​​​​Important Announcement Regarding COVID-19 "Coronavirus" and the 2020 Financial Planning Challenge

The FPA Annual Conference and Financial Planning Challenge continue to move forward. We do not currently have plans to postpone or cancel the conference. Please know that the Financial Planning Association’s first priority is the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved with the FPA Annual Conference. We are monitoring the situation closely and will follow the advice of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Should the situation change, we will issue periodic updates as necessary. ​ ​We would encourage student teams to continue to work on the case remotely. In an effort to help students pivot and acclimate to our current situation, the phase 1 case submission deadline has been extended to May 29​. Please see the updated competition timeline below.​

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 Ca​se 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.

In recognition for the hours of research, application and presentation preparation, CFP Board will provide each team member hours toward the Experience requirement leading to certification. Students participating in phase 1 will be awarded 20 hours.

 ​​2020 Competition Timeline

May 29 – Phase 1 Case Submission and Registration Deadline

July 29 – Top 8 Student Teams Announced

July 31 – Academic Advisor Conference Call

September 29 – Participant Orientation

September 30 – Phase 2: Financial Planning Case Study Presentations

October 1 – Phase 3: "How Do You Know?" Challenge

September 30-October 2 – Students Participate in FPA Annual Conference Networking and Learning Opportunities

2020 Competition Materials

Financial Planning Challenge Guidelines​

Registration Form

Phase 1 Grading Rubric

Phase 2: Presentation Grading Rubric   

2020 Financial Planning Case Study 


Teams may consist of up to thre​​e 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 or spring semester.
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.
Additional details can be found in the Financial Planning Challenge Guidelines.


The top eight (8) student teams based on their Phase 1 score. These teams will advance to the final phases of the competition held in conjunction with FPA Annual Conference. Teams will be provided roundtrip airfare/transportation, lodging, $75 gift card, complimentary FPA Annual Conference registration, 1 year of FPA membership plus 60 hours toward the Experience requirement leading to certification.

In addition, the top three (3) teams will be awarded the following:

1st Place Overall: $10,000 scholarship for their school, one hour of Career Coaching from Caleb Brown at New Planner Recruiting and full scholarship to FPA's highly acclaimed Residency Program.
2nd Place Overall: $5,000 scholarship for their school
3rd Place Overall: $1,000 scholarship for their school


Thank you to the following individuals who helped create the 2020 case study: Adrienne Anthony, Jennifer Cook, CFP®, Matt Fizell, CFP®,​ Dimitrian Jimenez, Laura Maxfield, CFP®, Hannah Moore, CFP®​ and Ariel Webb, CFP®​


Previous Finalists and Case Studies

2019 Financial Planning Challenge

Finalists: First Place - Utah Valley University; Second Place - Kansas State University; Third Place - Texas Tech University

2019 Case Study

2018 Financial Planning Challenge

Finalists: First Place - Texas Tech University; Second Place - Utah Valley University; Third Place - Kansas State University

2018 Case Study​ 

2017 Financial Planning Challenge

Finalists: First Place - Utah Valley University; Second Place - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Third Place - Texas A&M University
2017 Case Study​ 

2016 Financial Planning Challenge

Finalists: First Place - William Paterson University; Second Place - The University of Akron; Third Place: Kansas State University
2016 Case Study​

2015 Financial Planning Challenge

Finalists: First Place - Kansas State University; Second Place - The 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 - The University of Akron; Second Place - Utah Valley University; Third Place: William Paterson University
2014 Financial Planning Case Study​