Wells Fargo launches WellsFargoCommunity.com, its new online resource for planning for a college education

Online community connects students, parents, financial aid officers, recent grads to answer questions about college planning

SAN FRANCISCO - May 1, 2012

Today, as the last of the approximately two million graduating high school seniors¹ confirm their college selection on National Candidate Reply Day, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) launches Wells Fargo Community.com, its free online community of students, parents, guidance counselors, and financial advisors that is devoted to an open dialogue about college planning topics, such as when to begin planning, how to select a major, how to finance an education, and housing.

“Wells Fargo strives to be a leader in every community we serve,” said Kirk Bare, head of Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. “Students and parents have a number of questions when it comes to college planning, so we’re facilitating the sharing of knowledge, advice and experiences through the Wells Fargo Community.”

“The Wells Fargo Community serves a great need for those looking to plan and pay for college,” said Paul Curley, director of college savings research at Financial Research Corporation, a market research company that focuses on the investment and asset management industry. “There are a number of savings, loan, scholarship and grant options available to pay for school, which can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. What better way to find the right information than asking someone who has experience with the college planning process?”

Developing a plan to pay for college education has become increasingly important to a large portion of the U.S. population. As of fall 2012, over 20 million students were enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs². During the past ten years, fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities increased an average rate of 5.6% per year above the general inflation rate. In 2011-12, average total charges for in-state tuition at a four-year public university, including tuition, fees and room and board, are $17,131, up 6.0% from 2010-11³ . The Wells Fargo Community site provides helpful links to the bank’s Student Center for resources that can help prospective students finance their higher education.

In addition to providing helpful information on college financing options, community members engage with each other and knowledgeable Wells Fargo representatives in a wide variety of college planning discussions including choosing a college, student and parent impressions of campus visits, and how parents with young children can begin to save for college.

“Wells Fargo is inviting everyone involved in the college planning process to join the community,” said Kimarie Matthews, VP of Social Web for Wells Fargo. “As a result, members won’t get just one answer to their questions from a single point of view. They’ll get a variety of answers and insights from different people.” For more information and to join the community, please visit wellsfargocommunity.com.

About Education Financial Services
Wells Fargo Education Financial Services serves more than 1.9 million student and family customers in all 50 states and has been in the student lending business for 44 years helping customers make smart borrowing decisions to finance education. Education Financial Services provides customers with financial tips and tools to keep their finances on track while in school and prepares them financially for when they finish college. Wells Fargo markets its education products to colleges and universities, directly to consumers and through Wells Fargo Bank. As part of the organization’s commitment to education, during 2011 Wells Fargo’s community contributions included $68 million to 8,000 educational programs and schools across the U.S.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

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Andrea Mahoney