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​​​​The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), Ameriprise Financial and CFP Board are pleased to host the Financial Planning Challenge.  






This distinctive competition is designed exclusively for undergraduate degree programs registered with CFP Board. In this challenge, teams compete to advance through three phases:

          1. Written Financial Planning Case Study
          2. Financial Planning Case Study Presentation
          3. "How Do You Know?" Challenge

In the first phase of the competition all student teams will be given profiles for two hypothetical clients and must prepare a comprehensive financial plan. After the first phase is judged and awarded, the top eight teams will advance to the next phases of the competition to be held in in the fall. All teams must orally present their case studies to a panel of judges and participate in the "How Do You Know?" Challenge. The top three winning teams will be awarded a monetary scholarship for their school.​ Judges will be selected by each presenting organization and will assess student teams on demonstrating the CFP Board Financial Plan Development Course requirement.


Congratulations to the 2017 Top Eight Teams:

The University of Akron; California State University, Northridge; University of Georgia; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Texas A&M University; Texas Tech University; Utah Valley University; Winthrop University

2017 Competition Timeline

May 26 – Phase 1 Case Submission Deadline

July 28 – Top 8 Student Teams Announced

August 15 – Academic Advisor Conference Call

October 1 – Onsite Orientation

October 2 – Phase 2: Financial Planning Case Study Oral Presentations

October 3  – Phase 3: "How Do You Know?" Challenge

October 2-4 – Students Participate in Annual Conference Networking and Learning Opportunities

*Important Note: There will not be a formal registration process for teams this year; please submit your case study as outlined in the guidelines by the May 26 deadline.


2017 Competition Materials

2017 Financial Planning Challenge Guidelines

Phase 1: Written Financial Planning Case Study​

Phase 1: Case Grading Rubric​​ 

Phase 2: Presentation Grading Rubric   



  • ​Teams may consist of up to three undergraduate students. Students may not participate in more than one team.

  • All participating students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program registered with CFP Board as of May 1.

  • Students considered graduate students by their school may not participate.

  • Each team must be represented by an Academic Advisor throughout the competition.

  • Students are prohibited from seeking advice from professionals or from persons not participating in the challenge.

  • Limit one team per school.


    • 1st place team overall:  $10,000 scholarship for their school, plus one hour of Career Coaching from Caleb Brown at New Planner Recruiting. In addition, the members of the winning team will receive a full scholarship to FPA's highly acclaimed Residency Program.

    • 2nd place team overall:  $5,000 scholarship for their school

    • 3rd place team overall:  $1,000 scholarship for their school


Congratulations to the 2016 Winners:

​First Place

​Second Place

​Third Place

​William Paterson University

​University of Akron

​Kansas State University

Matthew Callander, Stephanie Spies, Eric Vartanian

Tao Guo, Ph.D., Academic Advisor

Case Study Submission 

Adrianna Demjanjuk, Joseph Johnson, Benjamin Schwarz

Suzanne Gradisher, JD, MBA, MTax, Academic Advisor

Case Study Submission 

​Lindsay Adams, Nolan Keim, Stephen Phillips

L. Ann Coulson, Ph.D., CFP®, Academic Advisor

Case Study Submission

Congratulations to all 2016 Competing Teams:

California State University Northridge; Kansas State University; Ohio State University; Texas Tech University; University of Akron; University of Georgia; Utah Valley University; William Paterson University​

2016 Case Study​

Thank You 2016 Judges:

Kim Selby, CFP®; Lisa M. Pender, CFP®, ChFC®, RP®; Matt Jorgensen, CFP®; David Bresler, CFP®, CRPC®; Andrew Head, CFP®; Tom C. Nelson, PhD, CFP®



 2015 Financial Planning Challenge Finalists:

​First Place:

​Kansas State University

​Second Place:

​University of Akron

​Third Place: ​Utah Valley University

2015 Case Study
Watch the 2015 Phase 2 Case Study Presentations


2014 Financial Planning Challenge Finalists:

First Place: University of Akron

​Second Place: Utah Valley University

​Third Place: William Paterson University

2014 Financial Planning Case Study​