Research investigates debt perceptions: The 2011-2012 Nat’l Postsecondary Student Aid Study, offered by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute, examines data on the debt levels of first-year college students. When provided a margin of error up to $1,000, researchers find 47% of students surveyed underestimated their level of debt, compared with 23% underestimated their debt.
IRS may have targeted nonprofits: The Internal Revenue Service’s Targeting of Conservative Tax-Exempt Applicants: Report of Findings for the 113th Congress, issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, finds IRS officials in 2011 considered imposing the gift tax on large donations to politically active nonprofits. Researchers cite e-mails sent in 2011 by Lois Lerner, then-director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Unit, and other IRS officials about “the issue of asserting gift tax on donors to 501(c)(4) organizations.”
Diabetes programs are underutilized: Diabetes Self-Management Education and Training (DSMT) Among Privately Insured Persons with Newly Diagnosed Diabetes, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS) report, finds DSMT programs were underused among insured individuals newly diagnosed with diabetes. DSMT programs involve education on diabetes management through monitoring blood glucose levels, preventing disease complications and encouraging healthy lifestyle decisions.
Costs increasing: Trends in Higher Education, a College Board report, details variation in tuition, plus other costs and fees paid by students after accounting for grants and tax benefits. Between 2013 and 2014, the report finds tuition and fees increased by 2.8% in-state and 3.3% out of state for students at four-year institutions.
Funding reaches record highs: 2013 Tracking Report, offered by Funders for LGBTQ Issues, find private funding for efforts to address gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues reached a record high of $129.1 million in 2013, up 6.3% from 2012. Researchers find 331 foundations awarded 4,146 grants in support of LGBTQ issues in 2013, with significant increases registered by a handful of funders. Funders include MAC AIDS Fund, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (up 80%) and the Ford Foundation.
Specialized services needed: Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence, offered by the Vera Institute of Justice, finds young men of color who experience violence and trauma often do not receive the support and services they need. Researchers find the broader field of victim services has developed a system of support for crime victims, including financial assistance, legal services and advocacy, but few services exist to address the specific needs of young men of color.
Data-sharing confusion continues: Crossing Boundaries: Regional Data Sharing to Study Worker Mobility, offered by the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, examines case studies where states have entered formal partnerships to share education and employment data. Researchers find ongoing confusion about the level of detail necessary for regional data-sharing arrangements plus the lack of a database or resource to study outcomes for individuals who do not graduate from or attend college.
Federal research finds steady rates: Volunteering and Civic Life in America, offered by the Corp. for Nat’l and Community Service and Nat’l Conference on Citizenship, finds 25% of Americans volunteered through an organization in 2013, while roughly 66% helped a neighbor. Researchers find 62.6 million adults — or 25.4% of survey respondents, down slightly from 26.5% in 2012 — volunteered a total of nearly 7.7 billion hours in 2013, with the estimated value of that service totaling some $173 billion.
State receives insights on new law: Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), a Nat’l Skills Coalition report, offers guidance to states on the integrated workforce plans required by the new federal law. The report recommends offering stakeholders opportunities to provide feedback early on in the planning process and defining the necessary criteria for forming local or regional partnerships, including how funding will be allocated.