Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


Juvenile detention centers more likely to reduce white detainees in response to COVID, exacerbating racial gaps in youth detention

March 8, 2021 – Older Youth

The Marshall Project reports on a new survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which collected data across 30 states and found that by May 2020, youth detention centers were releasing white youths at higher rates than their Black counterparts. As a result, racial gaps in youth detention have widened, even though teens—including teens of color—were less likely to be arrested in 2020 than in prior years. The authors suggest that differences in severity of offenses may partly account for the disparity in releases, as well as the courts’ acknowledgement that different levels of home and community resources are available to Black and white teens when they exit detention. The authors also acknowledge—with agreement from the American Academy of Pediatrics—that adolescents who have remained incarcerated through the pandemic are in an emergency situation, as they weather time without in-person learning opportunities and visits from loved ones. #covid-19 #juvenilejustice #racialequity

Temporary SNAP extension will enhance access for college students

March 4, 2021 – Older Youth

Despite elevated rates of food insecurity among college students, strict eligibility criteria have meant low participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Typically, in order to be eligible for SNAP, students must attend college at least half time, work 20 or more hours per week, and meet income and other qualifications. However, as a part of its December pandemic relief efforts, Congress passed two temporary exemptions specific to college students enrolled at least half time. These temporarily extend SNAP eligibility to those who are also eligible for federal or state work-study and those with an Expected Family Contribution of $0 for the academic year, regardless of employment. State agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations are working to inform students of these changes. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #education

Many colleges that dropped test requirements during the pandemic may not reinstate them

February 25, 2021 – Older Youth

According to a recent survey of public and private four-year higher education institutions, the majority of institutions that dropped ACT and/or SAT admission requirements due to the pandemic are unlikely to bring them back. The survey was commissioned by ACT Inc., the owner of the ACT exam, and estimates that around 50 percent of four-year institutions had “test-optional” policies before the pandemic. Another 30 percent moved from test-required to test-optional in response to the pandemic. However, most of these newly test-optional institutions expressed that they were not at all likely to become “test-blind” and completely remove test scores from the evaluation of applicants. The most common reason they selected for not being likely to adopt a test-blind policy was that test scores are “too useful” to completely abandon. Although early evidence suggests that test-optional institutions have greater applicant diversity, whether students who do not submit test scores are admitted, financially assisted, and matriculated at the same levels of those who do submit has not yet been rigorously examined #covid-19 #education

Study demonstrates the limitations of text messaging as a strategy for supporting college preparation

February 24, 2021 – Older Youth

Researchers from Abt Associates and Mathematica evaluated a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) college preparation program for the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE. The program—called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)—used text messages to share college information and engage with high school students. The program aimed to use text-message-based advising to encourage first-generation and low-income students to enroll and persist in college. While previous studies have found text messaging supports are effective, this study found that the messaging did not have an impact on college enrollment. It is possible that other supports GEAR UP students received eclipsed any benefits that the text messaging may have had. #education

Revisiting “stackable” credentials as a pathway to employment

February 2, 2021 – Older Youth

Amid the record unemployment rates of the pandemic, Brookings-affiliated scholars review the evidence for stackable credentials as a pathway to employment, especially for those who lack the flexibility to undertake long-term training or degree programs. This approach generally entails earning a shortterm certificate that can be put to work immediately, then returning to use some of those certificate credentials to begin an associate degree. Using data from the community college system of Virginia, the authors find that students who stacked their credentials were more likely to be employed (by 4 percentage points) and had higher quarterly wages (by 7 percent) than their non-stacking counterparts. Stacking credentials in health or business fields yielded the best payoffs. The authors encourage policy and philanthropic support for these pathways as a mechanism for recovering pandemic-era employment losses. #olderyouth #workforce

Service availability for children with pre-existing mental health challenges deteriorates during pandemic

January 29, 2021 – Older Youth

An article from Kaiser Health News highlights the extensive gaps in support services for children with pre-existing mental health conditions since the pandemic has begun. Families are experiencing major deteriorations in their children’s wellbeing, particularly when routine is an important health and behavioral management tool or when in-person therapy and educational supports are essential. Referencing the CDC’s fall 2020 announcement that children’s mental health-related emergency room visits have increased 25-30 percent, stakeholders see that increased needs and decreased supports leave families with few options. These new pressures on pediatric mental health care systems only exacerbate the pre-pandemic dearth of specialized care. Advocates suggest an increased and coordinated investment in care systems at all levels of government but recognize the low likelihood of new investments in the context of pandemic-era budget shortfalls. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

