REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 17, 1997 — Did you know that the average annual cost of attending a four-year college or university today is approximately $19,000 – and that’s just tuition! 1 Over the past decade, college costs have consistently outpaced inflation, and most experts predict that this trend will continue. Paying for college can be a struggle, and many students and parents don’t know how or where to find scholarship money that can supplement these costs. This is apparent from the fact that nearly half (47 percent) of college students surveyed are carrying loans to cover the cost of their education. 2
Microsoft Money 98 Scholarship Contest
But are students geared up for financial and debt management? Recognizing that college costs are continuing to rise and that students can benefit from using personal finance software, Microsoft® Money 98 personal finance management software is working with FastWEB, the largest free Internet scholarship search service, to offer 10 students the chance to win a $2,500 scholarship via the Internet.
The Money 98 Scholarship Contest is a contest of skill in which students who are 18 or older and enrolled full time at an accredited college or university submit an essay of no more than 500 words on the importance of maintaining financial stability during college and how they believe Money 98 Financial Suite can help them make smart financial decisions.
In addition to writing the essay, the students must answer five Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite product-related questions. All online entries must be received by midnight on Dec. 31, 1997; winners will be notified by e-mail as well as regular mail. Additionally, a list of winners will be posted to the Microsoft Money Web site on or about Jan. 31, 1998. To participate, students should start by visiting the Microsoft Money Web site student forum at http://www.microsoft.com/money/fastweb/, download the free trial version of Money 98 Financial Suite (connect-time charges may apply) and follow the contest directions. Once all elements are completed, students can visit the FastWEB Web site (http://www.fastweb.com/) and complete a free scholarship search. Then, they should set up a private mailbox and fill out an electronic personal profile. They will find a list of scholarships to apply for in their FastWEB mailbox, including the Microsoft Money 98 Scholarship Contest application.
Dr. Mark Rothschild, director of scholarship services at FastWEB, said, “The Microsoft Money 98 Scholarship is an extraordinary opportunity for students and a great use of technology between Microsoft Money 98 and FastWEB.”
Adriane Berg is a financial expert, author of 22 books, including the best-seller “Your Wealth Building Years, 18-38,” and a columnist for the Microsoft Money Insider
personal finance online service (http://moneyinsider.MSN.com/) , the that offers up-to-date information on key financial topics, including college planning, home ownership and financial lifestyles. Berg applauds Money 98 for hosting the contest, and commends FastWEB for the thousands of scholarship opportunities offered through its Web site.
“The idea of this scholarship contest is great,” Berg said. “It not only stresses the importance of managing your personal finances while in college, when money is tight, but it uses one of the most popular technology tools, the Internet.”
Tips for Managing Your Money During College
Berg provided three tips for students to help them manage what little money they do have while in college.
Set a monthly budget that includes tuition-related expenses (tuition, room and board, books) and nontuition expenses (travel, transportation, personal, entertainment). By considering all of these potential expenses, students can work with their parents to plan a realistic budget. To determine if it’s working, track it for three months to see if any expenses are over or under the set budget. Make any necessary adjustments, and then stick to it.
Skip the fancy gourmet coffees; brew your own cup from your apartment or dorm. If you can save an average of $1.74 each day, you should have $500 available by the end of the school year that can be put in a mutual fund or be used for a vacation such as spring break.
Many banks now offer debit cards that students can use instead of a credit card to pay for expenses and incidentals. Debit cards are limited by the amount of money held in the account of the bank that issued it, unlike credit cards that can be used continually, accumulating huge balances every month. This is a great way for both students and parents to work together and get off on the right foot by not allowing students to spend more money than they have and teaching them to start managing debt.
Berg pointed out, “College can be a great money-management experience for both students and parents. College may be the first time they are truly on their own and handling money without parental supervision. By using personal finance software, such as Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite, students and parents can plan for and track college expenses as well as create good budgeting habits.”
Great Tools for Managing Your Finances
An independent survey conducted by The Research Department on behalf of Microsoft Money 98 to find out more about college students and their finances found that almost all of the college students surveyed (98 percent) either own or have access to a personal computer, and
89 percent use their personal computer to access the Internet. But even with this high number of technology-savvy students, 70 percent still manage their finances using pen and paper, and
17 percent don’t manage their finances at all.
Money 98 Financial Suite, Microsoft’s latest version of personal financial management software, provides a number of great tools to help manage student loans, set budgets, manage debt and plan for the future. The Budget and Savings Planner helps anticipate expenses and set reasonable spending limits, and assists in setting savings goals. Expenditures can also be organized into categories such as books, student loans, tuition and transportation to help students and parents see where the money is going.
Money 98 Financial Suite’s Goal Planner also helps students and parents plan for college, car loans, vacations and other financial goals. Money Insider offers up-to-date information and articles from leading financial experts such as Berg on topics including planning for college, student aid and buying a car. When used together, the tools in Money 98 Financial Suite and Money Insider can help both parents and students become financially responsible as they research and plan for college and beyond.
Founded in 1995, FastWEB is the largest free scholarship search service on the Internet, serving more than 1 million students and parents. FastWEB features 275,000 financial aid opportunities to more than 35,000 students using the service daily by electronically matching the
content of their financial aid database to the demographic profile of each user. FastWEB is located at (http://www.fastweb.com/) or by calling (800) FASTWEB [327-8932].
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Survey results of 1,600 institutions, according to U.S. News & World Report and “Peterson’s College Money Handbook,” 1997
Survey on college students and their finances conducted by The Research Department Inc. on behalf of Microsoft Money 98
Microsoft and Money Insider are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. If you are interested in viewing additional information on FastWEB, please visit the FastWEB Web page at (http://www.fastweb.com/) .