Kansas State University


Personal Financial Planning

A Message from the Program Director

Alumni and Friends,

It has been another amazing fall for Personal Financial Planning! Our students continue to excel on-campus and across the country. It is my pleasure to share updates with you on our doctoral program, enrollment and conferences and competitions.

Ph.D. Ten Year Anniversary

This summer we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the founding of the Ph.D. program in 2009. Built from scratch and based on an untested hybrid model of on-campus and distance education, the program was no sure thing. In fact, many in the field doubted the viability and the quality of program, as we were told that they had “different standards” for their graduate education.

So where do we stand? By any measure the program has been a huge success. Thirty seven Ph.D.s in Personal Financial Planning having been minted (with 5 more scheduled to graduate this Fall). Placement has been fantastic, with graduates employed at three of the four Ph.D. granting institutions in our field (University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, and Kansas State University), as well as a variety of other programs (Georgetown, Creighton, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama, University of Central Oklahoma, Indiana Wesleyan, Maryville, Lindenwood, and Fort Hays). We have an equal number of graduates applying their degrees in the practitioner world, whether it be supporting a large firm’s planning arm or incorporating research into their own practice.

We often get questions about the types of students that are in our Doctoral Program. I want to share profiles of several students that were on campus this summer. As you will see, we are able to attract students from all areas of the financial planning landscape.

Matt Somer, CFA, CFP, CPWA. Senior Managing Director, Retirement Strategy Group. Janus Henderson Investors

Wendy Usrey, Instructor, Colorado State University

Tim Sturr, CFP. Managing Director, Planning. Wells Fargo Advisors

Josh Harris, CFP, AFC. Lecturer and CFP Program Coordinator. Clemson University

Jodi Krausman, CPA, Financial Advisor, Money Concepts Advisory Services

Brian Walsh, CFP, CASL. Manager of Financial Planning. SoFi

Chris Moore, MBA, CFP. Lecturer. Texas A&M University

These profiles capture the blend of practitioner experience and academic expertise that has become our calling card.


Despite overall enrollment declines at KSU, our program is thriving. This Fall our program claimed 94 undergraduate students, up from 57 students two years ago and 79 students last year. Similarly, our M.S program continues to grow aggressively. We welcomed 98 M.S. students this Fall, up from 50 students two years ago and 71 last year at this time. The growth engine here is the Advanced Planner sequence, which is designed to support students that already hold the CFP, as well as growing interest in our Financial Therapy coursework.

How are we achieving this growth? It is though the support of our alumni and industry partners. In the 2014-2015 academic year the program was able to award $7,000 in scholarships specifically for PFP students. In the 2019-2020 academic year, we will provide close to $75,000 in scholarships and awards. This is amazing progress in five years and is a testament to your generosity and support. Thank you!

Conferences and Competitions

Once again, KSU had a very successful FPA Annual conference in Minneapolis. Some of the highlights:

– The competition team of Emma Hahn, Morgan Ziegler, and Thomas Meek finished 2nd overall! They finished first in the oral presentation and tied for second in the quiz bowl competition.

– A Best Research Award was given to a paper coauthored by Ph.D. Students Andrew Scott, Wendy Usrey, Miranda Reiter, Shane Enete and myself. 2 of the 9 papers accepted for presentation were authored by current KSU affiliates, while an additional paper was written by recent graduates. This is at least the 4th year in a row KSU has won a research award and had multiple papers in this competitive sequence.

– In total, 15 undergraduate students and at least 8 Ph.D. Students were in attendance this year.

In addition to the FPA Annual Conference, KSU was invited to attend Schwab Impact in San Diego for the first time. Three students, Delaney Johnson, Emma Milan, and Hannah Casteel, were selected to make the trip. With close to 3,500 advisors in attendance this was a magnificent experience for our students and an opportunity to showcase our program.

Most recently, students and faculty attended the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Conference in Portland, OR. Highlights are as follows:

– The competition team of Tyler Moison, Elise Wolf, and Emma Schumann, placed 5th overall during the 2 rounds of questions. Five teams tumbled back and forth with only a point difference between each placement. Each member received a student scholarship and AFCPE membership for 2020.

– Faculty Member Han Na Lim was recognized with the  2019 AFCPE Symposium Research Paper Award for her research into the relationship between cognitive abilities and financial help-seeking behavior.

– Faculty Member Derek Lawson , Ph.D. graduate Christina Glenn, Ph.D. student Joy Clady and former faculty member Kristy Archuleta were recognized for the 2019 AFCPE Symposium Research to Practice Award for the research into the use of money habitudes and financial behavior.

Overall another great semester and great showing from the students, faculty, and alumni of the personal financial planning program. Thank you all for your support!