It has been an exciting start to the 2019-2020 school year for the Personal Financial Planning program! There have been some major milestones, name changes, new spaces, and amazing student victories. The College of Human Ecology was officially renamed the College of Health and Human Sciences as of June 1st, 2019, updating it to better reflect the variety and rigor of the programs offered within.
In September, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of students helping students through Powercat Financial. Over 4,000 students have met with our peer financial counselors to obtain assistance with student loan planning and repayment, budgeting, managing credit, and navigating important financial decisions. Powercat Financial is an amazing program that not only helps students gain strong footing of their financial situation, but also helps the counselors get some real-world experience in working with clients.
Enrollment continues to increase in the College of Health and Human Sciences, even as the overall enrollment at the university is down. In Personal Financial Planning specifically, year over year growth for the undergraduate and master’s programs was 17.7% and 33.8% respectively. Over the last two years, these programs have grown a staggering 63.2% and 90%. We are now seeing an increase in students joining the program as and freshman. I was a 2004 graduate of the program and it was unheard of back then for a freshman to enter the program. Historically, students don’t find the major until they are in their sophomore or junior year.
We also celebrated the 10 year milestone for our Ph.D program. The program has been a huge success with 37 minted Ph.D.’s over that timeframe. Placement after graduation has been fantastic. Dr. Lim and Dr. Heckman recently traveled to South Korea with the Ph.D students for their capstone experience.
The students have been busy participating in multiple industry competitions, conferences and mentorship relationships. Fifteen students represented the program at this year’s National Financial Planning Association conference, which you can read all about in the FPA Recap. Most new undergraduate students in the program are matched up with upper classman to serve as peer mentors. They also have amazing support and coaching from their professors and the personal financial planning staff.
Scholarship opportunities have increased dramatically over the last 5 years for our Personal Financial Planning students. In the 2019-2020 academic year, we have $45,000 committed to scholarships with more in the pipeline.
We had our 4th annual Professional Connection Event in October. The Connection Event has been a great avenue for providing internship and career opportunities for our students. It gives students at all stages the opportunity to mingle with professionals at various types of firms in a non-threatening environment. Through the conversations with attending professionals they can explore diverse career possibilities and get some practice in an interview setting. This year, we had 15 firms and over 70 students participate.
I continue to be amazed and encouraged at the caliber of our program, staff, and students. I look forward to seeing the program continue to grow and reach new levels of success.
Jamie A. Bosse, CFP®