidman School of Business Finance Department faculty, or by professionally qualified adjunct faculty such as attorneys and certified public accountants.

How do I get more information about this CFP Board-Registered Program?

For more information about Grand Valley's program, contact Eric Hoogstra at (616) 331-7422 or [email protected], or Jo Ann Shelton at (616) 331-7390 or [email protected].

You may also contact the CFP Board at

Will I get a refund if I have to withdraw from a course?

The withdrawal deadline date for a full course refund is 14 days before the posted start date of the class you are withdrawing from. There will be no refunds after that date. However, any course that you have paid for can be retaken for $150.00 if done so within 12 months of the initial paid course.

Do these courses qualify for the WIOA Program?

Yes our courses have been approved on the Michigan Talent Connect Site.

Page last modified October 9, 2019