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To identify an adviser, tap your personal and professional network for recommendations and check whether your prospective candidates are accredited by at least one major industry group. Both the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the CFA Institute list certified professionals on their websites.
You can also check a financial planner's disciplinary history on the websites of the CFP Board or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Most planners offer a free initial consultation. You can use that meeting to confirm that the adviser has significant experience working with families looking for financial aid for college. If you get any advice you're not comfortable with, seek a second opinion.
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