UPDATE: This website is in its ninth year, and we should go over how it's constructed. My goal is to train parents - students too - to be family financial aid experts. In this website, parents and students learn how to use the free Net Price Calculator programs required on all college websites to reliably find their most affordable colleges - while cutting their student and parent loans to the absolute minimum. So, my "basic training" has never changed, and you still need to do those reps, but here are the major recent additions: 1. On my "Methods" page, I include a section called "Clarity and Deception" where we work together, using input data from my middle-income sample family, to complete Net Price Calculator programs for two universities in the same university system. Both of these schools have very weak financial aid for out-of-state students, but the NPC results at one of the schools clearly states this bad news, while the other school hides the cards. The point for you is to know how to spot deception right as it appears so you can dodge potential train wrecks right then. 2. On my page named "Four Presidents", I analyze the financial aid available to the last four American presidents as if they all graduated from high school in the spring of 2019. Two of those presidents, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, were from high income families, and they qualified for no need-based financial aid, then or now. But the other two presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, needed and received lots of financial aid back then, and I show you just how much aid they would receive at Georgetown and Columbia now, as if they graduated from high school last spring. The news for middle and lower income families today will be very gratifying indeed. 3. On "Bookends", we will work through the Net Price Calculator programs of three different schools to give you an idea of the Bookends of your own need-based financial aid, meaning the best and the worst it can be. First, I will show you the Bookends for one of my sample families, and then I show how to find your own Bookends. My goal is to give you a reliable need-based aid standard - you could call it your "college generosity gauge" - for your own college searches. And, by the end of that page, you will also have an accurate estimate of your family's Expected Family Contribution right then, before you do your FAFSA. Valuable stuff? I think so.
2/22/21 THE CONCERN ABOUT THE POSSIBLE OVERSTATEMENT OF BRITISH COVID-19 DEATHS THIS WINTER TURNED OUT TO BE UNFOUNDED. THE 7-DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF DAILY CV-19 DEATHS IN GREAT BRITAIN HAD ALMOST DOUBLED IN JANUARY, GOING FROM 561 ON 1/1 TO 1,066 ON 1/15. THAT SEEMED A HIGH - TWICE THE CURRENT ITALIAN NUMBERS - AND IT SPAWNED SOME WELL-REASONED ARTICLES QUESTIONING THE ACCURACY OF CURRENT BRITISH CV-19 DEATH STATISTICS. IN ESSENCE THE AUTHORS ASKED, "IF BRITAIN IS LOSING SO MANY TO CV-19 NOW, WHY ARE THE OVERALL DEATHS IN THE UK THE SAME THIS YEAR AS THEY USUALLY ARE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?" HOWEVER, THAT QUESTION HAS BEEN RESOLVED. TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAIN GRAPH IN THE FOLLOWING REPORT AND YOU'LL SEE THAT BRITISH DEATHS FROM ALL CAUSES THIS WINTER INCLUDE AN UNUSUAL SPIKE THAT'S THE ROUGH EQUIVALENT OF THE CV-19 CRISIS LAST SPRING.
1/9/21 Now, if you dig a little deeper than the data displayed on these maps, you'll find that the real source of the problem is not in the countries that appear to be the most affected by this surge. To find the source, open this page: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ Then scroll down to the list of countries and right-click on Ireland and open a new tab. Then scroll down to the graph showing Ireland's "Daily Deaths", left-click the box labelled "7-day moving average", and you'll see this: Ireland got hit hard and early by Covid-19, but the Irish fought the 7-day moving average of their daily CV-19 deaths down to single digits by last summer, and they've kept it there since - an excellent 11 last Saturday, meaning that Ireland can definitely get to zero. And the success of Ireland did not result from magic, blarney, or luck. It resulted from the hard work of the Irish people. Admirable! Note: Previous comparison to UK data now removed. Now do the same thing for the other nations hit hard and early by the Italian Variant of Covid-19 - Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands - opening new tabs for each of them, and you will see an entirely different story. Like Ireland, each of those nations fought the 7-day moving average of their daily CV-19 death counts down the single digits by last August, with some even getting down to zero. But then they quit. Figuratively, each of them took their foot off the brake pedal, and you can see the results. Now their latest daily death counts - as shown by their 7-day moving averages - have ballooned from zero or near zero to as many as 470 DEATHS PER DAY, and here are the individual totals for each nation as of 1/9/2021: Belgium 58, Netherlands 91, Spain 132, France 349, and Italy 470. Now, let's account for the population differentials this way: Italy has about twelve times more people than Ireland. But, if you multiply Ireland's 11 by 12 to make the comparison fair, Ireland still has just 132 daily deaths compared to Italy's 470, a difference of just over 3.5 times. The takeaway is obvious. Ireland kept the brakes on, but the other five nations relaxed their CV-19 restrictions too early. And the victims were not only their own people but also the people in neighboring countries as well. That was because European travel restrictions ended last summer too, allowing the more lethal Italian Variant of CV-19 to spread from the heavily affected countries throughout the continent.