Data on college applications show equity implications of the pandemic

January 28, 2021 – Older Youth

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on college application data available from January 1 and January 15 deadlines. While the number of applications is up 10 percent from last year, data suggest that increased college-going isn’t uniform. Compared to last year, first-generation college student applicants are down by 3 percent and those requesting application fee waivers are also down by 2 percent. There is also a 10.1 percent decrease in the number of FAFSA applications filed. In particular, FAFSA applications from students at low-income high schools and at high schools with high shares of students of color are down 13 and 15.4 percent, respectively. Findings highlight the ways that the pandemic is continuing to entrench inequality. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

Taking exams at end of SNAP month linked to lower college admission exam results

January 21, 2021 – Older Youth

Economic researchers analyzed how the monthly timing of SNAP benefit receipt impacted low-income high school students’ test scores on a college admission exam. Using state-by-state variation in SNAP benefit cycles, they found that the timing of benefits does have an impact on exam performance. Students taking the college admissions exam in the last two weeks of the SNAP benefit cycle— when household food availability tends to be more limited—was associated with lower test scores and a lower probability of enrolling in a four-year college. These findings on the connection between nutrition and student achievement highlight how immediate resource insufficiencies can influence student life course trajectories. #education #foodsecurity

Pandemic sparks changes to standardized testing, reducing burdens for low income students

January 19, 2021 – Older Youth

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that COVID-19 has triggered long-considered changes to standardized testing; in the latest example, the College Board is nixing SAT Subject Tests and the SAT’s essay section. Citing declining demand for these offerings, particularly amid remote-learning environments, the College Board is discontinuing these tests effective immediately. The Chronicle notes widespread support among educators and advocates, who have long criticized the tests as a barrier to college entrance for lower-income students and students of color who are less likely to have access to specialized tutoring and insider knowledge that can enhance test performance. Still, some experts warn that the loss of these specific tests means college admissions offices will simply substitute emphasis on Advanced Placement exams or extracurricular activities, which would still leave lower-income students at a disadvantage. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

Biden proposes EITC expansion to young childless workers

January 15, 2021 – Older Youth

The Senior Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chuck Marr, is praising President Joe Biden’s proposed expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This expansion would address the persistent EITC gap facing workers age 19-25, who under current EITC law, are only eligible to claim the EITC if they have a child at home. The proposal would benefit 17.4 million young workers, including concentrations of Latinx and Black workers. Marr notes that these workers are disproportionately low earning: the three occupations with the greatest number of newly eligible workers are cashiers, cooks, and retail salespersons, all industries that have been newly recognized as essential in the pandemic. #workforce

Disrupted plans for post-secondary education especially consequential for low income students

January 13, 2021 – Older Youth, Families

Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce researchers report on data from the National Student Clearinghouse and the Household Pulse Survey, finding that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lower college enrollment, a finding that bucks the trend of higher enrollment in every recession since the 1960s. The authors find that among households where at least one person had postsecondary plans for fall 2020, 37 percent canceled plans entirely for pandemic-related health or income reasons. These shifts were especially prevalent in low-income households and households with members seeking a certificate or training program diploma (54 percent, versus the 25 percent of households whose members sought a bachelor’s degree). Those seeking bachelor’s degrees were more likely to pivot to remote learning, an option less available for training programs. The authors argue that because delayed and disrupted college-going is linked with increasing heightened risk of noncompletion, some of these low income students may never attend college, further calcifying structures of inequality between high and low income populations. #covid-19 #education

In-person K-12 classes do not drive COVID-19 outbreaks, CDC study finds

January 13, 2021 – Older Youth

Recent research from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- affiliated authors finds that counties where K-12 schools remained in-person did not have higher numbers of COVID-19 cases than counties where K-12 schools operated online only. In general, outbreaks at K-12 schools have been limited. The study also finds that the number of COVID-19 cases was much lower among younger children (especially ages 0-13) than among young adults (ages 18-24). This suggests that the risk of contributing to coronavirus transmission may be higher in high schools than in elementary schools. #covid-19 #education