SHEEO Welcomes Rachel Burns, Ph.D., as Senior Policy Analyst

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) welcomes Rachel Burns, Ph.D., as a senior policy analyst.

Dr. Burns will be a part of SHEEO’s Boulder, Colorado, office and will help lead, coordinate, and develop a multiyear research endeavor to quantify the impacts of college closures on student persistence and completion. This project is a formal research collaboration between the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and SHEEO. Dr. Burns will also assist in a variety of areas, including supporting SHEEO’s efforts to perform high-quality analysis, policy evaluation, and research in order to advance critical programs and projects; and will join other SHEEO staff in general membership outreach and support.

Headshot of Rachel Burns
Rachel Burns

Before joining SHEEO, Dr. Burns served as a research education analyst in RTI International’s Center for Education Survey Research and Analysis, where she specialized in large-scale education survey data, administrative data collection, and variable specification and construction. Her work at RTI focused on postsecondary education surveys for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education—primarily on the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), the High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS), and the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS). She worked on the derivation of financial aid and enrollment variables and the collection of administrative data to study how students and their families pay for college. In addition to her work on NCES studies, Dr. Burns assisted with the evaluation of the Early Career Doctorates Survey (ECDS) for the National Science Foundation, managed a project with the Pew Charitable Trusts modeling repayment of student loans, and published various reports on student persistence and attainment.

Dr. Burns has coauthored several papers on the contingent faculty workforce, economic development in higher education, changes in graduate student loan debt over time, veteran students and military aid, and state financial aid policies. She received her Ph.D. from the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.


The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, a liaison between states and the federal government, and a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers. SHEEO also serves as a manager of multistate teams and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. Together with its members, SHEEO advances public policies and academic practices that enable Americans to attain education beyond high school and achieve success in the 21st-century economy.