The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the University of Illinois will offer a free online financial planning course to students and the general public.

Beginning in the spring 2015, the course will include basic elements of financial planning such as debt management, investments, budgeting and retirement planning.

It will also provide an overview of the benefits of becoming a financial planner and how to earn the CFP certification.

“The online course format will allow us to package curriculum in an engaging format and talk about financial issues in a way that’s practical and real world,” said Nicholas D. Paulson, an agriculture economics associate professor at the university who is helping to develop the course. “We will use role playing to bring financial scenarios and decisions to life. The course will also give students guidance and examples of how to manage their money and prepare for their futures.”

The course will be available at