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College of Human Ecology

Four-Time Champion

Thursday, May 4, 2006

MANHATTAN -- For the fourth time in seven years, Kansas State University's financial planning team has won the Ameriprise Planning Invitational.

The competition, formerly called the American Express Planning Invitational, was April 19-22 in Minneapolis, Minn. This is the seventh year that a K-State team has participated in the competition finals. K-State also won the national title in 2005, 2003 and 2000.

Team members, all seniors in family studies and human services with an emphasis on personal financial planning, are: Julie Fletcher, Lenexa; Audrea Youngers, Viola; and Jamie Mager, Lincoln, Neb.

"The K-State Financial Planning team has once again proven that K-State's personal financial planning program is one of the top such programs in the country," said Bill Meredith, director of K-State's School of Family Studies and Human Services. "Four national championships in seven years...it doesn't get much better than that."

Between 30 to 40 schools began the competition, but were narrowed to eight for the finals, said John Grable, associate professor of family studies and human services.

The K-State students wrote a financial plan during February without professional software or assistance from faculty or professionals. Once the plan was completed, it was sent to Minneapolis to be judged. K-State's plan was one of the eight chosen for the final competition.

Once the K-State team reached the final competition in Minneapolis, students were given a twist on their case's scenario and had to redo a portion of the plan in one evening. The revised plan was presented the next day to a panel of judges. Team members were judged on their revised case analysis and presentation skills. Competitors also participated in a "Jeopardy" game where their knowledge of personal financial planning was tested. The K-State team received third place in the game portion of the competition.

With the win, the K-State's personal financial planning program will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Over the years, Grable said judges have remarked to him on how K-State students appear to have a strong work ethic and commitment to serving the needs of others.

"It says a lot about the university and a lot about the individual students," he said. "We hope it also reflects well on the personal financial planning program and helps students prepare for their professional career."

This article was posted on Thursday, May 4, 2006, and is filed under Family Studies & Human Services.