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Blackboard Introduces Flexible Financial Aid Disbursement for Higher Education

With Discover and First Data, Blackboard Pay Program Cuts Costs, Lowers Fees
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced the launch of Blackboard Pay(TM), an open-loop prepaid card program that lets educational institutions simplify the disbursement of financial aid credit balances - as well as student payroll - while cutting costs for institutions and lowering student fees.

Blackboard Pay provides students and staff immediate access to their funds while eliminating the need to wait for paper check disbursements. And compared to existing financial aid disbursement products, Blackboard Pay protects students by eliminating overdraft exposure, related fees and PIN debit fees, while lowering fees for checks and card replacements.

"Given the high fees normally associated with other payment card products, we think students and institutions will benefit from a card-based disbursement program that is rich with features," said David Marr, President of Blackboard Transact. "Together with our partners Discover and First Data, we're proud to be able to meet the diverse needs of students with an emphasis on value and financial responsibility."

Students at institutions that participate in Blackboard Pay can use the prepaid card to make purchases at millions of debit acceptance locations. Additionally, cardholders will be able to withdraw cash at millions of merchants and ATMs around the world that bear the Pulse, Allpoint or STAR Network logos, among others. Cardholders will also have access to courtesy checks that can be used to pay bills just like any other check.

In addition, an institution can combine Blackboard Pay with Blackboard's contactless FeliCa card technology to greatly enhance security of student data, while delivering all capabilities on a single campus card.

The Discover(R) Network provides the vast and robust network across which Blackboard Pay transactions will travel. The breadth and reliability of the Discover network allows students to use their card anywhere the Discover Card is accepted across the globe.

"Discover Network's relationship with Blackboard Pay provides colleges and universities with an innovative, multipurpose cash-management tool that offers benefits to both schools and students alike," said Farhan Ahmad, General Manager, Prepaid & Director of Emerging Payments at Discover. "With this program, schools and students will experience the utility and flexibility of the Discover Network through one-card functionality, speedier processing of financial aid and scholarships, and easy access to funds that are conveniently loaded onto one card."

First Data will provide the program management and transaction processing for the program as part of its Money Network program. Funds in the Money Network program are held in FDIC insured accounts to ensure that clients can meet their Title IV obligations.

"First Data is excited to be working with Blackboard on this program," said Michael Trent, General Manager of First Data's Government and Education group. "First Data is a global leader in transaction processing, and together with Blackboard, we'll provide the institutions with an innovative and reliable way to disburse student funds. As more and more colleges and universities look for ways to control costs, this program will be a welcome tool to help them reduce expenses associated with funds disbursement."

For more information about Blackboard Pay from Blackboard Transact, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/transact

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-K filed on February 17, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of March 9, 2010. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to March 9, 2010.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.