Municipal Financial Management Program: Frequently Asked Questions


Who is participating in this Program?

The cohort of students will serve as the first opportunity for professional development through networking. The inaugural cohort will include participants who are analysts, all the way up to current assistant city managers. The diversity of work experience and backgrounds will allow the students to learn from the instructor, as well as one another.

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply is September 1, 2016.


How much is each course and the entire Program?

Each course is $450. The entire Program is $2,250. Many students will find that the Program cost is reimbursable through their organizations Professional Development or Education Reimbursement programs. Please check with your HR.


Do I have to pay for the entire Program at once?

No, each course is to be paid separately. This allows the student to request reimbursement from their organization as each course is completed instead of having to wait until the end of the Program to receive reimbursement.


When must I pay for each course?

Students have until seven days before the start of the course to pay the course fee.


What is the Program duration?

Each course is approximately four weeks long (from the first meeting to the final class). Class dates are posted in advance. See the Program brochure for entire Program schedule.


What were to happen if I were to enroll in all the courses except one, can I retake it next year?

The Program is built around a cohort model (see definition below) that allows the students to participate and build relationships inside and outside of the classroom. Although we encourage students to participate in courses in the sequences provided, circumstances may prevent a student from doing so. In these cases, a student may be allowed to take the missed course the next time it is offered. However, completion of the Program is postponed until all courses are complete.


Will this Program be offered again next year?

The number of cohorts will be based on student interest and enrollment. Another round of the Program is planned for next year – exact dates are not known at this time.


What is the approximate time commitment each week for each course?

Time commitment will vary from individual and course, but expect to commit an additional 5-10 hours of work each week per course.


What is meant by “hybrid”?

The inaugural cohort will meet in-person on two weekends – Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to approximately 4:00 pm – for each course. In between these two in-person meetings, the students will utilize online tools (i.e. Google Docs, Interview Stream, Blackboard, Google Hangouts) to interact with other students and the instructor on group projects or written assignments.


What is a “cohort”? Why is the Program set up this way?

Cohorts are set groups of people who work together and take the same classes for the duration of the Program. The purpose, broadly speaking, of the cohort is to encourage a more dynamic, collaborative, and supportive learning environment to carry students through the Program. The outgrowth of a healthy cohort relationship should result in shared teaching, where the cohort members also teach each other. Learning through teaching helps everyone in a cohort cement their knowledge more firmly, more-so than independent learning.

Studies of graduate cohorts show that having this continuity often results in greater support and productivity for students.


Am I required to participate in all five courses?

Yes, the Program includes all five courses and students must complete all five to receive a certificate of completion.


Where is Saddleback College?

Saddleback College is the location for all in-person class meetings (unless noted otherwise). The address is: 28000 Marguerite Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA 92692.


Who are the instructors?

The instructors for the classes include current and former local government leaders as well as subject matter experts from consulting firms that have expertise in the subject matters. The courses will also include guest speakers from the industry. Resumes and bios will be provided prior to the start of the Program.


Will everyone who applies for the Program be accepted?

Applicants for the Program will be reviewed by the Program Steering Committee. This, along with a phone or in-person interview will take place to determine if the applicant’s work history and goals are appropriate for the Program. Also, since each cohort is limited to 15 students, applicants may be accepted for enrolling at a later date.