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Austin Lacy

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
PhD, 2011

Austin Lacy is an expert in postsecondary education with experience in surveys, data analysis, and policymaking at RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. He conducts original research based on data from our nationally representative samples, frequently using frontier techniques to answer critical policy questions.

Lacy plays a key role in three of RTI's 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, Lacy is using micro-level student loan data to generate a typology of repayment patterns.

Lacy also has experience with state-level higher education research and policy. In addition to his current research, he 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.

Lacy received the 2012 Graduate Student Excellence in Research Award in Applied Studies for his dissertation, which used Bayesian analysis to further the understanding of state-level higher education governance systems. The award, given by the University of Georgia Graduate School is highly competitive. While completing his degree at the IHE, Austin was named the 2008-09 Zell and Shirley Miller Graduate Fellow. The fellowship, established in 2006 to honor former Senator and Mrs. Miller for their contributions to higher education, is awarded to the graduate student who shows great promise for a future career in higher education.

News Featuring Austin Lacy

Betz Kerley

Austin Lacy has advice for those considering a PhD in higher education. “Go to the Institute of Higher Education for the professors and for the tremendous amount of resources available to students.”

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