Financial Counseling and Planning

Financial Counseling and Planning brochure (PDF)
Financial Counseling and Planning course catalog

Help families and individuals manage their money!

Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) curriculum prepares students for professional work related to financial counseling and planning.  FCP is a growing career field and appeals to students who want to work with individuals and families to help them meet their financial goals and improve their financial capability to better meet financial challenges.

Three options

Three areas of emphasis offer students opportunities to help them make good financial decisions and manage resources:

  • Family financial counseling
  • Family financial planning
  • Family finance and housing studies

What can I do with a degree in FCP?

Graduates of the program are prepared for employment within the public and private sectors including working in the banking and insurance industry and financial counseling and human service agencies. A required internship encourages students to apply their studies and to experience the profession in real-world settings.  FCP majors also are prepared to enter graduate programs in family financial planning, financial education, economics and finance. (See the career possibilities below for specific career examples.)

In the Fall  of 2013, the name of the curriculum was changed to Family Finance (FF) to highlight the emphasis on family financial counseling and planning.  Students in the family finance option will take coursework that leads to taking the certification examination in financial planning.

Strengths of the program

The only program in Iowa

ISU has the only family finance undergraduate program in Iowa.

Recent economic conditions in the U.S. highlight the nation’s need for more citizens who understand family financial decision-making and can build their own financial capacity and also help others to become financially literate.  FCP provides students with the skills to help people solve their financial problems and make good financial decisions based on individual and family financial goals, guiding them toward financial security.

Financial Counseling Clinic

Many students in this major work closely with the Iowa State Financial Counseling Clinic to develop counseling skills and conduct research in state-of-the-art facilities.  As a financial counseling student, you will study the underlying causes of financial problems and develop counseling skills. As a financial planning student, you will study family economic analysis and investments, retirement, insurance, and estate planning to help families and individuals manage their money.

4-year plans


The Financial Counseling and Planning minor may be earned by completing the following requirements:

Complete all three of the following:

HD FS 239: Housing and Consumer Issues (3 credits)

HD FS 283: Personal and Family Finance (3 credits)

HD FS 395: Children, Families, and Public Policy (3 credits)

In addition, complete two of the following (6 credits):

HD FS 341: Housing Finance and Policy

HD FS 360: Housing and Services for Families and Children

HD FS 378: Economics of Aging

HD FS 463: Environments for the Aging

HD FS 483: Advanced Personal and Family Finance

HD FS 488: Families in the Economy

HD FS 489: Financial Counseling

Curriculum requirements

Current and past course syllabi

For current and recent class syllabus examples go to the Class Websites page for Human Development and Family Studies.

Scholarships and financial aid

The Human Development and Family Studies scholarship page includes an online application form and list of scholarships. The online form is available from November through February each year.

Financial Counseling and Planning scholarships

Career possibilities

Family finance careers:

  • Financial planner, adviser, or counselor
  • Financial aid officer
  • Investment adviser/counselor
  • Insurance agent
  • Consumer credit counselor
  • Marketing/sales representative
  • Benefit counselor, retirement advisor, pension fund administrator
  • Social Security representative
  • Housing specialist or advocate
  • Loan officer or processor
  • Mortgage representative or mortgage lender
  • Property manager
  • Real estate agent
  • Program caseworker

To do now: ways to prepare for this program

High school math courses, communications courses, and courses in human behavior are recommended.

Transfer students

Student organizations and learning communities

Related minors


View Financial Counseling and Planning student internship experiences at Career Connections.

Students majoring in Financial Counseling and Planning are required to complete a 320-360 hour internship during their senior year with the goal of applying the knowledge learned in the classroom to a work setting.  Students find and choose an internship site themselves with the support and guidance from the HDFS department internship coordinator. Internships can be completed in Iowa, out of state and even internationally.

Examples of organizations where students majoring in Financial Counseling and Planning have completed their internships:

Greater Iowa Credit Union

HOME, Inc.

Story County Iowa Assessor’s Office


Recent current events have changed the way our country thinks about monetary matters. Faculty leading coursework and research related to personal and family finance and housing are at work in our communities, state, and nation, helping all ages of the population better understand and plan for fiscal security.

Dr. Chris Cook,

Dr. Cynthia Fletcher,

Dr. Jonathan Fox,

Dr. Timothy Griesdorn,

Dr. Clinton Gudmunson,

Dr. Pat Swanson,

Adjunct/affiliate faculty and lecturers

Doug Borkowski,

Jeanna Nation,


Graduate degrees

ISU’s Hira helps develop consumer money-management site

NYSE Euronext developers worked closely with Tahira Hira, a professor of personal finance and consumer economics in HDFS, to launch NYSE Money Sense, a new online educational resource for consumers to improve their money-management skills and knowledge. Hira vetted the site content and is chairing the NYSE Euronext Financial Literacy Advisory committee, which is composed of some of the most respected names in financial literacy and education. She was interviewed about the initiative by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC.

  • Contact Information

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    (515) 294-7838

  • Did You Know?

    "Jobs Rated Almanac" rated financial planner as the No. 1 job in the U.S. Our major offers a well-rounded curriculum and hands-on experience.

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