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Doctorate Student Establishes College and Student Loan Advising Certification

Ross Riskin ’20 meets a community need with the Certified College Financial Consultant (CCFC) program

DBA student Ross Riskin at the Martire Center Finance Lab

Students in Sacred Heart University’s doctorate of business administration (DBA) in finance don’t have to wait for graduation to become leaders. The program attracts and equips a high caliber of professionals, like Ross Riskin, who plans to graduate with a finance concentration in 2020. Aside from his studies at Sacred Heart, Riskin is also the founder of the American Institute of Certified College Financial Consultants (AICCFC), which issues the Certified College Financial Consultant (CCFC) designation. Already, nearly 30 individuals are working to complete the requirements to earn the designation, which launched this past September.

Riskin is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a personal financial specialist (PFS) who founded Riskin Advisory, LLC, in 2012 and is the vice president of Riskin & Riskin, PC (public accounting firm). He also is the director of finance programs and an assistant professor of accounting and finance at Albertus Magnus College. These positions helped him recognize a need for financial guidance in the areas of college and student loan advising, and that led him to create the CCFC education and certification programs.

Riskin has helped many families save and pay for college, but he noticed there were “few advisers who offer these services throughout the country, and even fewer who are truly qualified to competently advise families and individuals in these areas,” he says. “Unfortunately, many financial planners fall into three categories when it comes to college and student loan advising: they either advise clients to save money in a 529 college savings plan and offer no further advice; sell expensive annuities and life insurance products to clients and pitch it as an effective financial aid planning strategy; or they don’t offer any services at all.”

Riskin knew this had to change. He has spent the past five years establishing himself as a national expert in these areas in order to establish legitimacy for the program he envisioned. “I knew that I would need to add value to the community of CPAs and financial planners to become a recognized thought and practice leader in this field,” he explains. Since then, Riskin has talked to thousands of people across the nation at conferences and through webinars for CPAs and financial planners. He also has been quoted by Forbes, U.S.News, Financial Advisor Magazine, Wallethub and Supermoney, among other media outlets. Moreover, he is the winner of the Connecticut Society of CPAs’ Educator of Excellence Award, the American Institute of CPAs’ Standing Ovation in Personal Financial Planning Award and CPA Practice Advisor’s “40 Under 40” Award.

This year, Riskin was ready to develop content and an infrastructure for his educational offering, launching the American Institute of Certified College Financial Consultants (AICCFC) in May and the CCFC education and certification programs in September. “My goal is to build a community of CPAs, PFSs, certified financial planners and enrolled agents who are passionate about acting as fiduciaries for their clients and who offer quality service in the areas of college and student loan advising,” he says.

Riskin was drawn to SHU after an extensive three-year process researching doctoral programs. “The flexibility of Sacred Heart’s program was very appealing; I could complete it in three years while continuing to work without having to do extensive travel,” he notes. “That the program is an applied research doctorate rather than a professional doctorate and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (ACCSB) made it stand out among many others.”

Paul Rychlik, SHU’s director of graduate admissions, says Riskin is a perfect fit for the University’s DBA in finance program. “We primarily recruit accomplished finance professionals who are looking to enhance their careers in industry or academia,” he says. “Ross is a great example of a DBA candidate who has had success in both venues and is looking to take the next significant career step by attaining his doctorate degree in finance at Sacred Heart University.”

After completing his studies at SHU, Riskin plans to get more involved in research, “specifically in tax law and policies related to higher education, student loans and cryptocurrencies, so I can produce original research that can be applied in both academic and professional environments,” he explains. “I look forward to developing my research skills so I can make significant contributions to existing literature and continue to be a thought and practice leader in the accounting and finance fields.”

To learn more about the CCFC education and certification programs, visit www.aiccfc.org. To learn more about SHU’s DBA in finance program, contact Rychlik at rychlikp@sacredheart.edu or visit SHU’s website.