Wells Fargo Advisors Gives 59 St. Louis Families a Head Start on College Savings

Firm awards more than $50,000 in scholarships and grants as part of 529 College Planning and Savings Program

St. Louis, May 13, 2015 - Wells Fargo Advisors today announced it has awarded more than $50,000 in grants and scholarships to 59 St. Louis families, three local schools and United Way of Greater St. Louis through the firm’s 529 College Planning and Savings Program.

The gifts, awarded during a May 12 event joined by officials from St. Louis city, United Way and Washington University, mark a milestone in the firm’s 529 Program, introduced at three local charter and private schools in fall 2014 to provide financial education and resources for families interested in budgeting, saving and planning for college.

"The road to economic opportunity and strong communities starts with a college education," said Vanessa Cooksey, senior vice president, community affairs, for Wells Fargo Advisors. "While many parents want to help their children pursue higher education, the steps for getting there aren’t always obvious. Leveraging its financial expertise and nonprofit relationships, Wells Fargo Advisors can connect families to the knowledge and resources they need to follow their financial goals."

As part of its 529 Program, Wells Fargo Advisors pledged dollar-for-dollar matches up to $250 for families who qualified and contributed to Missouri’s MOST 529 college savings plans. In total, 59 families participated in the program, saving nearly $10,000 combined.

In addition to granting these families more than $10,000, the firm awarded four $529 scholarships to four photo and essay contest winners and one grand prize $5,290 scholarship. The local United Way, Loyola Academy, City Garden and City Academy also received operational grants for participating in the program.

"When we consider the pathways to changing the trajectory of a generation in our region, access to a college education remains a leading way we can help put youth on a route to personal and professional success," said Orvin Kimbrough, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. "United Way is proud to work with one of our most generous corporate partners, Wells Fargo Advisors, to help St. Louis youth and families prepare for their futures and attain their dreams."

In 2014, the average cost for in-state college tuition and fees was $9,139 – a nearly 3 percent increase from the year prior, according to the College Board.

Children with 529 college savings accounts that allow their families to set aside funds for future educational expenses are nearly seven times more likely to attend college than children without, a study found from the Center for Social Development at Washington University Brown School of Social Work.

The Brown School's Center for Social Development shared their expertise on child savings and United Way provided program management. Participants also experienced Wells Fargo's Hands on Banking financial education course materials and resources. In addition, families received financial coaching from Beyond Housing.

In 2015, Cooksey said, the 529 Program will expand to up to two additional schools, while working with Wells Fargo's Hands on Banking to bring financial education services to schools citywide.

About Wells Fargo Advisors

With $1.4 trillion in client assets as of March 31, 2015, Wells Fargo Advisors provides investment advice and guidance to clients through 15,134 full-service financial advisors and 3,912 licensed bankers. This vast network of advisors, one of the nation’s largest, serves investors through locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by two separate registered broker-dealers and non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (members SIPC). Statistics include other broker-dealers of Wells Fargo & Company. www.wellsfargoadvisors.com

Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors, L.L.C.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 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 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune's 2014 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.