Edinboro personal financial planning students advance to finals of national competition


2019 PFP

Photo: The Edinboro University Personal Financial Planning team consisting of Gabriel Veliz, Jonathan Frawley and Derrick Goodenow advanced to the final phases of the 2019 competition.


A team of Edinboro University students in the School of Business advanced to the next stages of the national Financial Planning Challenge – a three-phased competition designed exclusively for undergraduate programs registered with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board.

Edinboro students Amber Hepler, Sidney Smith and Zachery Jaggi are now among the top student Financial Planning teams in the country and advance to the final phases this fall.

“Edinboro University’s advancement to the final phases of the Financial Planning Challenge for the second time in three years affirms that its undergraduate Personal Financial Planning programs are among the top in the nation,” said Dr. Mike Engdahl, who leads the Personal Financial Planning program at Edinboro with Dr. Shaun Pfeiffer. “We have many intelligent and hardworking Personal Financial Planning students at Edinboro.”

In the preliminary stage of the competition held in May, students received a profile of two hypothetical clients. With this information, teams of up to three students then prepared a comprehensive financial plan to present to judges – who assess the submissions based on financial planning curriculum requirements.

Edinboro University students advanced to Phase 2 of the competition along with Kansas State University, Texas Tech University, Illinois State University, Fort Hays State University, University of Arizona, Purdue University and Western Kentucky University.

The final two phases of the Financial Planning Challenge are scheduled for September 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. 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.

At the finals this fall, students will compete for the first-place prize of a $10,000 scholarship for their school, one hour of career coaching from Caleb Brown at New Planner Recruiting and a full scholarship to the Financial Planning Association’s acclaimed residency program.

The second-place team will earn a $5,000 scholarship for their school, and third place will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Additionally, all teams that advance to Phase 2 will receive 60 hours toward their Experience Requirement of CFP certification (6,000 hours required for licensure).

All participating students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program registered with CFP Board as of May 1 or the spring semester. Students are prohibited from seeking advice from professionals or from persons not participating in the challenge.

This is the second time in the past three years that Edinboro University has advanced to the final phases of the Financial Planning Challenge. In 2019, an Edinboro team consisting of Derrick Goodenow, Jonathan Frawley, and Gabriel Veliz advanced to the final phases of the competition in Minneapolis.

Goodenow is now a financial planner at Radnor Financial Advisors, LLC, in Wayne, Pa., while Frawley is a retirement plan associate with HBKS Wealth Advisors and Veliz is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, both in Erie, Pa.

“The students have done exceptionally well,” said Dr. Scott Miller, dean of Edinboro’s School of Business. “However, Dr. Engdahl, Dr. Pfeiffer – as well as the entire School of Business faculty – have done a great job preparing our students.”

In Edinboro’s Personal Financial Planning program, students are prepared to help individuals make educated financial decisions on a wide range of topics, from mortgages and insurance to college and estate planning, taxes and retirement.

Edinboro students can become an IRS-certified tax preparer and provide a service to the community by volunteering to help low-income residents prepare their income taxes through the Erie FREE Taxes program.

Upon completion of the Personal Financial Planning program, graduates are prepared to study for the CFP exam and find employment in personal financial planning firms, banks, insurance companies and other commercial enterprises.