All persons with the CCFS® designation must adhere to the highest standards of professional competence, ethical standards, and continuous professional education in the college financial planning field.

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists has adopted this Code of Ethics to provide principles and rules to all persons who have been certified to use the Certified College Funding Specialist™ (CCFS®) designation. Persons not certified as a CCFS® are prohibited from using the CCFS® marks in any fashion or form including but not limited to written, verbal, and or electronic.

The Association of Certified College Funding Specialists determines who is certified and authorized to use the CCFS® designation. Persons certified to use the CCFS® designation are obligated to abide by our principles and rules and to also take responsibility to act in an ethical and professionally responsible manner in all professional services and activities.

Membership in the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists is voluntary, and all CCFS® designees must adhere to the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics guides CCFS® designees in the performance of their professional responsibilities. Association of Certified College Funding Specialists members have responsibilities to those who use their professional services. Association of Certified College Funding Specialists members also share the responsibility to cooperate with each other to improve the college financial planning profession.

A person certified to use the CCFS® designation is called a CCFS® (Certified College Funding Specialist™). This Code of Ethics applies to all CCFS® designees.

The Code of Ethics consists of principles that are statements of the ethical and professional ideals that CCFS®designees are expected to adhere to in their professional activities. The Code of Ethics also consists of rules that provide guidelines for the principles. These rules describe the standards of professional conduct expected of CCFS® designees.

All CCFS® designees must comply with this Code of Ethics. Compliance with the Code of Ethics requires a CCFS® to be knowledgeable with the following Code of Ethics principles and rules.

Principle of Integrity

A CCFS® (Certified College Funding Specialist™) must provide college financial planning services with the highest degree of integrity. A CCFS® must rely on his or her integrity to determine what is right for the client. Integrity must not be sacrificed for personal gain. Allowances can be made for innocent errors and legitimate differences of opinion, but integrity must not be compromised by deceit or by sacrificing principles.

Rules of Integrity

  1. A CCFS® must not solicit clients through false or misleading communications or advertisements.
  2. A CCFS® shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, or knowingly make a false or misleading statement.
  3. Principle of Objectivity
  4. A CCFS® must be objective in providing college financial planning services to clients. Objectivity requires honesty and impartiality. A CCFS® should maintain integrity, objectivity and avoid compromising of his or her judgment.

Rules of Objectivity

  1. A CCFS® shall exercise reasonable and prudent professional judgment in providing professional services.
  2. A CCFS® must act in the interest of the client.

Principle of Competence

A CCFS® must attain and maintain a level of knowledge and skill that will enable him or her to competently provide college financial planning services to clients.  Also to obtaining the CCFS® designation, a CCFS® must make a commitment to obtaining ongoing continuing education and professional improvement.

Rules of Competency

  1. A CCFS® must keep informed of changes in the business and related news and take continuing education classes in order to improve professional competence. A CCFS® is required to obtain at least the minimum continuing education requirements established by the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists.
  2. A CCFS® shall offer advice only in those areas in which he or she is competent.

Principle of Fairness

A CCFS® must perform college financial planning services in a manner that is fair and reasonable to clients and must disclose conflicts of interest in providing such services. Fairness requires impartiality, honesty, and disclosure of conflicts of interest. Fairness is treating others in the same fashion that you would want to be treated.

Rules of Fairness

  1. A CCFS® must disclose to the client information that is relevant to the professional relationship, including, conflicts of interest, credentials, qualifications, licenses, compensation structure, and any agency relationships.
  2. A CCFS® must make timely written disclosure of all material information about conflicts of interest and sources of compensation.
  3. A CCFS® must provide upon written request by the client, information regarding all compensation related to the college financial planning service, including all compensation and/or commissions derived from the implementation of the college financial plan.

Principle of Confidentiality

A CCFS® must not release and or disclose any confidential client information without the consent of the client. 

Creating a relationship of trust and confidence between a CCFS® and a client can only be built upon the understanding that any and all information obtained by the CCFS® regarding the client will be kept confidential.

Rules of Confidentiality

  1. A CCFS® must not reveal or use for his or her benefit, any client information without the consent of the client.
  2. A CCFS® shall maintain the same standards of confidentiality to employers or partners as to clients.

Principle of Professionalism

A CCFS®designee's conduct must reflect positively upon the profession. A CCFS® must behave with dignity and courtesy. Also, a CCFS® must cooperate with other CCFS® designees to enhance and maintain the profession's public image and to improve the quality of services.

Rules of Professionalism

A CCFS® must use the CCFS® designation in compliance with the guidelines, rules, and regulations of the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists.

  1. A CCFS® must show respect for other financial planning professionals by engaging in fair and honorable practices.
  2. A CCFS® who has knowledge that another CCFS® has committed a violation of this Code of Ethics or an illegal activity must inform the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists and the appropriate regulatory or professional bodies.
  3. A CCFS® must perform college financial planning services in accordance with any applicable laws, rules, and regulations of governmental agencies and other applicable authorities.
  4. A CCFS® must not engage in any conduct that reflects adversely on his or her integrity as a CCFS®.
  5. A CCFS® must comply with all applicable renewal requirements including payment of the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists membership fees and obtaining the required continuing education credits.

Principle of Diligence

A CCFS® must be diligent in providing college financial planning services. Diligence is providing college financial planning services in a prompt manner, with the proper supervision required in rendering these services.

Rules of Diligence

  1. A CCFS® must provide college financial planning services in a diligent manner.
  2. A CCFS® must enter into a college financial planning engagement only after obtaining sufficient information to satisfy the CCFS®, that the client’s needs and objectives can be met and that the CCFS® has the expertise to provide competent services to the client.
  3. A CCFS® must make and/or implement only recommendations that are suitable for the client.
  4. A CCFS® must make a reasonable investigation regarding the financial products recommended to clients. Such an investigation may be made by the CCFS®or by others provided the CCFS® acts reasonably in relying upon such investigation.
  5. A CCFS® must properly supervise subordinates concerning their delivery of college financial planning services, and shall not accept any violation of this Code of Ethics by subordinates.