EPI International is an international organization dedicated to the study of educational opportunity and is a collective association of researchers and policy analysts from around the world dedicated to the mission of enhancing our knowledge of critical barriers facing students and families throughout the educational pipeline. In addition, EPI has developed extensive partnerships and collaborative arrangements with other leading research and educational organizations, further supporting our mission and ability to conduct policy-relevant research for practical use.
EPI was formed in 2002 by Dr. Watson Scott Swail, an internationally-known researcher and current president of the organization. Dr. Swail started EPI to fulfill a need for more rigorous educational research and to create better linkages between research and public policy. Much of the focus of our work is on the perspective of individuals from low-income backgrounds, who are of color, and who have physical and cognitive disabilities. This is because these constituents have the least voice in public policy discussions. As well, because public policy does often target these populations in programs, there is a great need for better research to determine what strategies are most effective in helping lift youth to a better tomorrow.
In addition, EPI conducts much of its research on access to "quality" educational opportunities. We focus on quality because the question of educational access is only important if that access is to a quality situation. That isn't always the case. We also do much work on access to and success through postsecondary education, since the global society increasingly demands skill sets that require learning and training past compulsory school. Our interest in financial aid is an example of our commitment to understanding the impact of finance on educational access and success.