INSIDE IOWA STATE
March 9, 2001
Master's program is proof of strength in numbers
by Anne Krapfl
Six public universities, including Iowa State, are joining forces to
offer what none of them can on their own: a master's degree in family
financial planning. The human sciences colleges at the six (at Iowa State,
that's Family and Consumer Sciences) launched the distance education
program fall semester, after lots of discussions among their deans,
registrars and continuing education directors.
"It's a wonderful example of leveraging resources," said
Mary Winter, FCS associate dean for research and graduate education.
"None of the member schools has the faculty to do this on our own. But,
if every school can teach two courses, we've got a
The curriculum has been approved by the Board of Examiners of the Certified
Financial Planner Board of Standards, which means that graduates of the
program are eligible to take the Certified Financial Planner exam.
Joining Iowa State in offering the master's program are North Dakota
State, South Dakota State, Montana State, Kansas State and the University of
Nebraska. The six are part of the 10-school Great Plains Interactive
Distance Education Alliance, formed in 1994 to collaborate on training,
policies and programs. The family financial planning program is the first to
emerge from the alliance, but Winter said faculty also are planning joint
programs in gerontology, youth development and family and consumer science
teacher education. Not all will be degree programs; some will be
certification programs, she said.
A $1 million grant from the U.S Department of Education's Learning
Anywhere Anytime Partnership is helping pay for things such as meetings
among the partners, Web site development and course development.
The new master's program has a set curriculum with no elective
courses. The Web-based courses are being phased in over three years. By fall
2003, when all the courses have been offered once, each course will be
taught every year. Charles Hatcher and Susan Crull, both members of the
human development and family studies faculty, are developing Iowa
State's course contributions to the program with assistance from FCS
instructional development specialist Karla Embleton. Hatcher will teach a
course on investments this fall; Crull will first teach her real estate
course in summer 2002.
Winter said 24 students were enrolled in the program last fall, including
two who enrolled through Iowa State. Another three ISU students have since
been admitted. Winter estimates she has received close to 50 inquiries about
"It's geared for the adult student who wants this degree but also
needs some flexibility. (In three years) when all the courses have been
phased in, they'll be able to take the course load they want at the
time of year they want."
Students are admitted to one school but register at and are billed by
whichever school(s) are offering the courses they want that semester.
Cooperation among university registrars allows all enrollment and grade
records to be compiled on the home school's transcripts. The
master's degree is awarded by the student's home university.
To avoid large tuition swings for students, the courses are offered through
extended and continuing education. Winter said four of the participating six
schools don't distinguish between residents and non-residents to price
their continuing ed credits.
Inquiries about the program can be directed to Winter, 4-5982.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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