WWU Launches the Merriman Financial Literacy Program

Alumnus and nationally recognized author, Paul Merriman, inspires a program offering free financial literacy courses and financial literacy peer mentorship for all WWU students
WWU alumnus and renowned financial educator Paul Merriman ('66) donated $3.5 million to found the Merriman Financial Literacy Program.

Bellingham, WA — Western Washington University takes an important step towards fostering financial literacy for its students as it launches the Merriman Financial Literacy Program. The Program supports existing financial literacy courses, and today adds university-wide, free access to iGrad, an award-winning financial literacy online learning platform. A peer mentor program is also set to launch next quarter, further supporting the goals of this initiative designed to equip all WWU students with essential financial skills. 

Founded through a generous commitment from alumnus and financial educator Paul Merriman ('66) and his wife Zan Merriman, the Merriman Financial Literacy Program’s mission is to empower its audiences with the knowledge and tools to make sound decisions regarding their short- and long-term financial goals in a way that supports their overall well-being. Free learning opportunities and free peer coaching support this mission. 

This initiative stems from Paul Merriman's vision of ensuring every Western student graduates with a solid understanding of financial decision-making, contributing to their long-term success. 

“For ten years I have hoped there would be a time when every Western student would graduate with a solid background in the basics of financial decision making. I’m thrilled to see my wish will come true,” said Merriman. 

Eric Wehrly, the Director of the new program, applauds Paul’s focus on increasing success for Western’s students, and added, “The adage that knowledge is power holds generally, but is especially true concerning money matters. A few better-informed decisions this year can compound over time into improved opportunities and even fantastic results in future years.” 


A key offering of the Merriman Financial Literacy Program is the iGrad platform, which provides a comprehensive suite of courses and resources. These materials impart practical insights into financial management in an engaging and useful way, empowering students to make informed decisions about their finances. To access iGrad, all Western students, staff, and faculty can navigate to the Program’s website

“After collaborating with our partners across the Western campus to evaluate online platforms, we chose iGrad, and then conducted a pilot program using the platform in selected courses last quarter. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive, so we are now extending access to the entire Western community,” said Wehrly, MFLP Program Director. Wehrly adds, “Everyone who signs up for iGrad while at Western retains that access for the rest of their lives, so the resource is there whenever they need it.” 

Financial Literacy Peer Mentorship 

The Merriman Financial Literacy Program began work last quarter, and is rolling out new opportunities in 2024, like a peer coaching and mentoring program. The Financial Literacy Peer Mentor program goes beyond conventional education by offering personalized, student-to-student peer mentoring on financial literacy. 

Beginning in the Spring quarter, the mentorship program will create a dynamic learning environment where experienced mentors guide fellow students on their financial journey, in both individual sessions and campus workshops. This mentorship program provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in one-on-one interactions, receiving tailored advice and support based on shared experiences. 

More to come! 

Workshops, seminars, speaking events, and continuing education are just a few more activities in the works at the MFLP – stay tuned! 

Media Contacts 

Jonathan Higgins 
Director of WWU Communications 
Email: jonathan.higgins@wwu.edu 

Eric Wehrly 
Director of the Merriman Financial Literacy Program 
Email: wehrlye@wwu.edu