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Meotti has emerged as the Malloy administration's point man on the consolidation of higher-education, at least in the early weeks of the governor's efforts to merge the state university and community college systems.Meotti was first selected to run the State Department of Higher Education in January 2008, and Gov. Dannel Malloy during his first days in office expressed confidence in the work he has done as commissioner.The SDHE has a budget of $71.3 million, 48 full-time employees and is responsible for overseeing state student aid programs, approving licensure and accreditation of all academic programs and institutions. The department is also responsible for conducting research and policy studies to help coordinate higher education strategies. The department has no power over budget decisions, hiring or requiring certain outcomes.One of Meotti's top priorities as commissioner has been to increase graduation rates among those entering college. He has also said the state needs a new strategy for funding higher education.Prior to being tapped to lead the SDHE, Meotti was the president of the United Way of Connecticut. He has long been a policy wonk -- as he was a Democratic state senator for eight years, served on numerous task forces studying economic- and education-related issues. Meotti's term expires in July 2013.His salary is $182,126. Meotti lives in West Hartford with his wife, Pamela, and two daughters.