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Rachel Burns

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
PhD, 2018

Rachel Burns is a senior policy analyst at the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). She leads and develop a multi-year research initiative to quantify the impacts of college closures in partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. She also supports other organization priorities in policy evaluation and research. 

Her current interests in the field of higher education include the implications of federal and state policies with regards to undocumented and under-documented immigrant students in colleges and universities, as well as the organization and management of minority-serving institutions. She also has done research on the changing faculty workforce, international education, and graduate student debt and has presented on these and other topics at national conferences.

Previously, she served as a Research Education Analyst at RTI International. 

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and French language from the University of Virginia, and her Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. As a graduate student, Rachel taught Introduction to Political Science and served as a graduate assistant for the UGA’s Office of Economic Development. Following graduation, Burns worked as a grants specialist for the Department of Genetics, and later in the Office for Sponsored Programs within the Office of the Vice President for Research. She also served as a research assistant with UGA’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute as well as with IHE faculty members James Hearn and Karen Webber on a variety of grant-funded and independent study projects.

Burns was the 2016-17 recipient of the Zell and Shirley Miller Fellowship, which is awarded annually to a “doctoral student of high promise.”

News Featuring Rachel Burns
Monday, July 25, 2022 - 12:51pm

The McBee Institute welcomed four graduates back into the classroom virtually on July 21 to speak to students about their preparation for and experiences in noncampus roles.

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 3:47pm

As enrollment in graduate programs is increasing, so is educational debt. Many students wonder if they can afford to stay in school and how they can reduce the debt burden of attending college.

Friday, February 18, 2022 - 8:21am

by Larissa Lozano

Friday, January 29, 2021 - 9:53am

In a broad survey of master’s and doctoral institutions spanning the decade around the 2008 financial crisis, Jim Hearn and Rachel Burns (PhD 2018) found no evidence that the tenure structure leads to inefficiencies in budget.

Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 1:43pm

Karen Webber and Rachel Burns (PhD 2018) appear in Research in Higher Education. Noting the upward trend in borrowing among graduate and professional students, Webber and Burns investigate the implications on students and institutions and on policy…

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 3:15pm

Nathan Moore (PhD 2020) and Rachel Burns (PhD 2018) explore the extent, drivers, and means by which economic development has become a focus of public postsecondary institutions.

Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 10:53am

Rachel Burns (PhD 2018) & Karen Webber are published in the Journal of Student Financial Aid (vol. 48, issue 3).

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 8:05am

The Institute will be well represented at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum in Denver, May 28-31. Faculty, students, and alumni will be presenting and leading discussion groups.  

Wednesday, May 29
10:15 am - Lori Hagood (PhD…

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 12:09pm

In addition to the large group of IHE faculty and students who presented papers at the AERA conference in Toronto (April 5-8), Noble Jones (PhD 2018) received the 2019 Outstanding Dissertation Award from AERA's Division J, and Associate Professor Tim Cain was…

Monday, December 12, 2016 - 4:16pm

Three doctoral students in the Institute of Higher Education were honored at an awards luncheon hosted by IHE on Dec. 12.

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