OVERVIEW

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists is the governing body for the Certified College Funding Specialist® (CCFS®) designation.

The CCFS® is the premier college financial funding designation 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 CCFS® (Certified College Funding Specialist™) designation.

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 financial, tax, 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 college funding.

OUR MISSION

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists educates, certifies, and promotes our member CPAs, Enrolled Agents, CFP’s, Registered Investment Advisors, Wealth & Retirement Planners, Financial Advisors, Lenders and other licensed financial professionals as the only advisors qualified to give advice on the financial aspects of paying for college and licensed to offer specific financial products and services that can be used to fund college.

While there are college counselors that deal with the general issues of preparing for college, such as admissions, ACT/SAT prep, essay writing, college selection, and financial aid; our members are licensed financial consultants qualified to share prudent tax, financial, cash flow and lending advice that can help families lower the cost of college and pay the tuition bill.

OUR FOUNDER

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists was founded January, 1st, 2017 by Ron Them, CCFS®.

Using his 25 years of experience in college financial planning, Ron finally created an educational training program solely focused on college financial aid, financial planning, and financial product funding. Those that complete the program achieve the designation of CCFS® (Certified College Funding Specialist™).

The CCFS® designation has been receiving outstanding industry reviews from Life Insurance Agents and RIAs across the country.

Prior to creating the CCFS® designation, he co-created the first ever recognized designation for financial professionals on the subject of college planning called the Certified College Planning Specialist.

For over 25 years, the nation's leading financial advisors, broker/dealers, and major media outlets have been using Ron’s research, funding strategies, training, and insight.

Ron was the Chief Financial Officer of Foote Industries before transitioning to the financial services industry as a registered investment representative and supervisor with Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 investment licenses; as well as, insurance licenses and is now retired from financial services.

Ron is highly regarded as one of the top experts in the college funding field. He has been quoted in:

U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Smart Money, Financial Advisor Magazine, Small Firm Profit Report, Practical Accountant, LIMRA's Market Facts, Senior Advisors Magazine, HR Magazine, BenefitNews.com, Employee Benefit News Magazine, ProducersWeb.com, Entrepreneur Magazine, Insurance Selling Magazine, CollegeNews.com, The Christian Voice, and Columbus CEO Magazine.

In 1994, Ron’s company, Educational Planning Services became an official Needs-Analysis Servicer for the United States Department Of Education. Ron currently holds copyrights on one of the original college financial aid software programs on the market, and also other publications, including:

  • College Financial Aid Wizard Software and Manual - U.S. Copyright Office Certificate of Registration No. TX3-440-502, effective July 1, 1992.
  • The College Decision Navigator Guidebook - U.S. Copyright Office Certificate of Registration No. TXu-740-709, effective April 11, 1996.
  • The College Decision Navigator Guidebook (Parent & Student Edition) - U.S. Copyright Office Certificate of Registration No. TXu-691-849, effective December 2, 1996.

Ron developed the Cash Flow Recovery™ process that uses cash flow management principles to increase asset value and build wealth for business owners. He is also the originator of several software calculators to help advisors and families make college affordable, including the: WIZARD Financial Aid Manager, College QuikPlan EFC Calculator, "Find the Money" College Cashflow Calculator and the College Debt Reduction Calculator.

Ron helped develop the Answers4College Blueprint, which is quickly becoming the leading college planning application and client management system for advisors in the college market.

OUR MANAGEMENT TEAM

Ron Them

Ron Them

FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

For over 25 years, the nation's leading financial advisors, broker/dealers, and major media outlets have been using Ron’s research, funding strategies, training, and insight.

Josh Miner

Josh Miner

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Involved in the financial services industry for over twenty years, Josh is a nationally known sales and marketing trainer for financial advisors.

Akki Khare

Akki Khare

CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

Akki leads ACCFS's technology team and makes sure our website works, is functional, and secure.

Dave Zoellner

Dave Zoellner

MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR

In his current role as Membership Director, Dave's team oversees membership services and support.

