BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts commissioner of higher education plans to step down in June at the end of the current academic year, the Department of Higher Education announced Wednesday.

Commissioner Carlos Santiago, who works with leadership and helps shape state-level policies to benefit the state’s public community colleges and universities, has held the job since 2015.

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“After forty years of engagement as a faculty member, researcher, and academic administrator, it is an opportune time for me to assist the (Board of Higher Education) in identifying new leadership and ensuring the completion of the Commonwealth’s first 10-year strategic plan to achieve racial equity in higher education,” Santiago said in a statement.

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In addition to his effort to address racial inequities in public higher education, Santiago during his tenure enabled thousands of high school students to enroll in college courses for credit for free; increased financial aid; and developed a seamless system of credit transfer from community colleges to four-year universities.

Santiago, a professor of economics, previously served as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he was the first leader of Puerto Rican descent to lead a major U.S. research institution; and provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany in New York.

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