Patricia Steele is founder and principal consultant of the research and evaluation firm HigherEd Insight, established in 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Steele earned her Ph.D. in education policy and leadership, with an emphasis on higher education, from the University of Maryland, College Park. She speaks, writes and conducts research on topics related to college access and success. Most recently, she has served several nonprofit entities as a research consultant, and has managed major projects focused on college access and completion in the U.S.

Her focus often is on understanding the needs of low-income populations and expanding educational and employment opportunities to disadvantaged youth and adults. This work includes:

  • A four-year evaluation of the Adult College Completion Network of 17 grantees nationwide, funded by Lumina Foundation;
  • Management of a national and regional evaluation of the program’s impact for College Summit’s Investing in Innovation grant;
  • Execution of a program evaluation for a Nursing Retention grant funded by the Maryland Higher Education Commission at two campuses of the Baltimore Community College;
  • Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Ivy Tech Community College grant, High Growth and Emerging Industries, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Co-development of widely circulated policy publications used to advocate for low-income families, “Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid”; and
  • Participation in a national study on students’ perceptions of college costs and other barriers to college access among low-income students.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Steele worked on college campuses in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania in the areas of student support services and academic affairs. These areas included: multicultural student affairs, international student services, commuter affairs, academic advising, campus ministry, and residential life. She has earned a master’s degree in counseling and family studies with an emphasis in college student services from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.

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