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.


Full-time enrollment in higher education is down across New England

October 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Boston Globe describes fall 2020 higher-education enrollment at colleges and universities across New England. According to the New England Commission of Higher Education, full-time enrollment is down by more than 20 percent at over two dozen higher-education institutions in the region. Another 50 New England institutions report enrollment declines between 10 and 20 percent as compared with last year. These declines will accelerate financial pressures on institutions and also signal that current and potential students, perhaps especially low-income students, are finding college out of reach amid the pandemic. #covid-19 #education

Solar-powered mobile hotspots bring internet to rural Virginia for remote learning

October 15, 2020 – Older Youth

Rural stakeholders continue creative provision of internet hotspots to support remote learning into the new school year. The Daily Yonder reports that school officials in rural Louisa County in Virginia initially used hotspots on school buses but struggled to secure a consistent power source. To address this, the school district’s technology director proposed mobile solar-powered hotspots. These “Wireless on Wheels” units cost around $3,000 apiece to create and are designed to continue running even on cloudy days. #covid-19 #rural #education

Homeless Families Struggle With Impossible Choices As School Closures Continue

October 7, 2020 – General

For this story, NPR spoke with students, parents, caregivers, shelter managers and school leaders across the country about what it means, in this moment, to be homeless and schoolless. Many homeless shelters don't allow parents to leave their children while they go to work. In the past, kids have simply gone to school or parents have found low-cost childcare. But, because of the pandemic, those options have disappeared for many families. #covid-19 #education

Latest Data: 1 in 3 Adults Having Trouble Paying Expenses

October 7, 2020 – General

Nearly 78 million adults – about 1 in 3 – are having trouble paying for usual household expenses, today’s Census data show. Along with other data showing that hardship has significantly worsened due to COVID-19 and its economic fallout, the figures underscore the urgent need for policymakers to resume negotiations to enact a robust, bipartisan economic relief package. The data, from Census’s latest Household Pulse Survey (collected September 16-28), show that 32 percent of adults reported that, in the last seven days, their household found it somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans. The rate was higher for adults in households with children (40 percent) than adults in households without children (27 percent), the Census figures show — which is consistent with findings from the same survey that households with children are likelier to face difficulty getting enough food and paying their rent. Financial hardship can have serious effects on children’s long-term health and education, research shows. #foodsecurity #education #covid-19

The Student Loan Pause has Improved Credit Scores, But Not Financial Distress

October 6, 2020 – General

Since late March, most federal student loan borrowers have had expected payments and collections on their loans paused and interest set to 0 percent. This pause has resulted in improved credit scores but has not substantially changed indicators of financial distress, such as holding utilities collections debt. To understand the effects of the pause on borrowers, we look at a sample of credit records collected by one of the three major credit bureaus. We focus on people who had any student loans in February 2020, before the implementation of the student loan pause and most COVID-19 changes, and follow them into June 2020. #covid-19 #education

Another pandemic shift: In many school districts, 1 in 10 kindergartners didn’t show up

September 22, 2020 – General

School districts are seeing similar double-digit declines across the country, from Oakland, California to Philadelphia. Kindergarten enrollment is down 15% from last fall in Hawaii’s schools, according to state data. In Los Angeles, it’s down 14%. And in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where in-person classes have resumed, it’s down 10% since last fall, state and district figures show. The trend seems to cut across income lines, with declines in schools that serve mostly students from low-income families as well as wealthier ones. When the Education Week Research Center surveyed some 400 school district administrators and principals in late August, more than half reported seeing a decline in kindergarten enrollment — and the pattern was similar for high-poverty and more affluent school districts. #covid-19 #education

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

September 18, 2020 – General

The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. CBPP is able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis. The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating. Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps and the measures are also temporary. The data, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. #foodsecurity #education #racialequity #workforce

How courageous schools partnering with local communities can overcome digital inequalities during COVID-19

September 17, 2020 – General

Across the U.S., “pandemic pods,” or quarantine learning bubbles, are being established to protect students and teachers from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and limit possible exposure within the group. Homeschooling has become an increasingly viable option for parents who can offer the space, time, structure, and technology to their children. Private and charter schools are also drawing the attention of families with children in public schools by offering more robust digital resources and student support. But these pathways to continuous learning are not available to students who may reside in communities with limited spaces for play, in geographically isolated rural areas, and among those with limited or no access to home broadband. These differences in resources result in the racial and income disparities that define the digital divide and have far-reaching implications for school-age children without internet access. #education #rural #racialequity

Strategies for school-community partnerships to reduce digital divide

September 17, 2020 – Older Youth

A new post from Brookings details ways that schools can benefit from partnership with local communities to address the digital inequalities that are critically relevant to learners in the COVID context. Specific strategies include repurposing space from shuttered businesses for small-group/cohort-based classroom purposes; encouraging businesses to donate (or offer at low cost) computers or office furniture to schools in exchange for tax credits; and intentionally providing Wi-Fi hot spots in homeless shelters and subsidized housing settings. The authors posit that creative thinking is necessary for reimagining schooling in ways that intentionally disrupt the pandemic’s exacerbation of inequality. #covid-19 #education

College enrollment declines, especially among disadvantaged students

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Washington Post describes early signs of disproportionate college enrollment declines and higher dropouts among low-income students, students of color, and rural students. Declines in enrollment are greatest at community colleges. College enrollment increased during the Great Recession and tends to increase in any economic downturn, although the opposite is happening in the current pandemic-related recession. Some key reasons for this include concerns about exposure to the virus, lost income prohibiting enrollment, and challenges with virtual classes such as insufficient access to broadband and other technology at home. As enrollment declines unevenly, concerns about perpetuating inequality abound. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #rural

Mathematica study models risks in back to school strategies for use by school decisionmakers

September 16, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Mathematica worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct simulations of a model predicting the spread of COVID-19 in schools under different local circumstances (including local community infection rate) and operating procedures. A substantial finding from these simulations is that the strategies of wearing masks and reducing student contact outside of class do help meaningfully reduce the spread of COVID-19. Researchers found that these precautions combined with a part-time hybrid school operation strategy were very effective. The report outlines different scenarios and operating procedures that school decisionmakers can use to inform their approaches. #covid-19 #education

The latest crisis: Low-income students are dropping out of college this fall in alarming numbers

September 16, 2020 – General

ABT reports that as the fall semester gets into full swing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, schools are noticing a concerning trend: Low-income students are the most likely to drop out or not enroll at all, raising fears that they might never get a college degree. Some 100,000 fewer high school seniors completed financial aid applications to attend college this year, according to a National College Attainment Network analysis of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data through August. The lower enrollment figures are the latest sign of how the economic devastation unleashed by the coronavirus crisis has weighed more heavily on lower-income Americans and minorities, who have suffered higher levels of unemployment and a higher incidence of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Students from families with incomes under $75,000 are nearly twice as likely to say they “canceled all plans” to take classes this fall as students from families with incomes over $100,000, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey in late August. #covid-19 #education #racialequity