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.


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

Income gaps in remote learning experiences persist into December

February 11, 2021 – General

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey comparing K-12 students’ access to technology over time. From spring 2020 (April 23 – May 5) to the end of the year (November 24 – December 7), they found that student access to computers had improved, while access to internet remained about the same. As schools and school districts were more likely to provide students digital devices than internet, these contributions help explain why computer access improved while internet access did not. However, access to both computers and internet were associated with income—students in lower income households had much less access to devices and internet than students in higher-income households. Students in lower-income households also had less live contact with their teachers than their higher-income peers. #covid-19 #education

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

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

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

Public school enrollment drops, especially among youngest students

January 5, 2021 – General

An American University policy researcher published a piece on The Conversation citing early evidence from a National Public Radio survey of 60 school districts across 20 states. That survey found that school enrollment dropped in fall 2020, with declines in public kindergarten enrollment averaging 16 percent. The author notes that health concerns, limited in-person options, wariness of virtual kindergarten, and family constraints around work and child care have likely all contributed. While delayed or forgone kindergarten isn’t necessarily harmful—particularly if families are able to substitute this time with high-quality at-home learning—for children with more at-home stressors and material hardship, missed school can widen existing inequalities in early education. In addition, decreased enrollment has implications for schools, including reductions in public funds allocated on a per-child basis and a larger 2021-2022 kindergarten cohort who may require intensive supports. #covid-19 #education

School meal delivery offers teachers difficult glimpse into students’ living arrangements

January 3, 2021 – Older Youth

An article from USA Today documents a sobering side effect to school systems’ conversion to school meal drop off models in the pandemic: often for the first time, school staff and educators saw firsthand their students’ living conditions. While teachers delivering meals in rural Illinois were shocked and troubled to find students living without indoor plumbing, electricity, and windows, they also found that seeing students’ home lives prepared them to better support those learners. In addition, parents noted that seeing school staff during meal drop-off provided a sense of “normalcy” amid the upheaval of the pandemic. #covid-19 #education #foodsecurity

Students, particularly students of color, are falling behind in school

December 6, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In early December, a surge of new data and research on student performance became available and the findings are consistently bleak. A national study from McKinsey & Co. estimated that pandemic-related disruptions and remote work in spring 2020 set students of color back three to five months and white students back one to three months in school material. More currently, many school districts have released data showing a sharp increase in failure rates this fall. The spike in failure rates tends to be much higher for students of color and also among English language learners and students in special education programs. All this evidence suggests that learning losses that began in the spring are continuing this fall and disproportionately impacting disadvantaged students. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

New Hampshire public school enrollment decreased in the 2020-2021 school year

November 23, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Education reveals changes in public school enrollment during the pandemic. While the state has been typically seeing a one percent decrease in enrollment each year, enrollment in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year had decreased by four percent. Much of this decrease is likely due to families choosing homeschooling or private schoolsover public school given pandemic related uncertainties. However, there was notable variation across the state. Concord, Manchester, and Nashua school districts all reported declines of 4-6 percent and while some more northern recreational areas reported massive spikes in enrollment (such as in Waterville Valley with a 200 percent increase). These enrollment increases are largely driven by families relocating to historically seasonal homes during the pandemic. Since state education funding is tied to the number of enrolled students, these changes—and how fleeting or enduring they are—add confusion to school district budgeting. #covid-19 #education

University enrollment decreases less than feared, increases seen at for-profit institutions

November 17, 2020 – Older Youth

Despite fears of university enrollment declines of 20 percent, early data fromone month into the fall semester show only a 3 percent overall decline in enrollment. According to these data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, public four-year universities have seen an enrollment decline of about 1.4 percent. However, for-profit colleges have seen an increase in enrollment, up by 3 percent. One factor contributing to this trend is that forprofit institutions tend to already be quite experienced and recognized in remote learning. Further, for-profits tend to be more financially nimble and have more access to unrestricted money, allowing them to spend more on marketing and expand financial aid to attract students. #covid-19 #education