Microsoft Helps Bridge Financial Literacy Gap With Academic Donations

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 5, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a series of programs designed to help students nationwide become more financially literate. According to a study1 of 1,500 seniors in 65 high schools across the United States, nearly nine out of 10 students flunked a test about basic money management, indicating the growing need for financial education. Currently only four states require high school students to take a course covering personal finance to graduate.2

Through school donations and special academic licensing programs of its award-winning personal finance software, Microsoft®
Money, Microsoft is helping to promote financial learning. A recent donation to the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) will make Microsoft Money available to high schools nationwide in an effort to educate youth on basic money matters, including balancing a checkbook, tracking spending and paying bills.

“As school districts face continued budget constraints, personal finance education classes often are eliminated, leaving students unprepared for the responsibilities that come with maintaining a checking account or owning a credit card,” said Kari Arfstrom, associate director of AESA. “Through this donation, Microsoft and AESA are giving educational service agencies the opportunity to help students gain the knowledge they will need to successfully manage their day-to-day finances and achieve their future financial goals.”

To help students become more financially literate, Microsoft has announced the following:

  • A donation of 45,000 copies of Microsoft Money 2003 to AESA will make the software available to school districts nationwide, giving students the tools to learn basic money management skills.

  • In October, Microsoft kicks off an academic licensing program for Money 2004, enabling academic institutions to license the software at a significant discount.

  • In an effort to educate college students on smart use of credit cards, Microsoft has teamed with the Center for Student Credit Card Education to provide select colleges with credit card literacy material along with 10,000 free trial copies of Money 2004.

“The combination of rising consumer debt and less school curricula dedicated to basic money skills makes it more important than ever to arm children with the knowledge they need to build a sound financial future,” said Chris Jolley, director of product management for the Financial Products Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to helping educate kids on the fundamentals of managing money, and these academic programs signify an important first step in bridging the financial literacy gap.”

About the Microsoft Home Products Division

The Microsoft Home Products Division is a leading publisher of home software for the PC. Celebrating Microsoft’s 20 years of delivering products that make life work better, the Microsoft Home Products Division brings consumers Microsoft Encarta® Reference Library 2003, from the industry’s best-selling3 encyclopedia brand; Microsoft Picture It!® Digital Image Pro version 7.0, which combines advanced photograph editing features with unparalleled ease of use; personal finance management made easy with Microsoft Money; and the latest version of the best-selling4 personal home productivity software Microsoft Works Suite 2003, which offers six of the latest essential home software titles in one package for tremendous value. Used with the MSN®
network of Internet services, these products have a unique depth and mobility that allow users to take their PC experience even further.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

1 Source: JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, Spring 2002
2 According to a survey in 2003 by the nonprofit National Council on Economic Education
3 Source: The NPD Group/NPD Techworld, March 1993 to August 2003. Based on total U.S. retail sales.
4 Source: The NPD Group/NPD Techworld, October 1998 to August 2003. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

Microsoft, Encarta, Picture It! and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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