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Bob Hildreth
Bob is the Founder & Executive Director of FUEL Education. Following a career in Latin American finance at the IMF, Citibank, Drexel Burnham Lambert and his own brokering company, International Bank Services, Bob turned his sights to active philanthropy. Coming from a family of educators and a short stint as a high school history teacher, he subsequently focused his energies on education reform in the US with particular attention to low income populations. Bob turned to his financial background to create a matching savings program that became the basis for FUEL. His intent from the outset has been to use a monetary reward system as a means for motivating a behavior of aspiration.

Bob is a dedicated supporter of educational institutions. In addition to co-founding La Vida, Inc. in Lynn, he joined with Boston University to build the Early Childhood Learning Center in Chelsea, MA. Bob is a graduate of Harvard University (Class of ’72) and Johns Hopkins University (Class of ‘75), as well as George Washington University (Class of ‘80). He serves on the governance and advisory boards of several universities including Boston University and The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. At present he is Chairman of the Board of Overseers at Boston University. He has sponsored research, funded professorships, and developed student internship programs.

Bob has won numerous awards including 2009 All-Chelsea Award from the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, 2009 Give Liberty a Hand Award from the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Citizen of the Year 2009 from the Rockport Rotary Club, a 2008 Bostonian of the Year by The Boston Globe, 2008 Partner in Pursuit of Justice Award from the Bronx Defenders, 2008 Keepers of the American Dream Award from the National Immigrant Forum, and 2007 Champion of Justice Award from the Greater Boston Legal Services. In 2009 he was especially honored to be the emcee for the Irish Immigration Center’s Solas Award Dinner that honored Irish President Mary McAleese, as well as the emcee for the galas of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project and the Gaston Institute of UMass Boston. He has also been honored as one of El Planeta’s 100 most influential for Latinos in the state of Massachusetts in 2009 and 2010. In June 2010 he spoke at the adult education celebration at Bunker Hill Community College.

Entries by Bob Hildreth

What Drives Student Debt

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 1:10 PM

Student debt is one of the most pressing problems facing the United States today. What might appear to be mainly a challenge for young people and their families actually has a more far-reaching effect on the national economy.

Study after study has shown that indebted students are more likely to...

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The Arne Duncan Legacy: Tough on Colleges or Students?

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 3:31 PM

With the announcement of Arne Duncan's resignation as the secretary of education it's a good time to take a look at what he has accomplished, where he failed, and what work is still to be done to deal with the significant problems facing higher education.

With Duncan following his...

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Research Note: Brookings Report on 'Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?'

(2) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 1:48 PM

The report "Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?" by Chingos and Akers makes the case that while borrowing has risen over time in the U.S. (and the percent of those who borrow), the return of that schooling has increased as well. They maintain that the typical...

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The Time Has Come to Scrap FAFSA

(4) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 12:33 PM

When it comes to federal grants for college, the government cannot get out of its own way. The process is encased in bureaucracy. Every family must fill out a mega form in order to receive grants (SEOG and Pell). A lot is at stake because these grants offer big benefits...

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TedX and College Finance: A Danger in Your Community

(2) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 4:33 PM

I told you so. In a Ted Talk almost two years ago I told you so. I said that while too much student debt is bad for students, it may be worse for colleges. Events in 2015 are starting to prove me right. Ordinarily I wouldn't be a...

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We Have Created a Monster!

(1) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 3:21 PM

We have created a monster. And, like Frankenstein's monster, it is out to destroy us. The monster is student loan debt.

We, just like Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelly's great novel, had all good intentions. Increasing college access and affordability for students less able to pay, by making federal...

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Sanders' and Warren's Financial Aid Bills Miss the Mark

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 5:21 PM

Bernie Sanders wants to make public colleges tuition free. Plenty of people think that's wacko left. They ask where he plans to get the money to pay for it. But then along comes Senator Warren with a more expensive bill that would make public college debt-free for everyone. Both bills...

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Pricing PhD's Out of the Market

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 1:24 PM

Beruk Kiros is a graduate research assistant in the Biology Department at UMass Amherst. He spends a lot of his time in the lab studying the effects of environmental chemicals on the thyroid gland. There is nothing especially unique about that. There are an estimated 1.7 million students...

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Lowering the Interest Rate Won't Solve the Student Debt Crisis

(3) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 4:19 PM

Senator Elizabeth Warren has reintroduced her bill allowing borrowers with outstanding student debt to refinance at lower rates. Her similar bill was voted down last summer. This will certainly appeal to those students with high-interest rates in the 7-8 percent range, but it won't help the many students...

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The 'Student Debt' Bill of Rights

(12) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 11:59 AM

The White House has announced its new Student Aid Bill of Rights, which includes four points:

  1. Every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education at a college that is cutting costs and increasing learning.
  2. Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for...
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Forgiven Loans Are Hidden Grants

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 4:09 PM

The Department of Education hosted a rule-making session last week, which will reconvene on March 31 for three days. The goal is to evaluate whether the generous student loan repayment plan known as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) should be extended to borrowers who are currently ineligible. This...

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Soon Student Loans Will Look Like the Tax Code

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 5:27 PM

As our higher education system gets costlier, taking on student debt gets easier. Colleges make it simple for students to borrow by packaging several different types of federal loans in a single financial aid letter. Sometimes, the schools even give students more loans than they need. The students just have...

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A Lottery You Can't Lose

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 10:54 AM

Imagine that you have a low-paying job but still manage to save a little for your kids' future every month. Then someone comes along and offers you a chance to win a cash prize. You just have to put your interest into a pool from which the prize is made....

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Ivory Tower 101: An Introduction to How Colleges Have Lost Their Way

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 4:32 PM

The 2014 CNN documentary Ivory Tower makes the case that things have gone terribly wrong with the college system in America. And, like a survey course for entering students, it covers a broad landscape of issues.

For example, there are the students who on average study just...

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Student Debt v. Student Savings

(2) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 6:53 PM

The government has stacked the financial aid system in favor of debt. You can get a 10-year term loan with a four-year grace at cut rates with no credit check. Oh, and much of the loan may be forgiven. It's the sweetest loan in America.

By comparison, saving money for...

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Removing a Bottleneck to Community College Success

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 6:12 PM

William Gomez Perreira and his mother, Ana, live in Chelsea, Mass., a working class city hard by Boston, that sends a good number of students to community colleges.

The students -- largely low income and minority -- face a serious obstacle once they set foot on the community college campus....

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A Student Loan Is a Loan... Really?

(2) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 6:15 PM

The Brookings Institution recently published a report that finds little evidence that a student loan bubble exists. This has caused a dust up with those who believe a bubble is already here. Before we run for our blogs to attack each other, can we at least...

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The Big Dupe: What's the Truth About Student Loans?

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 8:22 PM

Student debtors, you're being duped. The government isn't sitting on any student loan profit despite what Senator Warren says. She wants the government to stop taking advantage of you, but it's the other way around. You are taking advantage of the government every time you don't pay your...

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Student Loans, R.I.P.

(4) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 2:19 PM

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.

-Robert Frost

I wonder if Robert Frost had student loans. I don't know about the world, but my bet is that student loans will end in ice. Fire would be the government killing...

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It's the Student Loans, Stupid

(1) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 7:13 PM

Here's the question: Is college tuition going up to compensate for state cuts? Or do plentiful student loans encourage states to cut aid and colleges to raise tuitions?

The table below offers some insight. Notice that the drop in state and local appropriations was 29 percent between...

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