Microsoft and Servus Financial Distribute Over $55 Million In IT Career Loans

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 28, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program has distributed more than $55 million in loans in under seven months. Launched in February 1998, the Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program is designed to assist people seeking training and resources to begin careers in the information technology (IT) industry. The program is part of the overall Microsoft® Skills 2000 initiative aimed at addressing the IT work force shortage. The more than $55 million in loans, disbursed by Servus Financial Corp., is being used by students to finance technical training at Microsoft Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATECs) and at Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program (AATP) institutions, as well as to purchase course materials and computers.

“The Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program has helped our business tremendously,”
said Joan Novino of Micro Endeavors, an ATEC located in Upper Darby, Pa.
“Over 70 percent of the individuals going through our career transformation training program are using the loans to pay for their education. Not only is Microsoft helping to close the skills gap, but it is driving business to its ATECs at the same time.”

“The overwhelming response to the loan offering is absolutely amazing; we knew there was a need, but never expected it to be this great,”
said Nancy Lewis, general manager of worldwide training and certification at Microsoft.
“By breaking down a barrier to entry, we are helping people to get trained and certified, and taking a step closer to our ultimate Skills 2000 goal – to fuel the industry with skilled IT professionals.”

The low-interest-rate*, competitive Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program is designed to be flexible and easy to use. Students can apply for loans to finance Microsoft technical training expenses including course tuition, living expenses and computer equipment. Loans are also available to refinance existing education debt associated with Microsoft technical education.

Blair Jennings, a molecular biologist for over 10 years, was interested in making a career switch to IT, but wasn’t sure if he had the financial resources to cover the cost of IT training. After looking on the Microsoft Skills 2000 Web site, he saw that the career loan made IT training feasible. Jennings is currently using the Skills 2000 IT Career Loan to pay for his Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certification training courses at Vortex Data Systems, an ATEC in San Diego, and hopes to eventually use his background in biology to develop scientific software.

Skills 2000 IT Career Loans are available in the United States to students who meet loan requirements and are enrolled in Microsoft technical training courses at Microsoft ATECs and AATP institutions. Microsoft projects that more than 600,000 students will be trained in the United States during the 1998 calendar year, with many students paying for their own technical training (rather than receiving employer funding). According to a report by Gartner Group, in 1998, 49 percent of students funded their own technical training, up 19 percent since 1994.

Available Skills 2000 IT Career Loans include the following:

  • The Technical Training Tuition Loan finances the cost of Microsoft technical training courses including tuition, fees and associated course materials.

  • The Consolidation Loan consolidates previous education, current cost of living, and current technical education and training expenses.

  • The Computer Loan provides for the purchase of computers and peripherals.

Microsoft Authorized Technical Education Centers are independent technical training companies that provide students with a variety of training options including instructor-led, online and self-study. There are currently 900 ATECs in North America and 1,900 worldwide.

Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program institutions are approved high schools, vocational schools, community colleges and four-year colleges that receive tools and resources from Microsoft to facilitate the delivery of courseware that prepares students for certification on Microsoft technology. There are more than 1,000 AATP institutions in North America.

Technical training at ATECs and AATP locations prepares students to become Microsoft Certified Professionals. Students achieve certification by passing one or more performance-based exams that measure the ability to apply skills and knowledge to real-world problems. The Microsoft Certified Professional program was introduced in 1992, and more than 275,000 people are currently certified.

More Information

For information or to apply for a Microsoft Skills 2000 IT Career Loan, potential students can call Servus Financial Corp. at (888) 895-5626 (LOAN) or access the loan application online at . For a directory of independent training providers, they can view the Microsoft Training and Certification Web site at .

The Microsoft Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program is a private, credit-based loan program financed and administered by Servus Financial Corp. Servus Financial, incorporated in

1993, has headquarters in Herndon, Va., and regional sales offices in 13 states across the country. Servus is a leading provider of private credit education loans.

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.

*Rates subject to change. The IT Career Loan Program is a private, credit-based loan program financed and administered by Servus Financial Corp. Microsoft is not participating as a lender or creditor in this program.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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