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Nonprofit launches college saving initiative

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Young students and their families in some of Massachusetts’ most underserved communities will soon have access to a program that helps families save for college and prepare for the college application process.

FUEL Education is a non-profit organization that empowers families to become informed consumers of higher education through savings and monthly workshops. This fall, they will expand their services to families with younger children in the communities where FUEL Education has already helped hundreds of families: Chelsea Public Schools, Lynn’s KIPP Academy, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s Yawkey Club of Roxbury.

“Families who start thinking about college when their children are young and begin setting aside savings early on, even in the smallest denominations, more often see their children off to a higher education,” said Bob Hildreth, the founder and executive director of FUEL Education. “We want to do everything we can to ensure this kind of success for families in Chelsea, Lynn and Boston and we look forward to seeing their hard work pay off in the form of college access and, down the line, college degrees.”

The expanded program will serve families with children in pre-K through high school. Participating families will open a savings account and begin putting away money for their children’s future education. They learn about the college application and financing process through FUEL’s new online initiative and digital workshops.

Once the students reach high school, families participate in the traditional FUEL program, including monthly “Savings Circle” meetings where they learn about and save towards college.

The new online component of the program will not only allow FUEL to expand its services to more families across Boston; it will also encourage families who currently participate in the program to stay engaged with the FUEL curriculum and savings goals while their younger children matriculate through elementary and middle school. According to one parent at FUEL’s Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston site, “It is very helpful to get this information before junior or senior year. There is so much to digest that an early start is key, now we can go forward informed.”

FUEL Education fuels the college dreams of underserved families. It is a high-impact, innovative nonprofit, providing knowledge, resources and financial incentives that empower underserved families to propel their children into higher education. FUEL was founded by Robert Hildreth, a banker and social entrepreneur, in 2009. The program currently runs successful sites in Boston, Chelsea and Lynn, Massachusetts. More information is available at www.fueleducation.org.

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