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Burns Weighs in on Report Concerning the Impacts of College Closures on Students


by Jewel Caruso

Rachel Burns (PhD 2018) was recently quoted in an article for the Dallas Business Journal, "New research underscores disruption caused by college closures."

The article talks about a report published by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Associate (SHEEO) and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on the impacts of school closures. The researchers found that 467 U.S. Institutes of higher education closed between 2004 and 2020, resulting in 143,215 students losing their college. Of these students, more than half never enrolled in another college. Clearinghouse and SHEEO researchers advocate for more oversight and protections for students.

Burns, senior policy analyst for SHEEO, provided her thoughts on the subject, "It's true that federal and state regulations do currently exist that are meant to prevent the bad actors from entering the secondary education market, but not all states are enforcing regulations equally. The findings in this report really provide evidence of the negative impacts of closures and strengthen the call for improving enforcement."

Since regulators and government officials are more focused on the "for-profit college space," Burns added that four-year nonprofit colleges also need diligent oversight and regulation.

Burns started at SHEEO this year and leads and develops a multi-year initiative to quantify the impacts of college closures in partnership with the Clearinghouse Research Center. She also supports other organizations' priorities in policy evaluation and research. 

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PhD, 2018

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