The EPI Approach

At the Educational Policy Institute, our focus is simple: work diligently and in close partnership with our clients to ensure that the best and most useful outcomes are made possible. We have specialized expertise in policy analysis, program evaluation, and research design. EPI has worked with hundreds of institutions and organizations over the years to help them improve practices and policies. We are committed to data-driven, research-based practices and the highest levels of professionalism.

EPI's Watson Scott Swail presiding over session at OECD Annual Education Conference, Paris, FR (2010)

Our Story

We created the Educational Policy Institute in 2002 as a non-profit, non-partisan think tank to inform policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders on issues related to educational opportunity and equity. Today we continue to provide support to schools, districts, colleges, non-profits, government agencies, and philanthropies across the United States, Canada and beyond.

The Educational Policy Institute has designed sophisticated research methodologies, conducted program evaluations, and produced policy reports on important educational issues and trends. Our clients include such organizations as the US Department of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and school districts and colleges and universities around the United States and Canada. At EPI, we focus on conducting research that can arm policymakers with better information and serve society to the best of their ability.

As well, our extensive effort in the area of student retention has resulted in our creation of SwailLandis, an EPI subsidiary dedicated to improving practice at postsecondary institutions. Our development of special tools to help support faculty and staff in the development of new policies and practices to encourage students to stay on campus is an important example of this work. And our conferences and workshops in this area allow us to work directly with these individuals in hopes of making direct, positive change.

The Educational Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please take time to review our brochures below or download our Capability Statement, and contact us directly to find out more about how the Educational Policy Institute can help you.

WATSON SCOTT SWAIL is the Founding President and Senior Research Scientist of the Educational Policy Institute. Dr. Swail has been involved in Education for the past 35 years as a middle school teacher, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, adjunct faculty member, policy analyst, program evaluator, and entrepreneur. He is noted for developing the Swail Geometric Framework for Student Retention, a framework from which institutions of higher education can use to improve their service to students and increase graduation rates. He has conducted research for dozens of organizations, including Lumina Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the US Department of Education, and colleges, universities, and school across the US and Canada. He is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and professional development workshops on issues of educational opportunity, college access and affordability, and future issues in education. He has also helped raise over $100 million for state projects in the past 15 years and $14 million in projects at EPI.

Dr. Swail is a prolific writer with over 100,000 followers on LinkedIn who enjoy his occasional Swail Letter. He has published several books, including The Student Success Papers (2019), From Thought to Action (2019), Stop Making Sense: A Collection of Thoughts and Other Random Musings on Education (January 2018), Educated Thoughts (2015), Finding Superman: Debating the Future of Public Education in America (2012), Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education (2003), and Memory, Reason, and Imagination: A Quarter Century of Pell Grants (1998). The ROI of Higher Education and Retention 101: Solutions for Student Success are expected out in 2021.

Dr. Swail earned his Doctor of Education from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, a Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, VA, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB. He is a dual citizen of the US and Canada. He is an accomplished singer/songwriter, much less accomplished golfer and tennis player, and an avid Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals fan(atic).

Click here for Dr. Swail's curriculum vitae (CV).