Watson Scott Swail


Watson Scott Swail has served in the education field for over 30 years, and has been a lead researcher since the mid-1990s. After earning his doctorate in education in 1996, he began work as a policy analyst with The College Board, where he co-directed the annual Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Costs publications which are still in publication. He then joined SRI International as a Senior Policy Analysis in 2000, and became Vice President of Research for the DC-based Council for Opportunity in Education. During his tenure at COE, he became the founding director of The Pell Institute for the Study of Educational Opportunity, and was able to get former Senator Claiborne Pell to allow his name for the Institute.

In 2002, Swail started the Educational Policy Institute, a non-profit research organization dedicated to educational opportunity. In 2006 he launched EPI International, a for-profit contracting firm focused on education and social science research. He currently serves as President & CEO of both EPI and EPI International.

Based in part on his doctoral work at The George Washington University, Dr. Swail developed the Geometric Framework for Student Retention which is used in strategic planning at institutions of higher education. This has become the basis for his continued work in student success, and he chairs the annual International Conference on Student Success and also the Retention 101 workshops held throughout the year.

Dr. Swail has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) for dozens of projects, including the following:

Evaluation of the SEED Schools
, The SEED Foundation, Washington, DC (2011)

Evaluation of the European Union Centres Programme in the Industrialised Countries, The Evaluation Partnership Limited/The European Union (2010)

Evaluation of the Teaching American History Initiative, Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH (2010-2015)

Evaluation of the Teaching American History Initiative, Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA (2009-2014)

Evaluation of the Teacher Immersion Residency Teacher Quality Partnership Grant, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA (2009-2014)

Evaluation for Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant, Lawrence County School District, Monticello, MS (2009-2013)

Evaluation of the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburg, PA(2009-2011)

Evaluation of the St. Vrain Investment in Innovation (i3) grant, St. Vrain Valley School District, CO (2010-2015)

Evaluation of Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program, School Board of Osceola County, FL (2009-2011)

The Role of College Access Program in College Completion, TG Public Benefit Grant (2010-2011)

Evaluation of the Hampton GEAR UP Program, Hampton City Schools, VA (2008-2014)

Evaluation of Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant, Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH (2008-2013)

Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Evaluation of the Division Leadership Support Team Project, School-University Research Network, College of William and Mary, Virginia (2008-2011)

Evaluation of the Teaching American History Initiative
, Richmond County Public Schools, Augusta, GA (2010)

Development of Evaluation Framework for the Teaching with Primary Sources Program, The Library of Congress (2008-2010)

National Disability Project: A Progress Report. National Council on Disability (2009)

Impact Analysis of the Knowledge is Power Program. KIPP Foundation (2005)

Formative Evaluation of the Prudential Foundation New Jersey Youth Initiative. Prudential Foundation of New Jersey (2003-2004)

Measuring Up 2008, A Midwestern Perspective on the National Report Card, Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), Minneapolis, MN (2009)

Evaluation of the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Scholars Program, NACME (2006-2007)

Kentucky Postsecondary Education Comprehensive Affordability Analysis, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Frankfort, KY (2006)

California Trends in Student Aid: 1994-95 to 2003-04, EdFund (2006)

Trends in Student Aid - Florida 1997-98 to 2001-02, Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, Tallahassee, FL (2002-2003)

Texas High School Project Evaluation: Expansion of Scope, Texas Education Agency (TEA), Austin, TX (2009)

Study of District Practices in the Evaluation of Professional Development Initiatives in the State of Alabama, Southeastern Regional Educational Laboratory/Alabama State Department of Education, (2009)

Formative Evaluation of the King Faisal Foundation's University Preparatory Program (UPP)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Amideast (2008)

State-Wide Reading First Evaluation, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines, IA (2007-2008)

Changes in Tuition Policy: Natural Policy Experiments in Five Countries, Canada Millenium Scholarship Foundation (2004)

Analysis of the Individual and Societal Economic Benefits of a Kaplan Higher Education (KHE)
Kaplan Higher Education (2010)

Postsecondary Graduation Rates Study, Imagine American Foundation, Washington, DC (2008-2009)

Latino Students and the Educational Pipeline, Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, IN (2005)

National Disability Policy: A Progress Report, National Council on Disability (NCD), Washington, DC (2009)

Study of Higher Education Statutory and Regulatory Requirements in Canada, Devry, Inc. (2009)

Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities
National Council on Disability, Washington, DC (2006-2007)

Missouri Students and the Pathways to College
Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, Los Angeles, CA (2006-2007)

A World of Difference: A Global Survey of University League Tables

Evaluation of Reading First Supplemental and Intervention Materials
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Raleigh, NC (2006-2007)

Beyond the 49th Parallel, The Affordability of Public University Education

Analysis of the Pathways to College Framework and the No Child Left Behind Act
Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) and the Pathways to College Network (2005)

Is More Better? The Impact of Postsecondary Education on the Economic and Social Well-Being of American Society
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2005)

The Role of Counseling in Increasing Academic Opportunity in Missouri
Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (2005)

Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities I
National Council on Disability, Washington, DC (2004)

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