I. INTRODUCTION This is a new page to this site, and it's under construction, but let me tell you why I'm writing it and where I'm going with it. I frequently meet people who refuse to believe that the American college generosity system even exists, or that its results can be as wonderful for middle and lower income families as they really are. So, I've come up with a way to use the lives of four living Americans, men whose backgrounds are well known, to make my point. I'm going to analyze the college costs and available financial aid for our last four presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. American presidents historically attend superb colleges, which was definitely true of these four presidents, and none of them attended the same schools. You might guess, as I did, that their years of graduation were spread around over a number of years, but we would have all been wrong, since three of these four presidents graduated exactly fifty years ago, in the spring of 1968. However, we're not going to let their actual graduation dates bother us, because my point will concern the costs of their educations. And, for example, I don't know and you don't care what Bill Clinton was looking at for his college costs and aid at Georgetown for the 1964/1965 academic year. But I can make a very accurate estimate of his costs and aid at Georgetown this year. So, I'm going to make my point by having a little bit of fun with the facts. Specifically, I'm going to move the clock forward a lot of years and assume that each of these former presidents just graduated from high school in June of 2018. Then, by using the Net Price Calculator programs at each of the schools where they graduated, and by making some fair assumptions concerning the incomes and assets of each of their families, I can make a 97% accurate prediction of their net costs and aid for Fall Semester 2018 at the four colleges. My point will be to give middle and lower income American families hope. Because, by studying the example of these four former presidents, especially the two presidents who needed significant financial aid to complete their educations, they will learn the most significant lesson this website teaches: Hope is true, and despair is false. But, before I accomplish that worthy goal, I'm going to take time out for a good, solid, five-minute whine.
II. FOUR GRIPES This website is all about good news. It's all about helping the best dreams of your kids - and the best dreams you have for their educations - come true. But my efforts have run into problems with four American institutions, and I want to spend five minutes of your time whining about it. Then it's back to the good news. I promise. This site is now beginning its sixth year. When I started, my goal was to help the best dreams of one kid and one family come true, and then to do it again. Well, this site is now used by thousands of American families every year, and that's really gratifying for me, but had no idea in 2013 that its message would still be relevant today. My technique, you see, is based on making smart use of one freely-available online resource that everyone should already know about. That resource began to be available in 2008, it was fully available in 2011 when I started getting serious about my son's college search, and it still is. But that resource was unknown back then, it was unknown when I first published this site in 2013, and it's still unknown five years later. Even now in 2018, I have still never met a parent or student who has heard the phrase "Net Price Calculator" before meeting me. Why? The reason is that four key American institutions have failed American parents and students. Effective use of net price calculator programs can easily reduce student and parent loans by one half, but... A. Our schools, and specifically our high school guidance counselors, have completely dropped the ball on this. NPCs required counselors to learn a new skill, to fit their thinking into a new paradigm, to learn that what they used to take for granted may be the opposite of what is true today. But wherever I travel in America, when I offer free NPC training sessions for local counselors, I never get either a call back or a response to my e-mails. Never. B. NPC's are good news, and reducing college loans by at least fifty percent for our parents and students is really good news, but our media - whether mainstream or alternative - are not in the good news business. After trying hard for five years, I haven't found one media outlet willing to carry this story. Not one. C. Colleges and universities - the less generous ones and even the most generous ones - are also to blame. The less generous ones try to hustle students and families into destructive, high loan, financial aid programs. And the most generous schools don't communicate the extent of their generosity to you, the people with the need to know. By the way, I think that's one reason why top schools were slammed in the recent revisions of our tax code. D. After passing the law requiring NPCs, which was a brilliant move, our politicians have also failed us. Of course, the last thing a politician wants to tell us is, "We really solved the problem of excess college costs and loans for you ten years ago - in the last year of the Bush presidency - but we kept it secret." Instead, politicians tell us the usual two-faced nonsense. As an example, Barack Obama was a smart kid from a low-income family, so he went to great schools for very little money. He did his first two years at Occidental for not much and his last two years at Columbia almost for free, but he didn't tell us that. Instead, he wanted our community colleges to be free for our kids. Occidental and Columbia for him, but community college for our kids. Thanks, Mr. President. Okay, enough of this whining from me. It's time for me to give your kid a chance to be president someday too.