Three recent graduates from financial planning programs have won scholarships that give them a free try for the CFP exam -- as long as they pass it.

New Planner Recruiting, which specializes in recruiting new planners, has awarded its first-ever CFP Exam Scholarship, which will reimburse CFP exam fees for the three honorees once they have passed. The CFP exam fee is $595.

The recruiting firm lauded this year's recipients -- Jamie Engelken, who recently graduated from Kansas State, and Joseph Stallings and Peter Geckeler, alumni of the University of Georgia -- for showing "unmatched passion" for the financial planning profession as well as academic excellence and a commitment to attaining their CFP certification.

Engelken was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Martin Seay, an assistant professor at Kansas State's Institute of Personal Financial Planning. She is currently working at Lighthouse Financial Services in Lenexa, Kan., as a client financial services specialist.

Following the exam, she plans on staying on with the firm while completing her experience requirement -- but "after that, I'm not sure," she says. "That's the beauty of the CFP. I'll have to see what doors open and where it takes me."

Representatives from NAPFA and the FPA joined New Planner Recruiting's founding partner Caleb Brown on the selection committee, according to a statement announcing the results.

"The Financial Planning Association strongly believes the CFP mark is the pinnacle of the planning profession and those who work to attain it are in a position to serve their clients with competency and distinction," FPA chairman Michael Branham said in the statement. "I was honored to participate in the selection process and in seeing where Jamie, Joseph and Peter's careers go from here."

Applications are available online for the 2015 scholarship.

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