TIMELINE

1992

April

Founder Ron Them travels to Washington D.C. to obtain a copy of the Congressional Methodology formula (now called EFC) from the Library of Congress.

1992

May

Knowing that this formula was not well known especially in the financial services community, Ron forms a new company, Education Planning Services, hires a DOS programmer, and builds one of the first college financial aid analysis tools called the "Wizard Financial Aid Software."

1992

July

Copyright approval received for the "Wizard Financial Aid Software." (Registration # 3-440-502).

1994

January

Educational Planning Services becomes an official Needs-Analysis Servicer for the United States Department Of Education.

1994

May

Ron holds a first of its kind financial aid and college funding training conference for financial professionals in Columbus, OH.

1996

April

Ron's College Decision Navigator Guidebook receives copyright approval from the U.S. Copyright Office (Certificate of Registration No. TXu-740-709, effective April 11, 1996).

1996

December

Copyright approval received for the Parent and Student Edition of the College Decision Navigator Guidebook from the U.S. Copyright Office (Certificate of Registration No. TXu-691-849, effective December 2, 1996.).

1997

April

Marketing of new training course "CollegePLUS - A Turnkey College Planning System for Affluent Families" begins.

1998

October

CollegePLUS turns into a popular nationwide training program teaching advisors how to attract and guide affluent families who want to recoup their total cost of college prior to retirement.

2002

April

Ron Them and two CPAs (Joe Hurley & Ricky Gerald Darvis) form the National Institute of Certified College Planners and create the first certification and designation for financial professionals on the subject of college planning called the Certified College Planning Specialist.

2004

April

Joe Hurley, sells his interest in the NICCP to focus on his college savings website, SavingForCollege.com. Leaving Ron and Ricky the remaining partners.

2008

June

Ron develops Cash Flow Recovery™ to help advisors generate new business during the stock market crash. It uses cash flow management principles to show financial advisors how to help business owners increase asset value and build wealth.

2009

February

Several new college related calculators are added to Cash Flow Recovery™:

  • College QuikPlan EFC Calculator
  • "Find the Money" College Cash Flow Calculator
  • College Debt Reduction Calculator.

2009

September

Ron develops a Business Builder training series that teaches financial professionals how to add college planning to their financial practice.

2013

June

As managing partner, Ron assembles a new management team made up of marketing and IT professionals to educate, market, and promote the college niche to financial professionals across the country.

2015

April

Recognizing that parents and students are borrowing trillions of dollars, Ron and his new management team create an education course for financial professionals called the Education Loan Analyst™ (ELA).

2016

April

Chatter heats up that the Department of Labor may invoke a new Fiduciary Rule, forcing all financial advisors offering retirement planning to become registered as a fiduciary (CFP, Series 65, etc.). Reality begins to set in, as this could affect many of the advisors that call themselves Certified College PLANNING Specialists, and are only insurance licensed.

2016

October

Recognizing the potential of a new DOL Fiduciary rule, and the fact that most advisors offer college funding and not tax planning, Ron decides to create the Certified College Funding Specialist (CCFS®) designation as well as a new company, and certification course.

2016

November

The new CCFS® course is completed. Moving away from college planning that mostly uses tax planning strategies and now focuses more on college funding strategies taking advantage of financial aid, financial planning, and financial products that can be used to fund college.

2017

January

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists and a new designation called the Certified College Funding Specialist® (CCFS®) is officially launched. With new education training materials that focus more on college financial aid, financial planning, and financial product funding.

2017

September

The CCFS® designation is registered with FINRA.

2017

October

Registered trademarks for the CCFS® mark and Certified College Funding Specialist® are received from the US Patent & Trademark office.

2018

February

Consumer website www.hireaccfs.com which promotes our CCFS® members, adds many new integrations. They include... public messaging, marketing funnels, lead tracking, Google Analytics, Eventbrite integration, and online appointment scheduling integrations with Acuity Scheduling, Calendly, and Schedule Once.