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Aaron Lacey


St. Louis
314 552 6405 direct

Aaron is a partner in Thompson Coburn's Higher Education practice and editorial director of REGucation, the firm's higher education law and policy blog.

An experienced higher education attorney, with time served both as outside and in-house counsel, Aaron's practice is dedicated entirely to assisting postsecondary institutions and their partners to advance their educational and operational objectives while navigating complex regulatory environments.

Aaron counsels clients with regard to the myriad federal, state, and accrediting agency laws and standards that govern institutions of higher education, to include requirements relating to the federal financial aid programs, the Clery Act, Title IX, FERPA, ADA, TILA, and SEVIS. Aaron also represents institutions and lenders in administrative proceedings before state agencies, accreditors, and the U.S. Department of Education, guides clients through policy creation and compliance systems design, and assists in the drafting and negotiation of a wide variety of agreements, including domestic and international articulation, consortium, licensing, marketing, and agency contracts, and in the case of institutional sales and acquisitions, stock and asset purchase agreements.

Aaron previously served for four years as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Development for a multi-campus, postsecondary education company, where he managed regulatory and government affairs for the company's 24 campus locations and online division, as well as aspects of the company's public relations and strategic development efforts. Prior to going in-house, Aaron served for nearly eight years in the postsecondary education practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm.

Aaron is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and of the American Bar Association. You can find him on Twitter (@HigherEdCounsel) and on LinkedIn.

Thompson Coburn Publications

Aaron Lacey and Chris Murray explain what it takes to reauthorize the Higher Education Act


Gainful Employment Disclosures and Student Warnings

New Audit Guidelines for Higher Educational Institutions

Final Borrower Defense Rule Webinar Series

The Elimination of Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses and the New Repayment Rates for Proprietary Schools

Changes to Closed School and False Certification Discharge

The Revised Financial Responsibility Standards

The New Borrower Defense Framework

Borrower Defense Rule Webinar Series

Gainful Employment Webinar Series

The Clery Act

Competency-Based Education


The future of gainful employment: Three points, a calendar, and a webinar

Webinar to examine new rules for proprietary school audits

Recordings now available for final Borrower Defense Rule webinars

Thompson Coburn hosts webinar series on Department of Education’s final Borrower Defense Rule

Title IX and due process: ED tells Wesley that accused student not treated fairly

ED’s new rules for teacher preparation programs

Proposed Borrower Defense Rule webinar recordings now available

ED terminates recognition of ACICS: Next steps

ED issues proposed rules for higher ed distance learning programs

NLRB issues two key decisions affecting higher ed


"How to Project Gainful Employment Rates";
Thompson Coburn Desk Guide, March 2016

Co-Author, "The Nuts and Bolts of Reauthorization";
Career Education Review, October 2015

Co-Author, "Rethinking the Regulatory Environment of Competency-Based Education";
American Enterprise Institute's Center on Higher Education Reform, May 2015


Co-Presenter, "What's Next With Gainful Employment: Certification, Warning Disclosures, Rate Challenges, and Timing";
New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association, November 2015

Co-Presenter, "Strategies for Improving Debt-to-Earnings Rates under the new Gainful Employment Rules";
November 2015

"What's Next with GE: Certification, D/E Rate Challenges, and Timing";
Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel- Annual Conference, November 2015

"Consumer Information Hotspots: New Clery Regs, Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programs, and More";
Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel- Annual Conference, November 2015

"ADA Title III Fundamentals";
Commercial Vehicle Trade Association - Fall Conference, October 2015

Panelist, "The Promise (and Perils) of Competency-Based Education";
Roundtable Webinar Series Presented by University Professional & Continuing Education Association and Penn State University, September 2015

"Paper Nirvana: Crafting Enrollment Documentation that's Great for Students and Schools Alike";
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Webinar, August 2015

"Bringing Clarity to the Clery Act";
TCLE Webinar, June 2015

Co-Presenter, "Competency-Based Education: The Path to Program Approval";
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Annual Conference, June 2015

"Gainful Employment: Projecting Debt-to-Earning Rates";
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Annual Conference, June 2015

"Managing Crime, Security, and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct on the Christian Campus";
International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities - Annual Meeting, June 2015

"Grappling with Gainful Employment: Breaking Down and Understanding the New Gainful Employment Rules";
National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private School Annual Conference, April 2015

"Hot Topics in Higher Education Law";
Missouri Baptist University- In Service Day, February 2015

"Managing Crime, Security, and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct on the Christian Campus";
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities - 39th Annual President's Conference, January 2015

"How to Project Reliable Gainful Employment Rates: A Step-by-Step Guide";
Regions PCCS Financial Aid Conference, January 2015

"Projecting Debt-to-Earning Rates";
TCLE Webinar, December 2014

"Getting a Grip on Gainful";
TCLE Webinar, November 2014

Co-Presenter, "Rightsizing the Right Way Restructuring and Realignment in Higher Education";
Webinar, September 2014

"Grappling with Gainful";
Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel - Annual Conference, November 2014