T. Austin Lacy

Senior research education analyst


  • PhD, Higher Education, University of Georgia
  • MEd, Higher Education Administration, Vanderbilt University
  • BA, Russian Language and Literature, Sewanee: The University of the South

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Austin Lacy is an expert in postsecondary education with experience in surveys, data analysis, and policymaking. He conducts original research based on data from our nationally representative samples, frequently using frontier techniques to answer critical policy questions.

Dr. Lacy plays a key role in three of our national longitudinal studies for the U.S. Department of Education, including the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS), and Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B). He directs the team that ensures the accuracy and quality of data products for all three studies, and leads the derivation of variables for the administrative collection of NPSAS. For the Pew Charitable Trust, Dr. Lacy is using micro-level student loan data to generate a typology of repayment patterns.

Dr. Lacy also has experience with state-level higher education research and policy. In addition to his current research, Dr. Lacy has written several papers on the intersection of politics and postsecondary education policymaking.  Before joining RTI in 2014, he was a researcher and policy analyst for the University of North Carolina system where he conducted research to inform the policy and practice of that state and system.