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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

Forgiven Loans Are Hidden Grants

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 3:09 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 | 4:27 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 | 9:54 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 | 3:32 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 | 5:53 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 | 5:12 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 | 5:15 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 | 7:22 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 | 1:19 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 | 6:13 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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It's the Principal, Stupid

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 1:05 PM

Students, listen up. If you want to be educated consumers of your college costs, you have to read this blog! Congress brought out their knives and spears this year to fight over the interest rates you have to pay on your college loans. Those in favor of lower rates said...

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Students Get Your Debt for Free! Read All About It!

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 4:20 PM

Students of America, the government will forgive your debt. Just sign up for the PAYER Plan (Pay as you Earn Repayment) and lose your chains. The only caveat (there's always a caveat) is you will have to pay some interest.

Here's how it works. Your payments will be...

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College Board Challenges the Pell

(2) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 10:25 AM

The College Board has a brave new idea. It wants the government to establish college savings accounts for low-income children starting at the age of 11. The money for the college plan would come from advances on the Pell Grant, typically announced at the end of high school....

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Immigrant Savings and Charity: Are They Better Than We Are?

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 6:00 PM

Let's face it: we judge. Our bosses judge us and we judge each other (and them). Even our children can tell us who is popular by first grade. So how do we judge immigrants? They are at the bottom of the barrel, right? Who wants to be a poor immigrant,...

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Rising College Tuition: Another Shoe Has Dropped

(3) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 11:33 AM

Another shoe has dropped. Readers of this blog know the Obama administration's decision to crack down on college tuition hikes has been long in the making. Our deeply flawed student aid model has pushed tuitions so high that the bubble is about to burst. In his last State of...

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To Lower Tuitions, Put Colleges in Charge of Student Loans

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 5:38 PM

Much of what's wrong with student loans can be fixed by making colleges -- instead of the government -- the direct lender to students.

Compare getting a car loan to a student loan. Ford benefits when you buy its product, a car, and will lend you the money to...

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Whistling Past the Graveyard on Student Debt

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 12:51 PM

People tend to become defensive just before a debt crisis explodes. Those with the most to lose want to postpone the inevitable. Student debt is nearing this critical stage. Despite the claims of colleges and the government, there is plenty to worry about.

Our higher education system is financially dependent...

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Boston Best v. Boston Strong: A Lesson for Service Organizations

(1) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 5:04 PM

A key lesson from the recent tragic events in Boston is that building a community may be more important than striving for excellence.
Boston has always thought of itself in superlative terms -- the best hospitals and sports teams, the oldest money

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Helping Latino Students Succeed in Higher Education

(2) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 1:00 PM

Regardless of our debates on immigration, the reality is that immigrants will continue to be the lifeblood of our nation. Like many generations of immigrants before them, Latinos are making their mark on our social and economic landscape. The recent presidential election is a clear case in point. For Latinos,...

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Of Dreams and Debt: Do Big Degrees Still Pay Off?

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 5:43 PM

Becoming a doctor, lawyer or business person have long served as paths out of poverty, as well as symbols for many of the American Dream. But now, if a student isn't careful, these once-prestigious careers may be paths into poverty or heavy student debt. What has gone so wrong?

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