Board of Directors

Rick Darvis

Rick Darvis


Rick is the Founder and President of the National Institute of Certified College Planners. He is recognized as one of the country’s leading experts in both the tax and college financial planning fields. Rick’s knowledge in taxes and college financial planning has earned him invitations to speak on college financial planning and income tax planning to his contemporaries at CPA and CFP® conferences in over 40 states.

He has provided education programs on tax and college planning for many financial service companies around the country, including Manulife, MFS, American Skandia, Franklin Templeton, Eastern Bank, US Bank, Linsco Private Ledger, Securities America, Genworth, Lincoln Financial, UBS, Wachovia, Smith Barney, John Hancock Financial Network, Legg Mason, Edward Jones, and Raymond James.

Rick has been quoted in Forbes, CNN-FN, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Money, Business Week, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, NY Times, Smart Money, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg’s Personal Finance, Nation's Business, Financial Advisor, Dow Jones Newswire, On Investing, Knight Ridder News, Mutual Fund Market News, Research Magazine, Practical Accountant, Offspring, LIMRA's Market Facts, NAPFA Advisor, and AICPA's Planner.

Rick earned his Bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Montana.

Mike McKinnon

Mike McKinnon

M.Ed., CCPS®

Mike, Founder & President of College Planners of America, Ltd., specializes in major and college selection, improving test scores, crafting resumes, essays and admission applications, internships, co-ops, and financing. For nearly 30 years, Mike has worked with students from 21 states and 4 countries. A master of strategy and researching options, Mike is dedicated to helping each student get into a great-for-them school to earn a marketable degree at a reasonable cost and with minimal (or no) debt. His students have attended hundreds of schools across the US and abroad.

As the Executive Director of the NICCP, Mike draws on his years of experience in an ever-changing higher education landscape.

Mike served on the Board of Trustees for the College of DuPage—the largest single-campus community college in the US—for 12 years, with four of those years as Board Chairman.

Frank Bruni, best-selling New York Times author of Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, says “A conversation with [Mike] McKinnon is an eye-opening, option-diversifying revelation.”

Mike earned his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and his Master’s degree from the American College of Education.

Carl Buck

Carl Buck


Carl, President of Carl Buck College Funding Solutions, LLC, is a nationally recognized expert on how to pay for college. For over forty years, Carl has assisted thousands of students and families with college funding solutions.

Most recently, Carl held the positions of Vice President for Chase Student Loans, and Senior Consultant for Discover Student Loans.

Serving as the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Rice University, Rutgers University, and as the UCLA Director of Financial Aid Counseling, Carl has guided families through the college financial aid maze, and has generated thousands of grant and scholarship dollars for students through personal counseling and proven strategies.

Carl is the author of The Student Aid Answer Book and has been asked to share his experience and insight with leading media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, and CBS radio.

He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Emerson College.