Microsoft and Key Bank Help Pave the Way to High-Tech Training Through Information Technology Career Loan

REDMOND, Wash., March 16, 1999 — Microsoft Corp., in conjunction with

Cleveland-based Key Education Resources, a Key Bank U.S.A. National Association line of business, today announced the availability of an information technology (IT) training loan to help people gain the skills necessary to obtain high-tech jobs. The Microsoft/Key IT Career Loan is a competitive loan program that responds to the tremendous demand for IT technical training funding. Last year, Microsoft rolled out the “Microsoft® Skills 2000 IT Career Loan” through a Virginia-based financial associate. Within one year, more than $110 million in loans was disbursed, with 75 percent going to people new to the IT industry.

The relationship with Key is one part of the Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative, which guides new entrants into the IT industry.

“The demand for financial assistance for Microsoft technical training has been astonishing,” said Nancy Lewis, general manager of worldwide training and certification at Microsoft. “Through the Skills 2000 initiative, we work to provide as many tools and resources as possible to reach out to people of varying backgrounds interested in high-tech careers. Working with Key enables us to provide an additional financial option to help people fund their technical training and computer needs.”

The Microsoft/Key IT Career Loan is financed and administered by Key, one of the nation’s largest financial services companies. Applicants can apply and access funding for training at Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers (Microsoft CTECs) and Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program (AATP) institutions. Those wanting information on Microsoft technical training should visit & SubSite=itcr , which includes online loan information and applications.

Currently working as a network administrator for the Rockville, Md.-based Digicon Corp., Cheryl Richardson borrowed money to finance her training in preparation for the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) exam.

“Changing jobs and starting a new career in high tech was an important decision for me,” said Richardson, currently working to become an MCSE. “The loan program offered through Microsoft Skills 2000 helped alleviate my concerns about financing classroom training.”

“Key is committed to helping all types of students make higher education a reality,” said Randy Behm, senior vice president of Key Education Resources. “We are pleased to be able to expand our product offering to help students achieve their career goals through Microsoft technical training.”

Loans are available in the United States to students who meet loan requirements and are enrolled in Microsoft technical training courses at Microsoft CTECs and AATP institutions. Microsoft plans to train more than 2 million students through Microsoft CTEC and AATP institutions in the United States by the end of 1999.

Students can use loan funding for Microsoft technical training-related expenses, including course tuition, living expenses and computer equipment costs. The Microsoft/Key IT Career Loan currently has an interest rate of 9.25 percent*, which is based on the 13-week Treasury Bill rate plus 4.75 percent.

Those wanting information or to apply for the Microsoft/Key IT Career Loan should call Key at (800) 828-3509 and choose option two or access the loan application online at & SubSite=itcrkeybank/ . For a directory of independent training providers, they can visit the Microsoft Training and Certification Web site at .

Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers are independent technical training companies that provide students with a variety of training options in preparation for Microsoft certification, including instructor-led, online and self-study.

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 delivery of courseware that prepares students for certification on Microsoft technology.

The Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative, launched in May 1997, aims to significantly address the IT work-force shortage by reaching out to people interested in developing technical careers. Previous initiatives have targeted low-income individuals ages 55 and older and high-school students. More information on the program may be obtained on the Web at & SubSite=itcr .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

* Sample repayment

For a $7,500 annual loan amount, the monthly repayment would be $79.83 for 180 months. The assumed interest rate is 9.25 percent; the rate in effect is for March, April and May 1999. The rate varies quarterly and is set to the 13-week U.S. Treasury Bill rate, plus 4.75 percent rounded to the nearest .25 percent. A fee equal to 5 percent of the amount advanced will be added to the loan amount. The APR is 10.125 percent. The minimum monthly payment must be at least $50. These are variable loan rates. The APR may increase or decrease during the loan term. The sample payment assumes the loan payments are made to the school in August and December. The Microsoft/Key IT Career Loan is solely administered and financed by Key Bank U.S.A., N.A.

Microsoft is a registered 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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