Welcome to the California, San Francisco - Bay Area, College Financial Aid Planning Specialists

About Us

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Gerna Benz

  • Senior Partner College Planning Specialists Inc.
  • Owner Bay College Planning, 
  • Senior Partner Pac Rim College Planning
  • Mentored hundreds of students over 10 years in gaining admission to their top choice school
  • Designated Certified College Planning Specialist with the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists
  • Member of the Hawaiian Association of College Admissions Counselor
  • Certified Agent Allianz Financial Services
  • COO of SBC Inc. 1990 to 2004
  • One of the Northern California  Financial Aid Experts for the John’s Hopkins University CTY Program

Gerna graduated Pierce College with a major in marketing and studied finance at the University of Puget Sound. 

Gerna is a licensed agent with Allianz Financial Services and lectures on college planning for the Johns Hopkins University CTY program.   He has worked in College Planning for over 10 years and is the owner of Bay College Planning in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Prior to starting Bay College Planning, Gerna ran his family business for 15 years managing 75 employees and a 4-million-dollar budget.  






Steven K. Robello

  • Steven K. Robello has over 30 years of business experience in local community in a variety of capacities.
  • He graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1977.
  • After graduating from the University of Hawaii-Manoa with a BBA in accounting in 1981, he worked as an Accountant for Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate for several years.
  • Subsequent positions included being a Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial Services, Business Consultant for Hawaii’s Minority Business Development Center and a Superintendent for Matson terminals. Along with several business start-ups since College, Steven coached football and wrestling at Kamehameha High School for almost a decade.


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  • Assist and guide diverse student population with matriculation
  • Facilitate orientations, transfer and probation workshops
  • Develop student education plans that delineates exact requirements to complete in order to achieve student’s goals
  • Identify academic hindrances and offer referrals for additional support and guidance as needed
  • Instruct students on how to navigate the system and streamline their processes
  • Evaluate and verify student’s transcripts from accreditations to course verification
  • Setup specialized long-term counseling for Medical school or Law school bound program students
  • Provide encouragement and motivation for diverse student populations, including those with educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, toward personal success
  • Computer related knowledge includes Colleague, Eureka, O-Net, SARS, Assist, CCC Transfer Counselor websites, Mysers-Briggs inventory, Occupation Outlook handbook, College Source, College Board, and Princeton Resources 

Experience in teaching and facilitating Career Development workshops using measuring instruments such as MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory to undergraduate students.  Conduct presentations about the admissions process, address student concerns such as, but not limited to financial aid policies and procedures, academics, campus involvement, and personal development. 


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Tyler Walicek

  • Professional writer, editor, and proofreader with publishing experience and project management skills
  • Experienced in a wide range of genres and formats, specializing in artistic fields
  • Maintains high standards of content quality and linguistic accuracy
  • Adept at listening, learning, and articulating clearly in diverse roles and situations
  • Independent worker with exceptional social skills

Editor and Writer, freelance (2013-current). Projects include developing a wide range of print and digital content for businesses, professionals, and academics, conducting research and interviews as required. Contributes regularly to The Bay City Beacon (political and cultural journalism, investigative research), The Bay Bridged (music news articles, event reviews and announcements), and Decoder Magazine (music reviews). Editing work includes content editing, line editing, proofreading, and offering constructive feedback. Clients include professionals, students, academics, doctors, and creative writers.