National Institute of Certified College Planners

History & Background


The National Institute of Certified College Planners (NICCP) is the governing body for the CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) designation.

We are the only recognized college financial planning certification organization in the financial industry. We serve the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent and ethical college financial planning services, as recognized by those who have attained CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) designation.

Our national membership organization was founded in 2002. Our members are Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Certified Financial Planners®, Registered Investment Advisors, Wealth & Retirement Planners, Financial Advisors, Lenders, and other licensed financial professionals.

Our members are licensed financial professionals qualified to share prudent tax, financial, cash flow, and lending advice that can help families lower the cost of college and pay their tuition bill.

All of our members must adhere to the highest standards of professional competence, ethical standards, and continuous professional education in the college financial planning field.

Past & Current Look at the College Funding Industry

Perhaps the best way to explain the evolution of funding college is to discuss the investing patterns of the generation groups. To do that you need to start with grandparents - the parents of the parents of current college-bound students. This group was born during the Great Depression. They worked hard and saved money diligently. Frugality was highly praised, rather than looked down on as it is today. For this generation, the cost of higher education was low compared to income earned by this group.

Baby-boomer parents, on the other hand, were quite different. A lifetime of poor savings habits - coupled with the devastating impact of two bear markets in eight years on investment portfolios - is the legacy of the baby-boomers. Some put money into 529 plans for their kid’s college but most didn’t put money away at all. It is where the student loan crisis all began. And the beginning of college’s raising their prices to skyrocketing levels.

Today, it is the Gen-Xer’s who are sending their children to college. Most never had any money. 529 plans just won’t solve the problem. Financial aid has decreased tremendously. For Gen-Xer’s it is parent PLUS loans or proper financial planning... plain and simple.

A Closer Look at Paying for College the Last Few Years

Prior to 2008 the ‘college funding’ industry was basically about financial aid (cutting the cost) and admissions (getting in). After the recession of 2008, the college funding landscape changed dramatically. Family’s income and investment values grew at a nominal rate. Even home prices dropped, eliminating the home equity parents frequently used to fund their children’s college education.

Did college costs drop though? NO! They rose at a minimum of 5% every year during the 2008 recession. It’s estimated that for this upcoming school year, over 100 colleges will have an annual price tag over $60,000!

What families do not know was that the 2008 recession devastated many state and local governments’ budgets. It also put a hurting on many college’s endowments. As a result, colleges are much stingier now with their financial aid. The gap between the college price and what people could afford to pay - has widened.

Therein lies the problem today, families can get all the information online regarding admissions and financial aid, but when all the college prep hoopla settles, virtually every college-bound family in America will have a $25,000 tuition bill each year and that's for each student in the family.

Today, college funding is all about “Where are you going to get the money?"

In other words, how to pay the tuition bill without going into tremendous debt, or raiding your retirement fund. More than ever before, families need the advice of a licensed financial professional to help them maximize cash flow, reduce taxes, reduce debt and interest expense, and show them how to pay for college without killing their investments, eliminating all the equity in home, or borrow expensive education loans.