June 09, 2020 | Andy Rau

Dirk Pruis, professor of finance at Calvin University, sees the new financial planning degree as a natural response to increased student interest and changing trends in the industry.

The Calvin University School of Business is pleased to announce that its new Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning (BSFP) has received registration approval from Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). The addition of this new degree makes Calvin University one of a very small number of faith-based institutions in the United States to offer a CFP Board registered financial planning program. Calvin expects its first BSFP class to graduate in May, 2021.

The new financial planning major is a natural outcome of Calvin’s long-running strategy to deepen and diversify the degrees it offers. But it is also a direct response to interest from students who, over the years, have pursued financial planning careers long before the university offered a dedicated financial planning degree. And for years, Calvin’s interim (January term) course on personal finance has been one of the most in-demand on-campus interim courses at Calvin. It simply made sense to introduce the new major, says Dirk Pruis, associate professor of finance at Calvin University.

The financial planning major intentionally prepares students for the road to CFP® certification, which requires them to complete coursework from a CFP Board registered program, take a national exam, and gain extensive work experience in the field.

The field of financial planning has changed significantly in the last decade, making it a more compelling career choice for students fresh out of college, according to Pruis. “The way that financial planners used to be compensated and introduced to the field made it a common choice for a second career, but not an easy option for new graduates,” he explains. “But recent shifts in the industry along with a strong and growing demand for financial advisors means that it’s now a very appealing career choice for students who love both working with people and working with finance.”

The addition of a financial planning major follows a significant expansion of Calvin’s business offerings in 2019, when the university replaced its existing Bachelor of Arts in Business with Bachelor of Arts degrees in finance, human resources, and marketing, and added minors in entrepreneurship and supply chain management. These new degrees and minors complement the existing Bachelor of Science in Accounting and the Master of Accounting degrees offered at Calvin. The changes were made to add functional depth and ensure business majors graduated well prepared for a career after graduation, but also to make Calvin’s offerings more accessible to students who want to add a business degree to a major in another field.

Financial planning majors will find a great deal of support and career preparation before they graduate. Programs like Calvin Nexus Peer Financial Coaching give students an opportunity to put their learning into practice by counseling student clients in areas such as budgeting, saving, and investing, along with many others.

Pruis is excited about what the new major means for students. “There’s a great demand right now for faith-based financial planners—for financial advisors and counselors who share their clients’ values. That’s why I’m so excited about this new program—we have the ability to prepare students to make an incredibly tangible, positive difference in people’s lives. It’s not about accumulating wealth—it’s about doing good in the world with the resources God has entrusted to us.”

The new financial planning degree is not the only change coming to the business department at Calvin University. University leaders recently announced that a $22.25 million anonymous gift will be used to launch the Calvin University School of Business. Read more about plans for the new school.

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