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Gabriel Ramón Serna

Assistant Professor


Dr. Gabriel R. Serna joined the Higher Education program in 2015. Dr. Serna has nearly 15 years of experience in higher education including as director of programming at New Mexico State University, assistant director of admissions at the University of Kentucky, associate instructor at Indiana University Bloomington, and most recently as assistant professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership program at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Serna’s research interests lie in the areas of higher education economics, finance, and policy.  He is particularly interested in the economic relationships between the states and their public institutions, student price-response, college and university fiscal administration, undocumented student populations, and enrollment management. Some of his published work can be seen in the Journal of Education Finance, the Journal of Higher Education Management, the Planning for Higher Education Journal, The Handbook of Strategic Enrollment Management, and The Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance. Additionally, Dr. Serna’s research was nationally recognized by the Journal of Education Finance and the National Education Finance Academy with the “Outstanding Article of the Year” award in 2014. His work and teaching also include preparing students in the use of quasi-experimental research design, assessment and evaluation, and applied econometrics. Dr. Serna currently serves or has served on the Board of Advisors of the National Education Finance Academy, and the Association for Institutional Research’s Forum Advisory Board. In addition, he serves on the Editorial Boards of the ASHE Report Series, Research in Higher Education, and the Journal of College & Character.


Dr. Serna holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Indiana University Bloomington (2012); a Master of Public Policy from the Martin School of Public Policy & Administration at the University of Kentucky (2008); and a BBA in Economics as well as a BA in German from New Mexico State University (2006)

EDHE 5105 Assessment and Evaluation I

EDHE 5106 Assessment and Evaluation II

EDHE 6044 Governance and Policy in Higher Education

EDHE 6084 Financial Administration of Higher Education

EDHE 6064 Higher Education in the United States

Higher Education Economics and Finance, Budgeting and Planning in Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Enrollment Management, Student-Price Response, College Going and Choice, Research Design, Applied Econometrics



Serna, Gabriel R. & Weiler, Spencer “Higher Education, Fiscal Administration, & Budgeting: An Applied Approach” Under Contract with Rowman & Littlefield for Publication in mid-2016

Weiler, Spencer & Serna, Gabriel R. “Practical Strategies for Applied Budgeting and Fiscal Administration: What Works for P-12 Administrators” Under Contract with Rowman & Littlefield for Publication in mid -2016


Serna, Gabriel R. (2015) “Do Tax Revolt Provisions Influence Tuition and Fee Levels: Evidence from the States using Recent Panel Data” Journal of Education Finance, 41(1), 48-82. 

Serna, Gabriel R. (2015) “Insiders/Outsiders? Market Signaling and Student Identity in College Choice” Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly, 3(3), 1-17.

Serna, Gabriel R., Cohen, Joshua*, Nguyen, David H.K.* (Forthcoming) “State and Institutional Policies on In-State Resident Tuition and Financial Aid for Undocumented Students: Examining Constraints and Opportunities” Educational Considerations. 

Serna, Gabriel R. (2014) “The ‘Gainful Employment Rule’ and Student Loan Defaults: How the Policy Frame Overlooks Important Normative Considerations” Journal of Student Financial Aid, 44(1), 69-88.  

Nguyen, David H.K.* & Serna, Gabriel R. (2014) “Access or Barrier? Tuition and Fee Legislation for Undocumented Students Across the States” The Clearing House. 87(3), 124-129. 

Serna, Gabriel R. & Harris, Gretchen* (2014) “Higher Education Expenditures and State Balanced Budget Requirements: Is there a Relationship?” Journal of Education Finance. 39(3), 175-202. (Award-Winning Article, JEF & NEFC, 2015) 

Serna, Gabriel R. (2013) “Rating Public Colleges and Universities: Process, Practice, and Implications for Finance, Administration, and Policy” Journal of Higher Education Management. 27(1), 52-69.  

Serna, Gabriel R. (2013) “Employing College and University Credit Ratings as Indicators of Institutional Planning Effectiveness” Planning for Higher Education Journal. 41(4), 1-11.  

Serna, Gabriel R. (2013) “Understanding the Effects of State Oversight and Fiscal Policy on University Revenues: Considerations for Financial Planning” Planning for Higher Education Journal. 41(2), 93-108. 


Serna, Gabriel R. & Birnbaum, Matthew (2015) “Economic Perspectives on Pricing and What it Means for SEM.” In Hossler, D. & Bontrager, B. (Eds.), The Handbook of Strategic Enrollment Management. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass. 

Reinert, Leah* & Serna, Gabriel R. (2014). “Living Intersectionality in the Academy”. In Mitchell, D., Simmons, C., & Greyerbiehl, L. (Eds.), Intersectionality and Higher Education: Theory, Research, & Praxis. New York, NY. Peter Lang Publishing. 

Serna, Gabriel R. & Weiner, Brad* (2012). “The Monetary Dimension of College Readiness: Financial Planning and Literacy”. In Rasmussen, C. & Reinert, L. (Eds.), Improving College Readiness: Perspectives for Research, Policy, & Practice. Minneapolis, MN. Midwest Higher Education Compact.



Weiler, Spencer & Serna, Gabriel R. (2015) “Colorado: A Brighter Future?” Journal of Education Finance. 40 (3), 306-310. 

Serna, Gabriel R. (2014) “Enrollment Management in Higher Education.” In Brewer, D. & Picus, L. (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications. 

Serna, Gabriel R. & Weiler, Spencer (2014) “Colorado” State of the States, Journal of Education Finance. 39(3), 250-252. 

Cruz, Carlos & Serna, Gabriel R. (2013) “Retention and Persistence of Underrepresented Students in Multicultural Greek Life: A Case Study” University of Northern Colorado Undergraduate Research Journal: McNair Edition. 3(2), 1-12. 



Serna, Gabriel R. (2012). Review of the Book. Identity Economics: How our Identities Shape our Work, Wages, and Well-being. Journal of Economic Issues, 46(1), 243-244.  

Serna, Gabriel R. (2009). Review of the Book  Beyond Tracking: Multiple Pathways to College, Career and Civic Participation. Education Review 806 (electronic, peer-reviewed).


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  • School of Education, Higher Education
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    Blacksburg, VA 24061