About Us

About Us

College Funding Awareness & Service Team (CFAST)


CFAST is a privately-held company located in Bartlett, IL. We started our company so that every family that wants to send their kids off to college, but is not fully-prepared in all aspects of the process, can get all of the help that is available. Your family should not be put in the same mold as all other families, but helped with your individual needs in an organized and effective process. There seemed to be no help for individual families to take a pro-active approach -- until 2004, when CFAST, LLC was started by Rodney Thomas! Families now have an opportunity to work with a group of experts to help them.

Where Do We Start With Planning for College?

It can be an exciting and overwhelming time in a parent's life to begin this journey! We want to help you make educated decisions to help your student succeed.

  • Attend a Complimentary Workshop

    If you are not sure where to start, the first step is to learn more about our workshops. At our seminar, you will get a big picture overview and we'll debunk some common myths to arm you with the right facts.

  • Schedule a Free Initial Review

    We offer a one hour free family consultation to discover your student’s interests and needs, review your current financial situation, estimate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and discuss if CFAST’s services are appropriate for your family.

  • Select Your Level of Service

    We offer different paid service packages, so you can select the level of assistance that is right for your family. Within those packages, we can tailor the services for your family's specific needs. This includes options to help both parents and students.

Learn About Our Workshops

Don't know where to start? In our workshops, we reveal facts to help you to effectively navigate the college planning process

and provide  strategies on how to pay for college in the most cost effective manner.

Meet Your CFAST Team

Headshot of Rodney Thomas of CFAST

Rodney Thomas

Founder & Principal
Rodney Thomas, College Funding Specialist and owner of CFAST, LLC, graduated from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in May, 1991 with a degree in Architecture. He then honed his design and problem solving skills as a design engineer within the manufacturing and plastics industry. While trying to understand the best ways to start saving money for future college costs that his own growing family would be faced with, he soon realized that there was no real help available. Sure, there were financial planners and advisers out there, but it seemed like they all used the same cookie-cutter solutions that involved products where the saved money was at risk. Having always been good with numbers, and possessing a passion to help others, Rodney began to stray from the design engineering field and delve into the college funding world – as a result CFAST was established in 2004. People ask Rodney all the time, “How do you go from Architecture student to Design Engineer, to College Funding Expert?” His answer is quite simple, “In all three cases I was presented with a problem, analyzed it, explored its uniqueness, provided strategic solutions, and then found the best ways to implement them.” This unique approach has helped hundreds of families accomplish goals they feel they could never have achieved on their own. Rodney developed a process that involves detailed analysis of each family’s situation, taking into account their specific wants and needs in order to customize options that will work for their particular situation.
Headshot of Carina Thomas of CFAST

Carina Thomas

General Manager
Carina is our General Manager and Rodney’s wife. Carina, Rodney and their three children reside in Bartlett, Illinois. After being in business for 4 years, Rodney finally convinced Carina to join him at CFAST. Prior to that, Carina was a Forensic Chemist, for 12 years at the DuPage County Crime Laboratory and subsequently at Nartest Technologies. Carina ensures CFAST has all proper processes in place to take care of all of their clients.
Headshot of Kristie Kotowski of CFAST

Kristie Kotowski

Customer Service Rep
Kristie joined the CFAST team in February of 2015 upon returning to the workforce after devoting a few years to raising her two girls and volunteering and working at their school. Kristie, her husband Bill, and their two children live in the local West Suburban area of Chicago. Kristie brings with her experience from previous positions as a billing specialist, office manager, and receptionist at medical offices in the local suburban area.