Plentywood, Mont. (Oct. 16, 2002) -- A new set of letters has been added to the alphabet soup of credentials -- the Certified College Planning Specialist.

The credential, aimed at advisors who specialize in college planning, is the brainchild of Pittsford, N.Y.-based Savingforcollege.com and Plentywood, Mont.-based College Funding, who teamed up to launch the National Institute of Certified College Planners.

"The idea grew out of suggestions by planners who had developed specialty in college planning and recognized a need for serious education in college planning," said Jeffrey Clark, chief operating officer of Savingforcollege.com.

Candidates must possess a certification or designation within financial services industry, such as a CFP, CLU or RIA; or be a licensed professional (such as an attorney or CPA); or be approved by the NICCP advisory council based on education, experience and credentials. The curriculum consists of three self-study modules which can be completed online or in hard copy. Advisors must pass an online exam after each module.

Since its launch in April, Clark said 71 people, including 10 CPAs, have earned the designation, and another hundred are currently enrolled in the program. For information on the credential, visit the NICCP web site at www.niccp.com.

-- Melissa Klein

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