But what about the last week? New York State's CV-19 deaths increased by just 3.02%, a little more than last week's 2.74%, but still effective. And what about New York City? Here, let's remember that the cumulative DPM statistics for the City have been absolutely huge - in the running for the world's worst - something you can check on Page 1 of each of my 34 Weekly Reports listed below. The percentage increase in CV-19 deaths last week for New York City was even better than for New York State as a whole. The City's increase was a really good 1.01%, only about one third of the statewide increase, and here's how it broke out by Boroughs: Manhattan = +0.63% Brooklyn = +1.48% Queens = +0.58% Bronx = +0.80% Staten Island = +2.71%
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF NET COST VARIATION
You have seen that the net cost comparisons I prepare for this website only include cost and aid data for non-resident students at publicly funded schools, and I leave your in-state schools to you. But a couple years ago, I prepared cost and aid comparisons at both income levels for five universities within the University of California system, this time from the perspective of in-state families. In essence, I moved my sample families south and did their data as California residents, and the net cost variability among the five schools surprised even me. These five schools caught my eye as I reviewed the New York Times College Access Index for that year. I was struck by the fact that all five of the top colleges and universities in America, listed according to the percentage of their graduates who received Pell Grants, were universities in the University of California system. I think the Times included some pointless, "why-bother" data showing average aid at the schools. Why bother with averages when NPCs give you the real thing? So, I ran their NPC's for my sample families, and here are the results:
What a variance! And that's among five universities in the same university system. Obviously, UCLA was the most generous school - and UCSD the least generous school - at both income levels, but let's put your brand new expected-loan-calculation skills to work on these two schools. UCLA's Remaining Balance was approximately equal to the Expected Family Contribution at both incomes, resulting in no expected annual need for loans, and making it's expected loans over four years zero. UCSD's Remaining Balance, however, was about $6,000 over the EFC at both incomes, resulting in expected annual loans of $6,000, and making it's expected loans over four years about $24,000 resulting in loan payments of about $240 per month for ten years. Now, is that variance as glaring today as it was in 2016? I'm leaving that answer to you Californians. But does that table show the value for all American families of doing their own NPC data at their target schools? Absolutely!
A. THE ITALIAN VARIANT MOVES WEST
To illustrate what looks to me like the march of the Italian Covid-19 Variant from New York to California, I'd like you to look at the Daily Deaths graphs on each of the following webpages. This comparison will work best if you open each webpage as a separate tab in your browser so you can go back and forth. I'd also recommend that you use a larger screen device, because it might be difficult to click back and forth on your phones. By the way, I'm not providing screenshots of these graphs because, if you open them for yourselves, the data will automatically be updated to the moment you open each page.
You will need to scroll down to find the Daily Deaths graph on each webpage. And I think you'll find it helpful to then click on the "Seven-Day Moving Average" box below each graph to take the bumps out of the data.
For comparison purposes, let's start with Italy itself, the birthplace of the Italian Variant: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/ Scroll down to the Daily Deaths graph, click the Seven-Day Moving Average box, and take a look. That's the classic look of that graph with deaths climbing steeply, rounding over, and fading down a slope. That's what's supposed to happen with a single wave pandemic.
Now, let's check California's Daily Deaths curve: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/california/ Scroll down to the Daily Deaths graph, click the Seven-Day Moving Average box, and take a look. That's a mess, and that's what I think a Second Wave of a more deadly CV-19 variant would look like. You'll see that, matching New York, California's Daily Deaths reach a preliminary peak in late April and began to slope down. But, instead of continuing to trend lower, Daily Deaths stabilized and then began to trend up more steadily in July reaching a record level at the end of the month - 70 daily deaths higher on July 31 than the previous record on April 22. Where will it go from here? We'll just have to see. Now, let's look at Washington: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/washington/ Again we see the classic ramp-up and slope-down that we want to see, but the slope-down ended in June, and the trend has gone slowly upwards since then. Now, let's look at Idaho: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/idaho/
Good news? No. Good time to wear a mask? Yes, indeed.