Noted Studies


Why Do People Lack Health Insurance?

Currently, 46 million people in the United States do not have health insurance, an increase of 6 million since 2000. The rise in this lack of insurance has been attributed to a number of factors, including rising health care costs, the economic downturn, an erosion of employer-based insurance and public program cutbacks. Developing effective strategies for reducing uninsurance requires understanding why people lack insurance coverage. This Urban Institute study looks at the reasons people report being uninsured and by key population subgroups (defined by age, race/ethnicity, health status, and family and employment characteristics).

Although cost is an important issue for all population subgroups studied, cost concerns were most prevalent among Hispanics, non-citizens and those likely to face the highest costs for coverage in the non-group market--the near-elderly and disabled adults.

Paying for Persistence

Early Results of a Louisiana Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents Attending Community College

Community colleges play a critical role in American higher education. Because they have open admissions policies and relatively low tuition and fees, they are particularly important to the millions of adults who might lack preparation or otherwise might be unable to afford college. At the same time, longitudinal research suggests that nearly half the students who begin at community college do not obtain a degree or enroll in another college or university within six years. Many factors explain the low rate of persistence, including the expense of attending college. Despite financial aid, most low-income students have substantial unmet needs.

This MDRC report presents the early results of a program in Louisiana designed to help low-income parents attending community college cover more of their expenses and provide a financial incentive to make good progress. The program, known as Opening Doors, operated at two New Orleans-area institutions in 2004-2005, before Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.

The researchers evaluated the program using a random assignment research design. Low-income parents who met program eligibility criteria were randomly assigned to two groups: a program group that received the Opening Doors scholarship and counseling or a control group that received whatever regular financial aid and counseling was available to all students.

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