Jane Ciarleglio, the longtime leader of the state agency that oversees state financial aid and for-profit colleges, is retiring Friday.

Ciarleglio, who turned 59 Wednesday, has worked for the state for 36 years, most of which were spent in various roles at state agencies that oversee higher education.

Click here for more from the Capitol
Click here for more from the Capitol

Most recently, after the governor merged the state’s community colleges with the Connecticut state universities and the Department of Higher Education’s commissioner left to lead that new system, Ciarleglio took over the state agency.

The agency, renamed the Office of Higher Education, largely lost oversight of the state’s public colleges and its role doing research and crafting statewide policy for higher education.

Now, it’s primarily role is administering the constantly shrinking state funding for financial aid for students attending public and private schools, as well as administering the Alternate Route to Certification program, through which mid-career professionals who want to become teachers can get certified to teach in Connecticut’s public schools. It also administers consumer protections for students who attend for-profit schools.

Ciarleglio, who earned $161,879 last fiscal year, wrote Gov. Dannel P. Malloy the first week of February to inform him of her decision.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and confidence you have shown to me and the Office of Higher Education during your tenure. It has been most gratifying to me, that during these very difficult times in higher education to have had you as our chief executive. It is with that deep sense of gratitude that I inform you of my decision to retire,” she wrote.

Malloy, a Democrat, expressed his appreciation of Ciarleglio in a statement Thursday.

“Jane has dedicated her career to public service, and has shown an unrelenting passion towards helping students in Connecticut graduate with a high-quality degree,” Malloy said. “I wish her the best in her retirement and know that we will miss the enthusiasm and dedication she has brought to our state.”

Malloy named Keith Norton, the agency’s chief financial officer, as acting executive director.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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