Today, as the last of the approximately two million graduating high school seniors i confirm their college selection on National Candidate Reply Day, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) launches WellsFargoCommunity.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 programs. ii 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 2010-11. iii 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.