Sam Riggs

(he, him, his)

Principal Researcher & Data Sharing and Security Lead

Sam seeks to make research and evaluation findings accessible and actionable to support student access and success in postsecondary education, with a particular focus on supporting students who have been—and continue to be—underrepresented in these spaces. His current projects include a study of college outcomes among rural high school graduates in Oregon and an evaluation of basic needs services and their impacts on student outcomes at more than 70 community colleges and universities across the United States.

Sam has more than a decade of academic and professional experience in higher education. He is trained in quantitative methods for program evaluation and is a What Works Clearinghouse Group Design 4.1 certified reviewer. His work examines the influence of programs and policies on postsecondary access and success. Before joining Education Northwest, he pursued a doctorate in higher education at Pennsylvania State University, where his research examined the escalation of listed tuition prices at colleges and universities. Previously, Sam was assistant director of admission at the University of Puget Sound.


  • Ph.D., Higher Education, The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A., International Political Economy, University of Puget Sound

I dream of going to...

Bella Coola

My favorite villain in a book, movie, or TV show is...


The strangest thing in my refrigerator is...

Play Dough

Sam Riggs

Areas of Expertise

  • Postsecondary access and success
  • Postsecondary finance and pricing
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental research designs
  • Data visualization

Blog Posts
Case Briefs & Publications