About the Sanford Center


Financial literacy and planning are critical skills in modern America. The Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness in the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University promotes financial literacy throughout the greater Kalamazoo Community via workshops, seminars, summer camps and research.

Despite the end of the Great Recession, many Americans are still struggling to recover from the burden of debt, and college students have been impacted harder than most. Given their overall lack of financial literacy, it is doubtful whether most students are making smart financial decisions, including financing higher education. It is essential that these students possess the skills and mindset necessary to seek out, critically analyze, synthesize and apply the right knowledge at the right time to effectively manage their financial lives in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing financial landscape. The center will promote the financial fitness of Southwest Michigan communities and in turn increase retention, recruitment and graduation rates for Western Michigan University.

The center will leverage the skills and talents of students, faculty, staff and community members of the greater Kalamazoo area to address the growing concern of financial literacy by:

  • Promoting financial wellness and financial planning throughout the greater Kalamazoo community through workshops, seminars, summer camps and research.
  • Fostering and enhancing the financial literacy of area high school students, college students and southwest Michigan communities.
  • Providing financial coaching to students prior to key financial decisions via a network of experienced practitioners and student interns.
  • Conducting and publishing research related to the impact of financial literacy and planning education initiatives.
  • Stimulating collaboration between financial planning practitioners and departmental faculty.