New England College of Finance Offers Online Degree Program to the Financial Services Industry

April 16, 2002

New England College of Finance

(NECF), a not-for-profit educational organization serving all segments

of the financial services industry, today announced it is offering a

first-of-its-kind online accredited degree program for employees of

its Member and Partner companies. These include some of the most

prominent firms in the industry including Fleet, State Street,

Fidelity, and Liberty Mutual.

Powered by eCollegeSM [Nasdaq: ECLG], the leading provider of

technology and services for online higher education programs, NECF

Online will enable NECF to achieve its global service plans, while

allowing financial professionals to attend its programs at any time,

from anywhere.

"The financial services industry is becoming increasingly complex, time-sensitive

and global", said Robert Regan, president of NECF. "Many of our participating

companies have large distributed workforces where time and distance are major

barriers to access. Using asynchronous technology, NECF Online will allow our

students to overcome these barriers and attend class regardless of location,

transportation constraints, or other personal circumstances. This is an extremely

important initiative for our industry." Regan added, "eCollege has

developed and delivered many of the most successful online programs in the country,

and we are pleased to work with them in this critical extension of our capabilities."

NECF has also formed innovative partnerships with leading colleges and universities

in the area, and all online credits will transfer into baccalaureate programs

at Boston University, Providence College, University of Hartford, Bentley College,

Assumption College, Sacred Heart University, Northeastern University, and the

University System of New Hampshire. NECF is also exploring opportunities to

form online partnerships at the graduate level. "NECF is a great example

of companies coming together to create an avenue for professional development

and career advancement in their industry," said Oakleigh Thorne, chairman

and CEO of eCollege. "Its programmatic approach of offering online courses

relevant to their students’ current and prospective career paths will not only

help students advance professionally, but will also give them experience with

today’s leading technology applications."

For registration information, please visit,

or contact NECF eLearning Program Manager Robyn Barry at (617) 951-2350 or


About New England College of Finance

NECF is a not-for-profit educational organization serving all segments of the

financial services industry throughout the region. Founded in Boston in 1909

as a banking institute, NECF achieved national prominence in the late seventies

and early eighties when it became recognized as an accredited, degree-granting

college – the only organization of its kind in America ever to achieve full

collegiate status. In recent years, NECF broadened its markets and products

to include all financial service companies, and now represents more than 500

Member and Partner companies in the banking, insurance, and mutual fund arenas.

NECF is also a recent recipient of a prestigious eLearning grant from the Alfred

P. Sloan Foundation, and has been selected by Sloan to represent the financial

services industry on its Asynchronous Learning Network, a national consortium

of colleges and universities utilizing any time, anywhere technology for workforce

development training.

About eCollege

eCollege [Nasdaq: ECLG] is the leading eLearning technology and services provider

to educational markets. eCollege designs, builds and supports high quality online

degree, certificate/diploma and professional development programs for colleges,

universities, school districts and state departments of education. eCollege’s

clients include such institutions as National University; University of Massachusetts

Amherst; University of Colorado; Drexel University; DeVry University, Inc.;

New England College of Finance; and the Kentucky Virtual High School. The company

was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Denver. For more information, visit This news release contains

"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the securities

laws. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are

subject to a number of uncertainties and risks.

Actual results may differ materially. Important factors that could cause actual

results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in the

forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our customers’ ability

to achieve successful online programs; our network infrastructure and computer

systems failing; substantial and increasing competition in the online education

market; and such other factors as are discussed in our most recent Form 10-K

Annual Report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"),

which you are encouraged to review in connection with this release. We believe

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